The Penalty Box’s pizza a crowd-pleaser

Posted:  Friday, February 24, 2017 - 8:30am

It's only right that the new owners of the Penalty Box Pizza & Pub in Damariscotta met there.

They were both customers at the restaurant/bar when it was Romeo's. They met, fell in love, talked about what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives, married, and bought a restaurant.

The restaurant's name was changed from Romeo's to the Penalty Box Pizza & Pub before Ken and Lisa Boucher bought it in January.

Though neither has owned or managed a restaurant until now, both have backgrounds in the food industry. Lisa, who grew up in South Bristol, has worked in the restaurant business for 26 years, waiting on tables and tending bar, before working in health care at Miles Hospital in Damariscotta.

Ken grew up in Bath and began working at Shaw's Supermarket there when he was in high school. He continued with Shaw's in Brunswick, and spent 20 years working at the Rockland store. Eventually, he moved up to manager at Shaw's in Wiscasset.

He said they wanted to do something together, and running a restaurant would tie in their skills. “We both turned 50 and decided that if we were going to make a move now was the time to do it.”

Neither of them cook, but Ken said they both pitch in wherever they’re needed. “I like to call ourselves the firemen. We can do it all but we try to do whatever is needed. I was just washing dishes.”

The cooks came with the business. They have been cooking there since it was Romeo's. But the pizzas are not Romeo's pizza.

“Our pizza recipe is all brand new,” Ken said. “We've changed a lot of the ingredients. We involved a lot of our customers and townspeople. They were telling us they wanted to see a different pizza, so we had a pizza sampling day, with different products — sauces, cheeses and crusts — from different companies. We brought out samples and asked them to vote on their favorites.”

At the end of the day, they tallied up everyone’s favorites, and the result is making the townspeople happy. “Our customers selected the ingredients,” Ken said.

For anyone who isn't familiar with hockey, the Penalty Box is a sports term. And many menu items’ names, like the “Big Bad Bruin,” the “Olympian,” the “Bobby Orr” and the “Misconduct” are also hockey-themed. There's even a “Black 'n Blue Salad.”

Some changes have been made to the menu, and a soup bar and coffee bar have been added. There is live entertainment on some nights, with local bands, and a comedy night.

“We like to use people from the community for entertainment,” Ken said. “Our community supports us, and we try to give back.

“We want to be known as a place where a family can come have a good meal at a good price and enjoy themselves, and people can come in and relax and enjoy a game on TV and socialize with friends and family.”

Beginning the last week in February, the restaurant/pub will add fried seafood to the menu.

The restaurant is located at 436 Main Street. Call 207-563-1563 to order a pizza, or a sporty sandwich.