LEWISTON — Sabattus avenue has welcomed a smoky new addition to the Lewiston culinary scene.
Burnt Ends, which opened Jan. 27, is a barbecue joint: That’s it. No tricks, no gimmicks. Simple Southern convenience foodstuff that just makes perception.
Owner and head chef Kevin Cunningham started off the undertaking just after nearly 30 many years in the food items industry and a motivation to make reliable barbecue that is accurate to its roots still available to a bigger viewers.
“Barbecue is great. It is like the epitome of ease and comfort food items, it is all the things that is pleasurable about sitting down down for a family meal with close friends and with loved types and just relaxing and taking in very good food items.”
Cunningham has expended his profession producing dishes in the similar vein. Beginning as a dishwasher at age 14, he went on to function in kitchens all about Massachusetts and Maine, which include stints at Mac’s Grill in Auburn, Marche Kitchen and Wine Bar formerly on Lisbon Avenue in Lewiston, and the Brunswick Resort.
Cunningham also co-owned the My Waffle food truck, which gained a Best Gun Showcase award from the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Most not long ago, he was govt chef of the dining facilities at the University of Southern Maine, the place he met his spouse, Jill, with whom he operates the cafe.
Up right up until now, Cunningham has expended his job working for other persons, citing his expertise watching cafe owners struggle below the calls for of retaining their organizations.
“I by no means desired to personal my possess cafe. I literally mentioned ‘never ever ever.’ I watched proprietors go by means of all the problems and the problems and the financials. I do the financials when I open up eating places for people. I operate all the figures for them. I was usually apprehensive mainly because it’s hard to make a small business (profitable),” stated Cunningham.
A turning level came when Cunningham and his spouse participated in “JumpstartME,” a contest aimed at launching little businesses that is sponsored by the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and The Molloy Business that supplied the winner free hire for a year, company information, promoting and promoting aid, and more.
“I just held receiving the itch and needed to do it, and when they had that downtown competitiveness to gain a space, that’s when I made a decision I’m likely total tilt and I’m going to do this,” stated Cunningham.
Despite the fact that they did not get the contest, Cunningham and his wife experienced formulated a enterprise plan for the hard work, and they realized they still had a viable organization strategy. Committing to serve at minimum 75 plates a day in purchase to remain afloat, the few obtained their locale on Sabattus avenue, as perfectly as kitchen area products and smokers at auction in New Jersey.
The menu ranges from sandwiches and precise cuts, to platters comprised of beef brisket, pulled pork, pork sausages, chorizo chicken and turkey, together with common sides these as mac and cheese, collard greens, beans, and cornbread.
At instances, stock are not able to continue to keep up with shopper desire, as they do not have a restrict on the amount of money of meat a purchaser can invest in. When they are marketed out, they shut for the day, to the chagrin of hungry shoppers.
“Everything … we do is about that down-homey-type pleasure of a meal,” stated Cunningham.
Cunningham’s curiosity in barbecue has followed him all over his profession, little by little playing with diverse methods and recipes — as properly as being humbled by his blunders — right up until he discovered a signature style. He joked that his first brisket arrived out “like leather.”
“I understood how difficult a brisket can be. And ribs: You know, you can just do ribs, or you can do ribs,” mentioned Cunningham. He emphasized that Burnt Finishes does the latter, prioritizing high excellent cuts of meat in buy to be certain a top-quality product or service.
While decades of observe have built Cunningham greater at his craft, he admits he’ll in no way master it — one thing he’s Okay with, owning embraced both equally the repetition and improvisation that the learning process affords him.
“I’ll never have it down. I’ll hardly ever even come near to some of the guys that are accomplishing this down South. I assume that I’m accomplishing it great plenty of that persons are savoring it listed here and I guess that’s all I can ask for,” reported Cunningham.
“I’m doing a very good position and I sense I can generally be better: The indication of a good chef is that he understands he can however do improved,” he explained.
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