WATERVILLE — After more than 30 years in downtown, the popular Jorgensen’s Café is moving to a new location about a half mile north on Main Street.

Jorgensen’s owner Theresa Dunn said she has been moving items from the current café at 103 Main St. to the new building and hopes to open there June 1 or a few days before that. The new spot is at 220 Main St., the site of the former Me Lon Togo Bistro.

“I’m kind of sad to be leaving downtown, but I’m super excited about the new space,” Dunn said early Thursday.

As she waited on customers just after 8 a.m., Dunn said she was drawn to the 220 Main St. location, which was at one time a florist shop, because of plentiful parking, both to the side and rear of the building.

“I don’t think the building is bigger, but what we do have is, the new dining area has some beautiful, big windows from when it was the flower shop, so we’re really excited about that — all that natural sunlight coming in,” she said.

Jorgensen’s offers breakfast, lunch, a variety of pastries, muffins, scones and cookies, and sells lots of Carrabassett Coffee. Breakfast features breakfast sandwiches and burritos, pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, and scrambled eggs. Lunch includes soups, salads and sandwiches.

Theresa Dunn, owner of Jorgensen’s Café, helps customers start their day on Main Street in Waterville on Thursday. The business will soon be moving to a new location at 220 Main St. in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

But what many customers say they love is the warm and welcoming atmosphere Dunn, her daughter, Megan, cashier Odessa Russell and baker Dee Hunter bring to the eatery.

“It’s great personal service,” David Winkin said.

Winkin, co-owner of Joseph’s Sporting Goods on Kennedy Memorial Drive, stopped in Thursday for coffee and a takeout sausage, egg and ham breakfast sandwich, which he said he likes a lot. He said he will continue to patronize Jorgensen’s in the new location.

David Winkin adds some creamer to his coffee at Jorgensen’s Café on Main Street in downtown Waterville on Thursday morning. Winkin, co-owner of Joseph’s Sporting Goods on Kennedy Memorial Drive, also ordered sausage, egg and ham breakfast sandwich, which he said he likes a lot. Winkin said he will continue to patronize Jorgensen’s when it moves to a new location at 220 Main St. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

As customers strolled in, there was a lot of laughing, teasing and joking going on. Dunn knows them all on a first-name basis. Business has been picking back up, she said, more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic struck.

“We do have a lot of the same customers,” she said. “The majority have started coming back slowly and a lot of them say they haven’t been out in a year. We’re really happy that they choose us as their spot. I’ve asked a few people if the new location will disrupt their route and most of them say, ‘No,’ and the rest say they don’t care — they’re coming anyway.”

After driving to the new location Thursday morning, Dunn gave a tour of the building, which she will lease from businessman Bill Mitchell. Me Lon Togo Bistro, which opened in 2019 and served African and European cuisine, closed last year and moved to Camden. Before Me Lon Togo leased the space, Rita’s Catering used it and before that, Flo’s Flower Cart.

The large dining room has tall windows facing south, an electric fireplace and a special spot on the north wall that features a small memoriam to Vern Miller, a longtime customer who spent nearly every day, all day, at Jorgensen’s before he died in 2018 at 92. A chair, photo book and dog statue mark the spot. Dunn said the new kitchen will feature a sandwich called “The Vern.”

“It will be a meatloaf sandwich because it was his favorite,” she said. “We miss him so much.”

Vern Miller is seen with Jorgensen’s owner Theresa Dunn inside the Waterville eatery in an undated photo. Morning Sentinel file

The building, with a wraparound porch that will be used for outdoor dining, also has a second floor where the office will be located, and a small conference room to be rented out for small business meetings and events such as baby showers, Dunn said. Eventually, she hopes to have a pick-up window on the south side of the building, for people who order ahead of time.

David Johnson, owner of Kennebec Electric, stopped in Thursday to check on electrical work his business had done the previous day.

“We’ll have her up and running in no time at all,” Johnson said. “This is going to be a great location for them.”

LOOKING BACK, AND FORWARD

Dunn, 44, bought the café in June 2017 from Todd Robinson of California, who purchased it the previous year for his nephew, Joe Giardello of Albion.

Jorgensen’s Café owner Theresa Dunn washes windows at her downtown Waterville business on March 5, 2020. Dunn worked at Jorgensen’s for 20 years before purchasing the business in 2017. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

Dunn worked for four Jorgensen owners, including business founder Jon Jorgensen, starting in 2000 — 21 years ago. She had no restaurant experience and learned the business from the Jorgensen family.

Jon Jorgensen opened the café in 1990 as Jorgensen’s Gourmet Goods in a small storefront at 113 Main St., a couple of doors north of the current location. Jorgensen, then 23, was a Waterville High School and Colby College graduate. The business sold soup, freshly ground coffees, exotic jellies, herbal vinegars, fine cheeses, and foreign and domestic wines.

By 1992, his store was doing so well that it outgrew 113 Main St. and moved to a larger space a few doors south. He kept the smaller store and with help from his parents, David and Helene Jorgensen, it became a grocery shop stocking items such as pasta, bulk foods, freshly squeezed vegetables, fruit juices and the like. The new store carried a greater variety of coffees and provided more tables for people to sit at and enjoy a sandwich. Eventually, it expanded into an adjacent room.

Jon and Alison Jorgensen, the original owners of Jorgensen’s Café in downtown Waterville, are seen in 2001 after deciding to sell the landmark business. Morning Sentinel file

Later, Jorgensen sold the café to Jeff and Abby Gordon, who then sold it in 2007 to Gordon’s aunt, Ginny Bolduc, and her husband, Steve. The Bolducs sold the business in 2016 to Robinson, and Ginny Bolduc stayed on for a while to help manage it.

Dunn leases the current space from Tom Nale Jr. and his sister, Tracy. Tom Nale said Thursday they are open to working with a prospective new tenant.

“We’ve had an awful lot of interest in the space and we’re just trying to do what is going to make the most sense, not just with our space, but also with what works for Main Street in general,” he said. “We had a great experience with Jorgensen’s. They were excellent to work with and we are very hopeful and optimistic about their future at the new location.”

Megan Dunn, daughter of Jorgensen’s Café owner Theresa Dunn, helps customers Thursday morning at the downtown location on Main Street in Waterville. The business will soon be moving to a new location at 220 Main St. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The new site will be open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Dunn said her daughter, Kelsie, 12, will be helping at the cash register this summer when school is out. Megan Dunn, 23, whom her mother calls her “right hand,” has worked at the café six years and is pursuing a degree in social and behavioral services.

“I’m super excited,” Megan Dunn said of the move. “I’m kind of sad — we’ve been here for so long — but I’m excited for new things. I’m so excited to see my Mom succeed.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.