FOOD WITH FLAIR
DERBY LINE – World renowned chefs and entrepreneurs have proposed plans to turn a Derby Line historical mansion into a restaurant and inn. Paulitta and Fritz Halbedl, under the name FriPaulita Inc., unveiled plans for a farm-to-chef’s-table restaurant with an international flair, drawing on their culinary experience from around the world.Plans were submitted to the Town of Derby in early December to turn the landmark house at 440 Main Street in Derby Line into “Derby Line Village Inn,” a 58-seat restaurant with rooms upstairs. The building was once a bed and breakfast and then a residence for a local doctor and his family. The Derby Zoning Board of Adjustment is holding a public hearing this coming Monday at 7 p.m. to consider the plans. Once approved by the board, the proposal will go before the Derby Planning Board for a site plan review.Initial plans call for creating parking on the property’s three acres and for landscaping.Guests can expect “Modern Continental” menu items influenced heavily by Austrian, German, and Swiss flavors, with a healthy theme that uses many local products. The venue could also be used for weddings and other special events, the owners say.Guests will have a variety of options including table service, take-out, and lodging. Culinary events, cooking classes, craft shows and other events are planned. According to the business plan, the target market includes those who are health conscious, the curious, the open-minded, and young people who are developing healthy eating habits.If the business is meeting projections by month 28, the plan calls for expanding by using the carriage house, which is already on the property, and converting it into a weekend sandwich and bakery/retail store. The site would offer homemade products from local vendors and serve as a place to support local artists and artisans. Future plans also call for creating an organic vegetable and herb garden on site, which is intended to qualify the venue as an Organic Inn.Under their market analysis, the owners explain that the restaurant industry is growing due to less and less people having time to cook at home. And the business is well aware of the current trend by consumers who want local foods that are lighter and healthier with competitive pricing.Staff will be needed including a sous chef, housekeeper, line and prep cooks, a maître d', and an estimated wait staff of four people.Fritz has multiple years of experience in the culinary industry, including at a hotel in Austria, in Germany, and other places. He was also an executive chef on famous cruise ships for many years. Paulitta has about 20 years of culinary and business experience in Boston and Florida.