Chad Conley, head chef at Gather, and business partner Greg Mitchell have leased the Palace Diner (website, facebook, twitter) on Franklin Street in Biddeford with plans to relaunch the business this Spring. The pair plan to maintain a traditional diner menu for breakfast and lunch. In the evening they’ll be launching a dinner service with more creative fare, and have submitted an application for liquor license. During warmer weather they’ll have outdoor seating.
Conley is a Portland native who in addition to Gather has cooked at Hugo’s and Jean-Georges in NYC. He worked for Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm in Harborside and helped launch Miyake Farms in Freeport. He and Mitchell met when they were both working Four Season Farm.
The Palace Diner was founded by Louis LaChance in 1927 and is being leased to Conley and Mitchell by the current owner, David Capotosto. It was built by the Pollard Company in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The new Palace Diner joins a growing community of food businesses in Biddeford. the former mill town is home to Rabelais which moved their in 2011, Elements coffee shop/bookstore, Royal Rose cocktail syrup (a Brooklyn transplant), Cobblestones (formerly located on Monument Square), newly launched Banded Horn Brewing and the production facilities for Vervacious. The low rent and steadily growing downtown community are making it an appealing place to launch a business. A number of other Portland chefs have recently considered opening in Biddeford. Conley and Mitchell’s may become an example for other chefs looking to launch their own restaurant.
These photos are from a friends and family breakfast Conly and Mitchell held yesterday to celebrate their new business.
Gather is now in the process of recruiting a new head chef.