Lenny’s open for dining, music at ‘Hawkes Plaza’

After more than 50 years of watching over Route 302 in Westbrook, the 13-foot-tall TV repairman has traded in his toolbox for a lunchbox.

A new eatery and music venue called Lenny’s opened in February on the Hawkes Plaza property near Hardy Road, where Maine musician Al Hawkes ran both his TV repair shop and his recording studio and built the landmark repairman sign in 1962.

Owner Bill Umbel described the menu at Lenny’s as “upscale pub” food.

Umbel owned the bar and music venue Empire Dine & Dance in Portland for five years and named his new eatery for the late Maine musician Lenny Breau. Breau was a guitarist who recorded at Hawkes’ studio in the late 1950s. He went on to have his own TV show in Canada, record for RCA under the guidance of guitar great Chet Atkins, and influence a generation of guitarists.

Breau was found dead in a Los Angeles swimming pool in 1984. The cause of death was strangulation, but no one was ever charged.

So far, Umbel has had several musicians perform in the restaurant, including Breau’s brother, guitarist Denny Breau. Hawkes, who is 85, also has sat in on guitar at the venue. Umbel hopes to have more entertainment as time goes on. The restaurant holds about 75 and includes a 30-foot bar. Umbel sold Empire Dine & Dance in 2013.

Umbel, who works in real estate and development, bought the property from Hawkes after Hawkes asked Umbel to sell it for him. Umbel saw the potential for it as a restaurant and music venue, because of its location on busy Route 302, the fact that there aren’t many similar places nearby, and the iconic landmark sign.

“It took me a while to figure out what to use it for, what would work,” said Umbel, who first met Hawkes when he took guitar lessons from him years ago.

Lenny’s chef Heather Daniels, who has worked at Saltwater Grille in South Portland and the Falmouth Country Club, has updated the menu since the opening and says the dinner entree selection, now three dishes, will be expanded soon.

For now the entrees include: Hanger steak, marinated in red wine and herbs with a caramelized garlic and herb butter and crispy onions for $18; blackened Gulf of Maine salmon, pan-seared with a honey lime sauce for $17; and an individual-sized flatbread pizza with marinara, mozzarella, caramelized onions, bacon crumbles, red peppers, and baby spinach for $15.

The larger sandwich menu ranges in price from $8 to $12 and includes a BLT, a Reuben, a steak and cheese, a grilled chicken sandwich plus a grilled cheese with three kinds of cheese, bacon and tomatoes. There’s a salmon burger breaded with panko bread crumbs on a challah bun, and a regular burger on challah.

Appetizers range from deviled eggs to a tzatziki and hummus plate. Several of the specialty cocktails have a musical theme, including the Guitar Pick, with Ice Pik vodka, ginger simple syrup, lime and soda. The Sunday brunch menu includes corned beef hash and eggs, biscuits and gravy, eggs Benedict, and the chacha sandwich. The latter has eggs, apple wood-smoked bacon, banana peppers, American cheese and grape jelly on griddled white bread.

Lenny’s is open 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, go to liveatlennys.com or Facebook: Lenny’s At Hawkes Plaza.


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