Ryan Coulombe liked his mom’s home cooking so much that he built a business around it.

Coulombe is about to open Three Brothers Eatery in South Portland, which will offer walk-up counter service but also prepare and deliver home-style meals to busy families.

“When I was growing up, I always looked forward to my family having a home-cooked meal, a good meal on the table,” Coulombe said, adding that Three Brothers will be able to offer meals with “fresh out-of-the-oven taste.”

Coulombe expects to open Three Brothers on Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving, in a newly renovated building at 15 Evans St.

The restaurant will operate in a building that J.P. Thornton’s occupied, at Evans and Broadway, before moving recently to a brand-new shopping center on Broadway, near Anthoine Street.

At first, Three Brothers will offer walk-up counter service and tables for in-store dining, with a wide selection of offerings – made-to-order pizzas, haddock sandwiches, subs, lobster rolls in season, fish dinners and traditional meals.

Three Brothers also will sell freshly made and refrigerated meals that just need to be heated and served after they’re taken home.

Coulombe said he plans to phase in the delivery service of hot dinners after the restaurant is up and running for a few months.

He expects that Three Brothers will deliver to South Portland, downtown Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

Coulombe said the deliveries will include the restaurant’s entire menu, including pizzas and subs. But he is hoping that families will enjoy the convenience of ordering “balanced, hot meals” that are more affordable than going to a sit-down restaurant. He expects to start off with some old-fashioned offerings, such as boiled dinners or turkey with all the trimmings.

Coloumbe, 23, and Chrysta Lacey, his fiancee, will run the business. It is the couple’s first experience owning and operating a small business.

“In the world we live in today, you need to be working hard all the time, seven days a week, to be successful,” Coulombe said. “We want to provide outstanding food and excellent customer service.”

Coulombe said he and Lacey were able to start the business with the help of a silent partner and investor, who prefers to remain anonymous.

The couple hopes to develop a loyal following in the South Portland area and also attract college teams as they come through town and are looking for home-style, balanced meals.

“We’ll offer red-carpet service at any hour,” said Coulombe, who plans to be open seven days a week.

This week, carpenters were putting the finishing touches on the woodwork at Three Brothers Eatery.

The walls were freshly painted mustard yellow, with white trim. A large stove and oven were newly installed. The place buzzed with excitement.

Lacey, who is the organizer, talked with three cooks the couple hired. Both her parents have a background in food service and management at New England colleges.

Jim MacNaught, who used to own Mac’s Seafood in Auburn, will handle seafood preparation at Three Brothers.

Haddock sandwiches and fresh haddock dinners will top the menu.

“You haven’t tasted great haddock sandwiches until you’ve tried mine,” said MacNaught, smiling, as he planned the menu with Louis Giannula, who will make fresh pizza dough and create the pizzas.

Giannula, whose family owned pizza companies in the West, said the best pizzas have just the right cheese – rich but not too oily.

Giannula was busy trying to order his favorite brand of Sorrento mozzarella. Matt Conley, who previously worked at Portland Pie Co., also will handle pizza and food prep.

The restaurant space is 2,300 square feet. Coulombe said the seating area will have “comfortable country-setting dining tables,” pub tables and flat-screen TVs.

He chose the location on Broadway because it is a high-traffic area where people already are in the habit of stopping to buy prepared foods.

Coulombe is new to the restaurant business. He lives in Gray and has worked as a volunteer firefighter for 18 months. Lacey is from Topsham.

Coulombe said he learned the values of having a family business from his uncle, Ron Gobeil, who has owned and operated Gobeil’s Furniture Galleries in Gray for 30 years.

Coulombe’s goal is to open several restaurants in Maine, including in Bath and Topsham. He hopes to introduce the concept of delivering healthy meals to people’s doors, just like a pizza takeout business operates.

The name Three Brothers refers to Coulombe and his two younger brothers. Sean Coulombe is 18 and may help out behind the counter. Evan is a freshman in high school. “We, as three brothers, learned the value of work early on,” Coulombe said.

Coulombe is hiring staff now, and last week put an ad on craigslist.com, getting 30 responses in three days. He said he is pleased by the applications he received so far, noting that several people have solid restaurant experience.

Coulombe said he will be looking for ways to grow his business. He hopes to provide off-site catering to business clients, as well as make it easy for employers to send workers to his place for lunch.

He already has one business client who will supply employees with pre-paid lunch cards they can swipe to get their meals at Three Brothers.

Although this is a challenging time to run a business, let alone launch one, both Coulombe and Lacey are optimistic they can succeed.

“If you serve good food, offer quality service and are flexible to meet customer demand, you can do well, even in tough economic times,” Coulombe said.

“People may not have the money to buy a lot of big-ticket items right now, like electronics and furniture. But we’re going to be reasonable with our prices.”

Eatery aims to deliver home cookingEatery aims to deliver home cooking


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