On The Menu
The Wine Rack
Maurice Restaurant Francais
Corey Sumner, Owner
109 Main Street
South Paris, ME 04281
Ph. (207) 743-2532
Fax. (207) 743-5810
Welcome to Maurice Restaurant Francais
Dinner:Open Tues-Sun @ 4:00 P.M.
Luncheon:Tues- Fri 11:00-1:30
Sunday:11:00-2:00 P.M. Dinner 4:00 P.M.
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Since 1976 Maurice Restaurant has been a pleasant surprise for
world sojourners and people new to the beautiful Oxford Hills
area of Western Maine. Located in South Paris on Route 26, which
takes the traveler north into Canada, the two hundred year old
clapboard house turned restaurant continues to delight, serving
French-Continental cuisine in an elegant country atmosphere
at affordable prices.
Having only three owners in nearly as many
decades lends such stability and consistency to the establishment,
making it one of the finest dining experiences in the state
Founding owner, Maurice André, was
born in Paris, France, of a French mother and Swiss father.
His father moved the family to Geneva, Switzerland, where
Maurice grew up. He came to Westchester County, New York,
via Canada, as an adult where he taught French at both high
school and college levels. He met his future wife, Louisa
(hence Tournedos Louisa - see menu), an English teacher from
Holland, walking along a deserted beach. She loved his accent
and he loved hers. “He was a fantastic cook”,
says Louisa. “People were always saying, ‘Maurice,
why don’t you open a restaurant?’”
Maurice and Louisa had friends in the Oxford
Hills area and visited there during summer vacations. In July
of 1975 Maurice asked his friends, who were realtors, if there
were any area restaurants for sale. There were none of interest
but there was an old cape with an extension and a huge attached
barn located right on Main Street. Maurice bought the house
on the spot and moved to South Paris in November of that year.
Maurice Restaurant Francais opened in April of 1976. Louisa
followed to South Paris in June and their son, Ned, was born
Maurice André was a real showman and
something of a charmer. He wore white gloves and made quite
a drama out of carving Châteaubriand table side for
his customers. He served opulent New Year’s Eve feasts
(Dinner of St. Sylvester) which were patronized by well-to-do
people from the area and abroad. He developed a wine list
unrivaled in the state. In a short time Maurice restaurant
was well known throughout Maine and much of New England.
Maurice’s dream was cut short. He became
ill and passed away in June of 1979. Louisa continued to operate
the restaurant while raising their son who was just three
In August of 1980 the restaurant changed
hands. The new owners, Marge and John Tisdale, kept the same
dinner menu, added a luncheon menu and eventually increased
the seating capacity from forty-eight to eighty. In December
of 1983, just one week after a major addition had been completed,
a fire caused by a wood-burning stove in the upstairs apartment
where the Tisdales lived, broke out gutting the restaurant.
It reopened in March of 1984 looking better than ever and
creating quite a stir in the community. The Tisdales kept
Maurice’s menu and many of his basics, but catered to
area residents to establish repeat business. Monthly wine
dinners were introduced long before any other area restaurants
were doing them. These things and the notoriety of the fire
increased interest and sales and the business was truly off
Many local people were employed over the
years. One young man from West Paris, barely out of high school,
came to work as a dish washer and then a line cook at another
restaurant operated by the Tisdales. Corey Sumner later was
transferred to Maurice Restaurant. Since he was learning to
cook, he enrolled in the culinary program at Central Maine
Technical College completing the program there, but by and
large learned far more from on the job training at Maurice
and from cookbooks and experimenting with his own creativity.
Corey’s skills grew and he eventually became the head
chef at Maurice Restaurant.
The Tisdales split up in 1996 and Marge operated
the restaurant with Corey’s support in the kitchen.
In 1998 Marge and Corey set the date - January 1st, 2000 -
for Corey to assume ownership. Now Corey owns Maurice Restaurant
and Marge works in a supportive role in the dining room, part-time.
Corey turned thirty in 2000, three days after
the restaurant became his. He hopes to retire by the age of
fifty-five, but now he has family so he may never retire.