WESTBROOK – A new restaurant has opened in a spot that has been empty for two years.

Doughboy’s Cafe? on Bridge Street, across from the Dana Warp Mill, was opened Jan. 4 by Tina Dougherty and her husband Chris.

They are Westbrook residents who moved their business from Portland’s Ocean Avenue, where it was known as the Back Cove Deli for a decade, she said.

She said the cafe? on Bridge Street is a better location that attracts more foot traffic, but she also thinks the economy is slowly starting to improve.

“I think it’s getting better for sure. It’s a little better than last year. You can see people starting to come out of it a little bit,” she said.

Keith Luke, the city’s economic and community development director, said that while Westbrook’s big employers such as Idexx have kept employment levels afloat through the recession, consumer confidence is always impacted by vacant storefronts in the downtown. His hopes have been buoyed by such events as the opening of Doughboy’s.

And even though things have been tough, Dougherty noted, there are good tools out there for businesses to get their names out. She said Doughboy’s is using Facebook to keep in touch with customers.

“If you’re willing to work hard,” she said, “there’s rewards.”

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