From left, chef Megan Cullins, sous chef Kyle Bedell, Joe Chouinard and Danny Caron Jr. Facebook photo courtesy of Danny Caron

Dreaming of running his own restaurant for 10 years, Danny Caron of Auburn will open his second location of The Cheesy Skillet at The Topsham Fair Mall this summer.

“We are starting construction right now and the carpenters are there. We are excited,” said Caron.

The Cheesy Skillet offers over 25 gourmet cheese-infused dishes on its menu. Caron said some customer favorites are the lobster mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwich and the cheeserito, a tortilla wrap filled with tater tots, mac and cheese, and a choice of braised beef, crispy chicken or pulled pork.

The Topsham location will be at the former Little Ceasars at Topsham Fair Mall Unit 3, two doors down from Hannaford.

Caron said he hopes to open 10 or more locations, over the next few years.

Caron’s first location opened in April at the Auburn Airport and said he hopes his the Topsham eatery will be up and running by the end of August or the start of September.


“I just came up with the idea 10 years ago,” Caron said. “I said it would be my retirement project. I think it’s a unique concept, with a flair for Mexican and Asian cookery. But it all deals with cheese.”

Caron is a seasoned chef and culinary arts teacher at The Green Ladle in Lewiston and has hired former students to work at his restaurant in Auburn. Caron also works alongside his sons Danny Caron Jr. and Dustin Caron. Dustin takes care of any non-cooking matters like information technology and heavy lifting, according to his father.

“I have the experience and he has the good back and the good knees,” said Caron.

Mac and cheese tacos available at The Cheesy Skillet. Facebook photo.

Originally, Caron planned on opening The Cheesy Skillet with a “full-scale dining room and waitstaff.” After seeing local restaurants struggle to keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caron adjusted his business plan.

“We made some changes. So instead of running it with 20 employees, we can run it with eight,” he said. “Now all our locations are take-out or come-to-the-counter.”

Caron said he has already filled most of the positions at the new Topsham location with former students.

In September 2020, nearly 100,000 restaurants in the U.S. closed during the first sixth months of the pandemic, according to The National Restaurant Association. By the end of 2021, the association reported a $65 billion decline in restaurant sales and a 1-million drop in restaurant employees.

Many dine-in restaurants were challenged in 2020 after the Maine Legislature limited all restaurants to take-out and delivery services only. It wasn’t until June 2021 that Governor Janet Mills scaled back on dining restrictions and allowed patrons to eat indoors once again, according to

Danny Caron, left, and Dustin Caron at The Cheesy Skillet’s new Topsham location. Facebook photo.

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