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Since coming to Decatur from Austin, Texas, more than 10 years ago, Paul Maisel has been a business owner and held a job with a major local corporation.

But through it all, cooking remained a passion and thoughts of someday owning a restaurant would pop up from time to time.

“It's one of those itches that never goes away,” said Maisel, who spent the early years of his working life in the restaurant industry.

After striking up a friendship with Paco Greenwell, an opportunity presented itself to take ownership of his downtown restaurant — Paco's Sol Bistro.

Teaming up with Cody Flanders, the owner of Vanderlaan's Automotive Repair Inc., and local accountant Mike Wilhoit, the opportunity became reality in October.

Regular customers may have noticed a few small changes over the past few months, like dropping “Paco's” from updated promotional items — it's simply Sol Bistro now — and the introduction of food specials intended to test the appetite of customers to some potential new menu items.

The new owners have taken it slow, realizing they have a very good base from which to build upon.

Expect some of Maisel's influences to make their way to the menu. He describes his brand of cooking as “international comfort food with a southwestern focus.”

“This is the only way I can be artistic,” Maisel said. “I can't draw. I can't paint. But I can cook.”

Aside from the food side of things, Maisel said they already are taking full advantage of the large facility with the return of more stage entertainment. A lot of the focus right now is on musical talent, but it's possible some comedy acts could be added to the mix.

To stay on top of what is happening at Sol Bistro, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Deputy Night Editor

Deputy night editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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