Written by: Lindsay D. Tice
Heather Morin has a unique distinction: she is the “she” in She Doesn’t Like Guthries. The unusually named Lewiston restaurant and entertainment spot opened in 2007 with an uncommon focus on doing business as ecologically friendly as possible. The name was her fiance’s idea, a joke that stuck around. Their unique Lewiston restaurant stuck around, too.
Name: Heather Lee Morin
Married/relationship/single? I am engaged to be married this June!
Job: I am one of two owners of the restaurant/cafe/venue She Doesn’t Like Guthries on 115 Middle St. My fiance, Randy Letourneau, is the other owner.
Tell me about Guthries: Guthries is a collaborative effort on the part of my partner and I to do something meaningful with our lives. For us that means offering healthy food choices, providing an ecologically friendly establishment, providing a space for local artists and musicians to connect with the community, and supporting other local products/producers that we enjoy ourselves.
Where did the name “She Doesn’t Like Guthries” come from? Guthries was the name Randy really wanted to name our restaurant, after the folk musician Woody Guthrie, and I kept telling that I didn’t think that name would be a good name for our place and I wanted to try to think of something that I liked better. Being that Randy has a background in graphic design, he was very anxious to put together a logo for our restaurant but needed a name before he began. He added the “She Doesn’t Like” as joke and it stuck. So I am the “she” of “She Doesn’t Like Guthries.”
Do a lot of people ask you that? Yes, and it is becoming harder to keep the same enthusiasm when I explained it. The story is actually starting to sound pretty lame to me the more I say it, but I realize it’s because I’ve said it so many times.
Do you always use the full name or shorten it to Guthries? We generally shorten it to Guthries. It was actually kind of embarrassing when we first started establishing contracts with our vendors and telling people in the community; there were a lot of polite pauses after we told them our restaurant’s name.
When the Sun Journal ran a story on Guthries in 2007, you were working on your graduate degree in ecological teaching and learning. Why go for the degree when you’ve got Guthries? Well, the birth of the idea for Guthries began during discussions between Randy and I during my graduate degree program, which helped me to realize that I was not happy teaching in a traditional setting. And Randy was also not happy where he was working at the time. We began talking about the kinds of work we considered meaningful, our dream jobs, and over several months the idea of owning a business together that combined our passions began to really excite both of us. I used Guthries as my final project by making Guthries as ecologically friendly as possible, and hopefully educate, over time, as an example of such practices within our community.
Has Guthries kept the ecological bent it started with? Yes. I believe we are the first restaurant in Lewiston/Auburn certified through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as a “green” restaurant. We have recently started a project to compost our waste and plan to grow some of our own produce this summer in an effort to keep getting greener.
Bad economic times are especially hard on restaurants. Does Guthries’ unique character make it more recession proof? I really hope so! I think it also has do with the variety of things we offer: a fairly diverse menu, coffee and espresso, beer and wine, live original local music and local artwork. We’re well rounded I guess.
What’s the bigger draw at Guthries — the food or the music? Since we only have live music on Friday and Saturday nights, but are open Monday through Saturday, I would have to say our food. Although the music events are large reason we are succeeding.
How do you come up with the food selection? A lot of it is based on what we like to eat, and we do a lot of experimenting, as we are here so much.
What’s been the best part about owning Guthries? All the wonderful people we would not have had the chance to meet and develop friendships with: loyal patrons, great musicians, talented artists and community members also dedicated to making a contribution.
The worst part? DISHES!!!