JD’s Firehouse opens in Raymond

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

RAYMOND — From fond childhood memories of Wednesdays with his dad, Jason Greenleaf formed the concept behind JD’s Firehouse Grille, the restaurant

DAWN AND JASON Greenleaf share a breather in the newly remodeled kitchen of JD’s Firehouse Grille. Located in Raymond, 1227 Roosevelt Trail, the new restaurant opened its doors Tuesday, and will throw its grand opening on Feb. 11.

he and his wife recently opened.

“This place is a tribute to my father who was a Windham firefighter for 20 years. The big thing to me was every other Wednesday when my dad had meetings at the fire station,” Jason said. The atmosphere of those meetings was family friendly. Children were allowed to slide down the pole, play tag, and shoot games of pool.

“When he was done, my father would grab me, and we’d go to Rozzi’s Fire Barn,” he said, referring to the business that preceded Charlie Beigg’s Firehouse Tavern.

While those memories fanned the flames of a dream restaurant, the firehouse theme caught on like wildfire, according to Dawn Greenleaf.  People from the fire and rescue departments in Naples, Casco, Raymond and Windham continue to gift firefighter memorabilia for the restaurant.

“Our local fire departments have been pitching in to donate stuff from their departments. We’ve gotten switchboards, jackets, boots and pictures. We even have a fire hose coming in,” Dawn said. “The firehouse idea really spread through the community.”

A vintage fire hydrant sits in the entryway, prepared for the passage of future customers.

Meanwhile, it has witnessed the comings and goings of the many people involved in preparations to open a new business.

For three weeks, the Greenleafs and other family members labored to open the eating establishment by their deadline. Although JD’s Firehouse has been “open for business” since Feb. 1, a grand opening is slated for Friday, Feb. 11.

Jason said he hopes by Feb. 11, they would have been granted the special entertainment permit required for a live band. The musical genre will include classics from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, blues tunes, and country music.

“I want a place where kids can dance with their families,” Jason said.

“Like they do at wedding receptions,” Dawn’s father added.

Earlier in the evening, Dawn was fielding questions from people who walked in and asked about work. She said the staff had already been hired. However, she conducted brief interviews and handed out job applications. Meanwhile, her father — still wearing his tool belt — paced the floor and stretched his back.

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Business: JD’s Firehouse Grille, 1227 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond

Hours: Sunday through Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight

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Jason emerged from the kitchen and announced he had fixed the ice machine.

“What do you want to know about me?” he asked, using a beam as a resting post. “I am exhausted.”

The couple is no stranger to the long hours of being restaurant owners.

The Casco residents have operated the Top of the Hill Grille for seven years. Jason emphasized that Top of the Hill will not close. It just didn’t have the floor space to accommodate his concept of a family restaurant.

“We have a great idea,” Dawn said. “We have a following from Top of the Hill. We have the support of local fire and rescue people. And, with my husband’s ability to cook food — his ability to cook food is outrageous — with his ability to cook food, well, we have a recipe for success.”

The menu will include comfort food like turkey dinners and pastas as well as steak and seafood. The element JD’s Firehouse is aiming for is family-oriented — a classy atmosphere and plate of food with good portions so the whole family can eat well “without killing anyone’s wallet.” He said his restaurant is targeting families who want a nice night out that’s affordable.

“I am not here for the power drinkers, the partiers, or people who drop the F-bomb every other word — that is not my market,” he said. “I am trying to create a ‘moment to remember’ for people when they’re here.”

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