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Raymond restaurant set to open in new building after fire

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RAYMOND (WGME) -- A restaurant that was destroyed in a fire is opening up in a new building.

A La Mexicana will open to the public Friday in a 1950s style diner with Mexican flair on Route 302 in Raymond.

"It's very exciting," says Laurie Mason who owns the property with her husband Robert Mason, "This whole thing has been a long journey."

A fire in April of 2017 destroyed the previous property.

"The whole building was up in flames and smoke was coming out of the ridge, "says Laurie Mason, "It was devastating."

It hit restaurant owner Jose Manuel Chavez and his family especially hard.

"I don't want to even remember," says Chavez, "I was feeling like I don't even want to wake up in the morning."

"For us it was just a building and a business," adds Laurie Mason, "But for him, it was his whole life."

Chavez started running A La Mexicana out of a food truck while the Masons came up with a plan.

"I said, 'Why don't we put a diner in?'," said Robert Mason.

They got approval from the town and started looking at modular diners online.

"A buddy of mine called me and he said, 'Bob, there's one in Ohio that's in beautiful shape,", says Robert Mason.

From Ohio to Maine, the diner was shipped in pieces and carefully put into place.

"It was five truck loads that acme in," Robert Mason says, "We had two 150-ton cranes here to set it on the foundation."

Months later, they're ready to share this trip back in time.

"You know the Oldies but Goodies, all the plaques are on the wall," Robert Mason says, "It has that feel and style."

A La Mexicana customers can't wait.

"Every other day we get a response, 'When are you going to open? When are you going to open?'," says Robert Mason.

"I love to be back in business," adds Chavez.

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