AUGUSTA — The brown paper covering the windows at 228 Water St. is an effective advertisement in its own way.

While it’s hiding what’s going on inside the bar and restaurant space recently vacated by Circa 1885, it’s an indication that work has been going on behind the covered windows.

By the end of the year, the space will be the home of the Raging Bull Saloon, one of six establishments that have opened in recent months or will open by the end of the year in Augusta. The others are El Tequila, Frosty’s, Wander Pizza, State Lunch Craft and Kitchen, and Diggy Dogs.

This wave of new food establishments is one sign of a strong economy in the state’s capital city, bolstered by the number of workers from across the region who commute to Augusta daily for work or business and eat lunch and sometimes dinner there.

For the owners of the Raging Bull, the chance to bring together the best parts of the country bars they have been performing in for the last 18 years and the availability of space tipped them to make a commitment to open a bar.

“We’ve been talking about it for about a year and considering spaces,” co-owner Bradley Wallace said. “Everything lined up perfect.”

Wallace and Ryan Larochelle have been performing in country bands for about 18 years, and now they will be running the day-to-day operations at Raging Bull. Real estate agent Chris Vallee is one of the partners and they also have a financial investor.

“We want that live country atmosphere,” Wallace said. “When we play music, we try to bring a certain energy to the room. This is a performance of a business. We’re trying to create an environment where you are stepping into somewhere else. You won’t find the same environment anywhere else in Maine.”

Their decision highlights in part the continuing development in Augusta’s historic downtown.

“Downtown Water Street is certainly one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhoods in central Maine,” Keith Luke, deputy director for development services for the city of Augusta, said. “It’s been a dramatic and dynamic five-year span, and we’re going to see continued momentum.”

By December, the partners behind State Lunch Craft & Kitchen expect to open their doors at 217 Water St. The stained glass set in the transom window advertises it as the former home of State Lunch, and from that the new restaurant is taking its name.

State Lunch Craft & Kitchen is a collaboration of the partners behind Cushnoc Brewing Co. and Shawn McLaughlin, who is the general manager of the new restaurant.

“We still have a lot of decisions to make,” McLaughlin, the restaurant’s general manager, said, but the framework has been determined.

“We are going to do internationally inspired pub fare,” building owner Tobias Parkhurst said. Parkhurst is one of the partners of Cushnoc Brewing, just down the street. “It will depend on the day. It means we’ll have noodle bowls and burgers and a rotating menu of good stuff. And there will be a real focus on craft beers and craft cocktails.”

The craft refers to the craft cocktails and beer and the kitchen will be serving slightly elevated pub food. The goal is to be complementary to the other restaurants on the street, Parkhurst said.

McLaughlin, who has worked in restaurants for most of his life, has been working as the director of operations for a distiller. When the building came available, it seemed like the perfect time to collaborate.

“We are opening a place that we would want to go to, for the people we think will also want to go to,” McLaughlin said. “That will be reflected in the beverage program, in the food menu and the decor. We want to make food and drinks that we will like and that we think people will like.”

Earlier this month, Jason Davis and Joy Bechard, the owners of Diggy Dogs, said they were looking for a space downtown and have checked out spots with the help of the Augusta Downtown Alliance and its Pop Up program.

Michael Hall, executive director of the Augusta Downtown Alliance, said he expects negotiations to start between the Diggy Dogs owners and a landlord any time.

Hall said the interest in downtown Augusta has been driven in part by reimagining the street level spaces that had been used for retail and offices into spaces that suit current demands.

Across the city, other restaurants are taking hold. Frosty’s Donuts, based in Brunswick, has opened a doughnut shop on State Street; El Tequila, a Mexican restaurant, has opened on the east end of Western Avenue and this week secured a liquor license; and Wander Pizza opened farther west on Western Avenue, near the entrance to Interstate 95.

Luke, whose work with the city is economic development, said most of the new restaurants that are opening are replacing those that closed earlier this year.

“It’s wonderful to see the former Pizza Hut building, and the spaces vacated by restaurant tenants were almost immediately reopened,” Luke said. “The economy is strong, the downtown neighborhood is growing and the community of diners is certainly strong in Augusta and central Maine.”

Parkhurst, who has bought and developed several downtown buildings, said his hope for Water Street has always been slow but continuous improvement, not a quick fix.

Over the last decade, there has been a steady redevelopment of upper floors into market-rate apartments, which is drawing more investment in downtown real estate and other businesses to open there.

“We’ve turned that corner,” Parkhurst said. “There’s not a part here where everything empties out and people go, ‘We were wrong, Water Street Augusta is not going to work.'”

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