VERONA ISLAND — The restaurant looks the same and serves almost exactly the same menu, but Verona Island’s mainstay diner, the Island Rise & Shine, has new owners.
“I always wanted to have a restaurant for breakfast and lunch,” said Rita Martynowski, who bought the business along with her husband, Bob, on Dec. 9. “It’s a very fast pace, customers come in on their way to work. They’re on a schedule and we want to make sure we can get what they need in a timely manner.”
New Jersey natives, the Martynowskis lived part time in Penobscot for the past 10 years before they moved there for good in September. Bob ran an excavating business and Rita managed school transportation, though she had experience working as a waitress and a manager in several restaurants.
Rita and Bob were regulars at the Island Rise & Shine whenever they came up to Maine.
“Usually on Sundays we came here for breakfast and lunch,” Rita said. “We first noticed the for-sale sign in August.”
Now that they have the restaurant, the Martynowskis have a few changes in mind. Bob hopes to add his specialty soups, New England clam chowder, homemade chicken soup and split pea, to the menu. The hours will be the same, but they also plan on opening on Friday and Saturday nights starting in mid-January.
The dinner menu might be smaller than the breakfast and lunch menus at first, but Rita said she has a fish fry in mind for the evening meals.
“We’re exploring new things,” she said. “We’ve been running sloppy joes, chicken quesadilla, Philly subs.”
Rita said the restaurant’s former owner, Katherine George, recently remarried and wanted to spend more time in Florida with her new husband. It looks like George’s old diner is in caring hands.
“We’re enjoying our new adventure,” Rita said.
For now, the Island Rise & Shine is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.