Downtown Bangor businesses expanding, changing, opening

Three downtown Bangor businesses – two established, one still in the works – are busy with changes and expansions in the coming months. The Main Tavern, Massimo’s Italian Cucina and soon-to-open Eleven Central are all in the midst of renovations and changes to their menus and hours of operation.

The Main Tavern, located at the corner of Main and Union streets, is getting ready to expand into the adjacent, now-vacant Greyhound Bus station, said Peter Brountas, whose family has owned and operated the building the Tavern is located in for more than 60 years. The family is working with Orono designer and architect Chez Cherry to remodel and renovate the space. There’s no official date for opening yet.

“We’re really encouraged. Business has been great. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in downtown Bangor right now,” said Brountas. “We’re just in the initial stages at the moment, working with the City to get things drawn up. We’re going to add some food and more bathrooms and all that. We’re very excited to get to work.”

A few blocks down the street, business partners Ann Marie Orr, Mark Sampson and Brett Settle are putting the finishing touches on their new restaurant, Eleven Central, located at 11 Central St. (naturally), next door to Settle’s popular lunch spot, Giacomo’s. Since March the windows have been covered in paper and workers have been going in and out of the doors. The partners are aiming for an opening sometime after Labor Day.

“There’s a little bit of mystery. I’m sure everyone is saying ‘What the heck is going on in there?’” said Orr, who also runs catering business Ann Marie’s Kitchen. “We’ve hauled 21 tons of debris out the doors. We’ve brought back the original maple floors and all that beautiful exposed brick. It’s like a different space. We’ve redesigned the kitchen so that it’s a fully functional chef’s kitchen. We’re building a full bar. It’s been a lot of work.”

Finally, Massimo’s Italian Cucina and Bakery on Hammond Street is undergoing some changes. The bakery – located just a few buildings up the street from the restaurant – will no longer be open for lunch. While Massimo Ranni and his bakers will still make crusty Italian bread and pastries each morning, the retail end of the bakery will now be sold in the restaurant, which will now also be open for lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“We aren’t doing lunch at the bakery anymore because we don’t have seating. Everyone wants to sit down for lunch, and we just can’t do that in there,” said Ranni. “So we’re still baking the bread, but now you buy it at the restaurant. And you can get panini and all that for lunch there too.”

In addition to the aforementioned businesses, work continues on Blaze, the new restaurant set to go into the old Whig & Courier building in West Market Square, and River City Cinema has finished working with WBRC Architects & Engineers to complete the design for the first stage of remodel work for its new permanent theater space at 81 Main St. Work is expected to be completed in late fall.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, a UMaine graduate, a proud Bangorian and an arts and lifestyle writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food, from media and the Internet to theater and dance. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra, to name just a few. She's interested in everything -- especially if it happens in Maine. She welcomes any and all feedback or suggestions for stories.