Fire Hits Maine Topless Coffee House

Tod Hunter
VASSALBORO, Maine — The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, a controversial coffee house offering coffee and pastries served by topless waitresses and waiters, was nearly destroyed in a fire that started around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, which also damaged the former motel surrounding the coffee shop where owner Donald Crabtree and six of his family members and acquaintances lived. No one was injured in the fire.

Crabtree told reporters that he did not have insurance on the property and he intends to reopen.

The coffee shop, which offered coffee and pastries from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., has been a subject of extensive news coverage since it opened in February.

Tuesday night, Crabtree met with members of the Vassalboro Planning Board for a pre-application meeting to extend the hours of the shop to 1 a.m. and add music and dancing to the topless coffee service.

"I'm not asking to change it — just to add, keep it still a coffee shop," Crabtree said. "No alcohol involved at all."

The city plans to consider regulations on adult businesses at Town Meeting on Monday.