BANGOR, Maine — The owners of the Fish House Grill, a popular restaurant in Bar Harbor for the last two decades, want to come to Bangor.
On Monday night, the Bangor City Council voted unanimously to give Fish House owners Jim Bond and his wife, Tina, and son, Jeremy an exclusive 90-day window to negotiate with the city’s business and economic development committee on a plan to lease a 17,000-square-foot parcel of waterfront land off Front Street south of the Sea Dog. Jeremy Bond will act as operator of the proposed restaurant.
“They have until Dec. 26 to negotiate. We’re not going to talk to anybody else about that property during these next 90 days,” said Tanya Pereira, Bangor’s economic development specialist. “We’ll find out more detail about the building, what it will look like with renderings, a better idea of seating plans and the function of the restaurant.”
The preliminary Fish House plan is to build a restaurant featuring a bar, raw bar, banquet and meeting facility, and an ice cream takeout window.
“This could be a showcase piece for them and the waterfront as well,” Pereira said.
The 17,000-square-foot land parcel is one of three available along Front Street.
“It’s a very high stakes game. This waterfront is the result of many years and millions of dollars in investment in the public sector and that has all led up to investment by the private sector, which we hope this is the beginning of,” Pereira said.
The Fish House first opened next to the Quality Inn in Bar Harbor as the hotel’s official restaurant in 1992. It remained at 7 Kebo St. for seven years before moving to its location on the Town Pier in the Harbor Place building at 1 West St. The seasonal eatery boasts the largest oyster and raw bar in Maine and one of the largest on the East Coast, according to the Fish House website.
While this could be Bangor’s first waterfront development deal since the one that allowed the Sea Dog to open in 1995, it also would be the Fish House’s first expansion.
“This would also be their first year-round facility. We talked about if they’re prepared for that and they’re enthused about having this kind of consistency,” Pereira said. “And they’re very excited about bringing that unique part [raw bar] of the restaurant with them because it’s something Bangor does not currently have.”
“Typically, most of the leases Bangor has done are for 40 years,” Pereira said. Pereira said there we no available estimates or figures on the number of jobs that would result from the creation of the restaurant and banquet facility.