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Italian Bistro opens on Hammond St.

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BANGOR - James Gallagher hasn't had a day off of work in years, and that's just the way he likes it.

This 24-year-old owns seven businesses, and they're all located on Hammond Street. His latest venture is La Cena, an Italian Bistro located across from Papa Gambino's.

"I love Italian food, and I wanted to do something different in the area because everyone has 'copy pot sandwiches' and pizza," Gallagher explained.

So along with his Breaking Bread soup kitchen; JG Development, a real estate and rental company; James Gallagher Design, a staging and interior design company and his numerous other businesses, Gallagher opened La Cena. It's the one place that's putting his two years of culinary experience from United Technologies Center in Bangor on the front burner.

"People ask me, 'Do you like to cook?' and I say I like to eat first and foremost," he said. "These are all my own signature dishes. I make the sauces every morning."

Since opening in May, one of the restaurant's best sellers has been the Mamma's Panini, which is made with mozzarella, tomato and basil.

"It's a pretty big hit," he said.

However, if there were awards for second place, it would have to go to Gallagher's cheddar and apricot panini simply called K's on the La Cena menu.

"K's is very unique to us. Some are scared to try it. But once they do, they fall in love and keep coming back for that," Gallagher explained. "It's sweet so it's like a desert and a meal all in one."

Besides paninis, patrons can also wet their appetite with spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parmesan or macaroni and cheese. Everything on the menu is $6.95 or less, and each and every dish can be enjoyed on site or ordered to go.

And as hectic as this chef and business owner's life is, he admits there's still more he'd like to do.

"I just turned 24 years old. My goal is to own 10 businesses by 25, so I have one more year," he said.

La Cena, located at 621 Hammond Street, is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 947-6222.

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