Kristen Giroux and two partners are re-opening Bunker’s Wharf restaurant in Gouldsboro. Requests for favorite dishes are already coming in. Ellsworth American Photo by Jacqueline Weaver

Bunker’s Wharf to reopen

GOULDSBORO — A popular waterfront restaurant in Bunker’s Harbor will reopen this spring with a new owner and a mostly new menu.

Bunker’s Wharf has been purchased by Acadia Vacation Rentals LLC, of which a principal owner is Kristen Giroux.

The clapboard restaurant overlooking Bunker’s Harbor closed in 2010, reopened under new management for a few years, and then closed again.

Giroux, 33, said she and her two business partners purchased the restaurant from Maine Event, LLC, which owns additional real estate in Downeast Maine.

“No one knows that restaurant like I do,” said Giroux, who worked at Bunker’s from 2003 to 2009 as a server, bartender, sous chef, pastry chef and then chef and manager.

“I’ve always been drawn to this restaurant,” she said. “Dana and I would often be on his boat and look back at Bunker’s and talk about how great it would be to own it.”

Dana Rice Jr., a lobster fisherman, is both her life partner and business partner. The third business partner is her mother, Judy Giroux of Orrington.

Giroux and Rice have a daughter, Seanna, 7, and live in Birch Harbor.

Although Giroux has a culinary school background, she has hired an Italian chef so that she can be free to pitch in wherever needed.

The lunch menu will feature pub food, such as beef and fish burgers, salads and Giroux’s signature Driftwood Burger, Pit Dog and steak and cheese.

She established a following for those items when she operated a lunch wagon in Birch Harbor the summer of 2011.

Dinners will be more fine dining with Italian specials, steaks and seafood.

Giroux also will be bringing back, by popular request, popular Bunker’s Wharf dishes such as Caesar Salad with warm croutons, rib eye steak with gorgonzola butter and Bunker’s Wharf homemade bread.

She also is initiating a weekend brunch.

“I want to appeal to everyone,” Giroux said. “In the daytime it will be more laid back for families. At night it will be more upscale.”

She is having a new logo designed — a mermaid.

“Everyone does the lobster,” she said. “I wanted something different, and I love mermaids.”

Bunker’s seats 80, but Giroux plans to add a three-season canopied area that will accommodate an additional 30 people. All of the current and future space has water views.

She and her partners have many plans for the property — which also includes a large private home, two cottages and a garage with living space overhead.

But for this year Giroux will concentrate on reopening the restaurant and creating a dining experience for those who arrive by car or boat. The restaurant has a pier.

She said she is receiving telephone calls and emails from people who once worked at Bunker’s and want to come back, and others who simply want to hop on board the new project.

Former Bunker’s aficionados also are excited about the restaurant’s rebirth.

“The atmosphere was always light and fun,” Giroux said. “I loved all the customers. My favorites were the regulars. I knew what they wanted before they even sat down.”

“And you can’t replace that view of a working waterfront.”

Her daughter’s fledgling “Seanna’s Sweets” business, a telephone booth-sized building with homemade pastries, might relocate to the restaurant parking lot so that patrons can buy pastry and bicyclists passing by can pop in and grab a bottle of water.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]