Burnt Ends Barbecue opens in Lewiston offering ‘the epitome of comfort food’
LEWISTON — Sabattus road has welcomed a smoky new addition to the Lewiston culinary scene.
Burnt Finishes, which opened Jan. 27, is a barbecue joint: Which is it. No tricks, no gimmicks. Easy Southern ease and comfort food that just would make feeling.
Operator and head chef Kevin Cunningham began the undertaking right after pretty much 30 decades in the meals field and a motivation to make genuine barbecue which is correct to its roots yet available to a larger sized viewers.
“Barbecue is awesome. It is like the epitome of consolation food stuff, it is almost everything that is pleasing about sitting down for a loved ones food with good friends and with cherished kinds and just calming and eating very good food stuff.”
Cunningham has used his vocation creating dishes in the identical vein. Commencing as a dishwasher at age 14, he went on to work in kitchens all in excess of Massachusetts and Maine, like stints at Mac’s Grill in Auburn, Marche Kitchen and Wine Bar previously on Lisbon Avenue in Lewiston, and the Brunswick Hotel.
Cunningham also co-owned the My Waffle food stuff truck, which gained a Major Gun Showcase award from the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Most not too long ago, he was executive chef of the eating facilities at the University of Southern Maine, the place he fulfilled his spouse, Jill, with whom he operates the cafe.
Up until eventually now, Cunningham has spent his profession doing the job for other individuals, citing his practical experience looking at restaurant homeowners battle less than the requires of retaining their corporations.
“I never wished to personal my own restaurant. I pretty much reported ‘never at any time ever.’ I viewed homeowners go by all the troubles and the problems and the financials. I do the financials when I open up dining places for people today. I run all the figures for them. I was often apprehensive mainly because it’s tricky to make a enterprise (effective),” mentioned Cunningham.
A turning place arrived when Cunningham and his wife participated in “JumpstartME,” a contest aimed at launching small firms that is sponsored by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and The Molloy Organization that offered the winner no cost rent for a yr, company information, promotion and advertising help, and more.
“I just saved receiving the itch and desired to do it, and when they had that downtown levels of competition to gain a area, which is when I resolved I’m going entire tilt and I’m likely to do this,” claimed Cunningham.
Whilst they did not acquire the contest, Cunningham and his wife had formulated a organization system for the effort, and they realized they nevertheless experienced a viable small business plan. Committing to serve at least 75 plates a working day in order to keep afloat, the few obtained their locale on Sabattus avenue, as very well as kitchen equipment and smokers at auction in New Jersey.
The menu ranges from sandwiches and particular cuts, to platters comprised of beef brisket, pulled pork, pork sausages, chorizo hen and turkey, alongside with classic sides these kinds of as mac and cheese, collard greens, beans, and cornbread.
At periods, inventory are unable to retain up with consumer desire, as they do not have a restrict on the quantity of meat a buyer can get. When they are marketed out, they near for the day, to the chagrin of hungry buyers.
“Everything … we do is about that down-homey-design and style satisfaction of a meal,” reported Cunningham.
Cunningham’s curiosity in barbecue has followed him all over his job, progressively enjoying with various tactics and recipes — as effectively as currently being humbled by his problems — until finally he observed a signature model. He joked that his initial brisket arrived out “like leather-based.”
“I realized how difficult a brisket can be. And ribs: You know, you can just do ribs, or you can do ribs,” claimed Cunningham. He emphasised that Burnt Finishes does the latter, prioritizing high high quality cuts of meat in purchase to ensure a superior solution.
Even though years of apply have made Cunningham far better at his craft, he admits he’ll hardly ever grasp it — one thing he’s Okay with, obtaining embraced both of those the repetition and improvisation that the mastering process affords him.
“I’ll hardly ever have it down. I’ll never even arrive shut to some of the guys that are carrying out this down South. I think that I’m carrying out it superior ample that men and women are experiencing it listed here and I guess that’s all I can question for,” mentioned Cunningham.
“I’m performing a great occupation and I sense I can usually be far better: The sign of a excellent chef is that he knows he can even now do superior,” he said.
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