Business Beat: “Big Dig” Under Way At Figa; Opening 10/22

By Carol McCracken (Post # 558)

The long-awaited Big Dig began early this morning when Dearborn Landscape Development arrived on Congress Street to begin digging a 5 ft. ditch in which the company will place a 1 inch copper pipe. (See above photograph.) That new pipe will run water into Figa. By tomorrow afternoon, Figa, the much anticipated new restaurant, will have water. And that new water, according to the charismatic Figa owner, Lee Farrington, will enable it to become “water independent of my neighbor, Alice Dunn.” And that independence means that Figa can open – soon. Dunn owns Portland Architectural Salvage, Preble Street, as well as the building next to Figa.The two have been involved in a frustrating struggle over Figa’s water rights for over a year.

While the noisy “Dig” was going on outside of Figa, Farrington, was handing out black, organic T-shirts inside to commerate the special occasion: “Figa Digs Congress 9.22.10” said one side. The out-of-pocket expense to Farrington for the new water line is: $19,000.

Originally, FIGA had planned on opening in July of 2009, but Alice Dunn had other ideas. Just before that opening date, the water rights dispute erupted and FIGA plans were revised. Farrington had hired a complete staff – both kitchen and front of the house – but had to rehire again recently because at least half of those staff people left in the interim. That new process of rehiring has just been completed – again.

FIGA will be open five days a week for dinner, closed on Sundays and Mondays and on Holidays. It is expected to open on October 22nd.