LEWISTON — After leading a wave of Lisbon Street rebirth and investment, Fuel is coming to an end.

The popular French restaurant is closing Sept. 8.

Owner Eric Agren, who opened Fuel 11 years ago, said Tuesday that it’s bittersweet, but it’s time.

The restaurant over the years had attracted celebrities such as Patrick Dempsey, Kelly Ripa and Robert De Niro, and has had a loyal local following.

“Not a lot of people know this, but I’ve had a full-time job the entire time I’ve owned Fuel,” said Agren.

First, it was a corporate job, and for the last several years, it’s been head of marketing and customer service for Agren Appliance, owned by his brother, Jason.

“I’m there all day, the business is growing, we have six locations now,” he said. “It’s big and we’re busy and that’s taking a lot of my time. I’m getting older, family’s a priority and I don’t get to spend as much time with my family and friends as I like because I work all day, and I go to Fuel.”

Agren said he thought the timing would also be good for his staff. Sixteen people work at Fuel.

He plans to sell the space at 49 Lisbon St. outfitted as a restaurant but does not want to sell the Fuel brand.

“Part of the struggle of opening a restaurant is all that stuff – how many refrigerators do you need and where does this stuff go and what do you buy for silverware,” Agren said. “All of those things are kind of handled; it makes it a lot easier to get into the business.”

“Of course it’s bittersweet, it’s my baby,” he added. “But certainly a good decision for me. It’s just time.”

In 2016, Agren tried to sell the business through an essay contest.