GOULDSBORO— Maine is a wonderful place for seafood but especially so if the fishing boat laden with freshly harvested lobsters can be seen from your dining room table.
Such is the case at Bunker’s Wharf, a fine dining restaurant, overlooking Bunker’s Harbor in Birch Harbor.
Chef Kristin Giroux and lobsterman Dana Rice Jr. run the establishment, which is in its second season under their ownership.
Rice’s father, Dana Rice Sr., owns the wharf next door so patrons are getting lobsters, scallops and clams about as fresh as they can be.
Giroux said her customers’ favorite dish is definitely the Seafood Farfalle, which features a Parmesan cream sauce with lobster, shrimp and scallops served over bow tie pasta.
All of the dishes are served with Giroux’s delicious twist on focaccia bread.
Fish tacos and fried clams are popular too. But, the restaurant has lots of options for those who don’t want seafood. The menu includes filet mignon, house-made tagliatelle pasta served with summer squash, cherry tomatoes and spinach with house-made pesto or marinara sauce as well as chicken marsala.
Lunch also is served and includes a steak and cheese sandwich or a portabella “burger” topped with fried zucchini strings and arugula among other offerings.
The restaurant boasts a granite patio with waterfront seating as well.
Giroux recommends those coming for dinner call for reservations. Calling ahead is recommended for weekend lunches.
“Not a must but probably a good idea for sure,” she said.
The restaurant has a creative cocktail menu, which features drinks with house-made infusions such as hibiscus grapefruit infused vodka.
“We have a couple of drinks we’re known for,” Giroux said. Those include Bloody Marys because they are served with a multitude of garnishes. The blueberry lemon drop martinis, garnished with a stick of rock candy, are in demand too.
Giroux had been a culinary student at Eastern Maine Technical College when the former Bunker’s Wharf owners hired her as sous chef.
“I came down here when I was 19,” said Giroux, a Brewer native. “I started out with the original owners as sous chef.”
“I always, even as a kid, fooled around with food,” she said. “I always liked really good food.”
That’s a trait that has passed on to the couple’s young daughter, Seanna Rice, who is known to order her steak medium rare when the family goes out for dinner.
Giroux is employing her own staff of EMMC culinary student interns who earn course credit for their summer job, in addition to a paycheck.
Isabel Chipman, whose mother, Stacie Chipman, bakes for the restaurant, is serving as a sous chef. The other sous chef is EMMC culinary intern Hunter Lawlor.
Intern Ellie Burns has created “an out of this world crab and corn chowder that Dana and I are going to make a staple item,” Giroux said.
The restaurateur will give the interns challenges, such as “make a soup of the day and have cost in mind,” she said. “Or I’ll throw in an extra challenge such as make it dairy-free.”
Giroux also rotates the interns throughout the restaurant so they have experience working “in the front of the house” as well as the back.
Giroux herself baked, waited tables and poured cocktails in addition to serving as head chef until the restaurant’s original owners closed down in 2008.
Giroux and Rice revived the seasonal eatery in 2017. Renovations have been ongoing and will continue in the off-season.
Bunker’s Wharf stays open through October. The restaurant, located at 260 East Schoodic Drive, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with Friday and Saturday hours extended to 10 p.m. Giroux also serves breakfast on weekend mornings.
For reservations, call 963-9111. For more info, visit www.bunkerswharf.com.