April 08, 2020

Brewer restaurateur buys popular Caribou eatery

CARIBOU — A Brewer businessman came to Aroostook County to snowmobile last weekend and ended up buying a restaurant.

As a result, the former Yusef’s eatery is opening again, possibly putting nearly 60 people back to work.

Marty Boehmer, who operates the Harborside Inn in Brewer, hopes to reopen the popular Caribou eatery on Friday, the day the deal is expected to close, the restaurateur said Sunday.

“My concern is to get the people back to work,” said Boehmer, regarding the loss of the jobs when Yusef’s closed last week. He plans to rehire as many of the nearly 60 former Yusef’s employees as he can.

Boehmer was one of three parties expressing interest in the restaurant after two development agencies foreclosed on the building owned by Joseph Hackett.

Hackett closed the restaurant in 1993 but reopened the business last May with a $250,000 financial package backed by the Northern Maine Development Commission and the Caribou Development Corp. Hackett also operated the former Green Acres restaurant in Caribou for a few years before reopening Yusef’s.

According to CDC President Dennis Curley, his agency’s board will consider the proposed agreement with Boehmer on Wednesday. The planning commission will consider loans during its Thursday meeting. NMDC Director Robert Clark declined Sunday to name the clients involved.

“We’re going to shoot for Friday, but there’s an awful lot of work to be done between now and then,” Boehmer said Sunday.

The Brewer businessman plans to meet this week with management and staff from the Caribou restaurant in order to prepare for the reopening.

The restaurant’s name is expected to change to the Harborside Restaurant in Caribou, Boehmer said. The menu is expected to remain the same — American foods, Italian specials and seafood — during the first few months, but Boehmer said changes may be made depending on clientele requests.

Boehmer was “very apologetic” about not being able to honor gift certificates purchased from Yusef’s under the previous owner. “It would be a total loss to me,” he said. “I couldn’t absorb that kind of loss.”

However, Boehmer said he is interested in re-establishing a relationship with the city’s civic clubs.

Boehmer has owned the Brewer restaurant for three years. Prior to getting into the food business, he owned an insurance agency.

While not planning to move permanently to Caribou, he and his family may purchase a second home in Aroostook County.

“I really enjoy the County and the Caribou-Presque Isle area,” he said. “The people up there are very delightful.”

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