Friday, June 20, 2008
WISCASSET (NEWS CENTER) -- Al Gagnon is being remembered as a devoted Dad, a great friend and a guy who turned a small take-out restaurant into a tourist magnet.
Gagnon, the owner of Red's Eats on Main Street in Wiscasset, died last week at the age of 71.
Al bought red's Eats back in 1977. He and all four of his children worked there, along with scores of young people from the area selling hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings --- and lobster rolls. His lobster roll, which was made with the meat from an entire lobster, won national publicity for Red's Eats.
Newspapers and magazines wrote about the little business. National and even international TV networks and travel shows featured the business and its food.
The location didn't hurt - right on Route One, on Main Street, where tens of thousands of tourists pass by every day.
Maine humorist Tim Sample, who had become a friend of Gagnon's, remembered him as a great character and a hard worker. He says Red's Eats became so popular with people "from away" because of good food, but also because it represents the kind of place so many of us remember from the past, and the kind of place that's becoming rare in the modern world.
Phil Divece, a Wiscasset selectman who also used to publish a local newspaper, says Al and Red's Eats are both beloved by local people. He says the annual opening of Red's has always been a sign that summer is coming. And he called Al Gagnon "one of the vices guys", and a man who was always very generous in helping local causes and people.
Al's daughter, Debbie, summed it up this way: "My father was the most charismatic, charming generous loving man. He always knew what was correct, he could talk to anybody and he could always make anybody feel special."
Debbie and her sister Cindy say they will continue to run the restaurant and plan to keep things just the way they are.
My Dad & Mom made frequent visits to this landmark. My sis & brother-n-law loved this place too & would make a stop when they visited Maine. My BF wants to go, but where hs the time gone?? Make the stop!!!!