BANGOR, Maine — Just over seven years after the last dinner was served at Miller’s Restaurant, the iconic Bangor landmark on Main Street will once again open its doors to hungry and thirsty patrons.
Local owners and investors of Seasons on Main, a restaurant and lounge that will also have a bakery, function room and radio studio, expect to have the 15,000-square-foot operation open by Aug. 1 at the latest.
“It’s like four businesses in one, and they all complement each other and promote each other,” said general manager and Bangor businessman Jim Churchill, who was born in Presque Isle and grew up in Brewer. “It’s a two-room concept with one side being the dining area and another being the lounge and bar area. You can dine in a quiet atmosphere, or you can go next door and watch a game and have a more vibrant, active experience.”
Churchill said Seasons, which will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to close, will employ between 65 and 75 people and will have enough seating for 350 customers.
Seasons will have 16 beers on tap and a variety of wine available by the bottle or glass. The lounge will have 22 TVs and offer an area featuring couches and a fireplace.
Former Muddy Rudder general manager Tom Workman is the food and beverage director for Seasons.
“I think we’ll have a variety of decor from historical to seasonal, the food offerings will be seasonal and varied, and then as you transition into the lounge area, that will reflect the changing sports seasons, too,” said Workman, a Hampden resident and restaurateur with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry.
Workman and Churchill are the point men for a group spearheading the effort behind Seasons. They are joined by school administrator and radio broadcaster Rich Kimball and former Miller’s owner John Miller, who is leasing the space to Churchill’s group.
“I’m the landlord in this, but I’m still a partner and it’s important to me because my heart’s in it,” Miller said. “I had other opportunities to develop or sell this building, but I know these guys and I like their vision. This property is not only sentimental to me. It has deep roots in my family and it’s important to me that they stayed on that local level, and that’s what intrigues me with this plan.”
The bakery, which will be run by the couple who have run Montes International Catering on Columbia Street the last 15 years, will be open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Carmen Montes will be operating and managing it for us and providing us with a variety of signature desserts and breads as well as offering breakfast and lunch to the public,” Workman said.
The building will even have its own radio studio, and the “Downtown with Rich Kimball” afternoon show will broadcast from the location each weekday from 4 to 6 p.m.
“The media [radio] division of this gives us a platform to work from and promote things,” said Churchill, who has had the idea for the business since the fall of 2009.
Kimball expects to start airing the show live — on Bangor station WAEI (910 AM), Rockland’s WRKD (1450 AM), Madison’s WIGY (97.5 FM) and Gardiner’s WFAU (1280 AM) — from the new studio in late July.
“We’re excited that this gives us a chance to make the name of the show, ‘Downtown,’ a reality,” said Kimball, who was brought into the fold 18 months ago. “In one sense, it’s a throwback to the kind of radio we grew up with where it isn’t all recorded three hours in advance. We couldn’t ask for a better situation or location than this.”
The menu at Seasons will feature a mix of traditional and modern dishes.
“We’ll have a core menu with many of the staples you expect in a restaurant like steak and seafood, as well as some eclectic offerings that go along with trends in the nation now, like health-conscious, organic, fusion, what have you,” Workman said.
The restaurant and lounge comprise what Churchill calls phase one of the business plan. Phase two is the bakery, which should open in mid-September.
“Phase three will be developing the basement-level space, which already has a bar and new bathrooms, into an events and functions space to hold things like private events, Super Bowl parties and live band concerts and dances,” Churchill said.
Phase three should happen later this year. And phase four?
“That’s going to happen next year, but I can’t discuss that yet,” Churchill said.
Bangor city officials are excited about the development of the space, which housed Hollywood Slots casino from 2005 to 2007 before it moved to its current location.
“The city is thrilled that this key piece of commercial real estate along the Main Street entertainment corridor has been leased and will be back in active use again soon,” said Tanya Pereira, Bangor’s business development specialist. “With a great team in place with significant industry experience, we look forward to this addition to the dining options in the Bangor region.”