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Coal-fired pizza restaurant underway at historic Lewiston site

A new restaurant offering coal-fired pizza is coming to a historic site in Lewiston.

The site, 800 Center St., Lewiston, was last an automobile repair business. Now Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen is underway there. Its owners are Michael Hibbard and David Murphy, who are opening their first restaurant.

Hibbard, whose family owns Hibbard Custard, runs his own specialty ice cream company, M. Hibbard Super Premium Ice Cream, providing custom flavors to restaurants and stores. Until recently Murphy was the sous chef at Carmelo’s fine dining restaurant, down the street.

A new foundation for kitchen expansion and new bathrooms has been poured, as work continues, Hibbard said. The owners hope to open in late spring or early summer.

Pizza will be a menu mainstay, produced with an anthracite-fired oven designed to cook pies at 900-1,200 degrees, hotter than wood-fired ovens. “It produces a pizza faster, and you have a different flavor,” Hibbard said. “The best way to describe it is toasted – it’s not burnt, but has that toasty taste and texture.”

Housemade pastas and craft cocktails will also be on the menu, which is in early draft stage, Hibbard said.

The restaurant’s name is a nod to the site’s history, Hibbard said. In the early 1800s, the location was once Hustler’s Tavern, where the term “cocktail” was reputedly coined, from the use of a tail feather to stir or decorate an alcoholic concoction. “Gallo” is Italian for rooster.

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