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My Favorite Places, a Series, Starting with The China Dine-ah, Five-Years-Old Today

There are certain places that feel “right.”  Not that others feel wrong but, rather, some make you feel at home, as though you belong.  First on my list is, and this won’t surprise anyone who has listened to me for any period of time, The China Dine-ah.

“The Dine-ah,” as it is referred to locally, was born on October 23rd, 2007.  That’s hard to comprehend as I visited for the first time on the very first weekend and, wouldn’t you know it, it seems like just yesterday.  I became fast friends with the owner, Norman Elvin, and have learned a great deal from him as a friend and a businessman.

The Dine-ah came to be after Dowe’s True Value Hardware closed and Norm bought the building.  With nothing more than a desire to re-purpose the structure and a book titled “How to Run a Restaurant for Dummies,” he began work on what was to quickly become a central Maine destination.

Because it is close to where I live I’m there quite frequently, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week and often times just to hang out at the counter and talk with the staff and greet people I know.  There is so little turnover in employees at The Dine-ah that I’ve become very close with most of the people who work in the dining area (and even some in the kitchen).  This place, The China Dine-ah, just feels “right” to me.

Whether I just need to kick back and relax or have a delicious home cooked meal whipped up by Meagan, Ryan, Ralph or one of the other great cooks, The Dine-ah is always calling my name and, so long as I live close by, I’ll be there in a heartbeat to answer the call.


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