BANGOR, Maine — Captain Nick’s, the well-known seafood restaurant that has been on Union Street for more than 25 years, will change ownership in the coming months, according to owner George Brountas.
On July 1 Brountas will sign the paperwork with Caribou native and restaurateur Joe Hackett, who will lease the building with intent to buy. He is expected to take over operations by the end of the summer. No financial details were disclosed.
“I’d like to say I’m retiring, but I don’t think I’ll ever be retired,” said Brountas, who has operated restaurants in Maine for 45 years. “He wants to buy it, we’re not getting any younger, and I’ve been [at Captain Nick’s] for 28 years. It’s time.”
Hackett doesn’t intend to drastically change the menu — the fried seafood platters, lobsters, chowders and all the things patrons have enjoyed for nearly three decades aren’t going anywhere — but he does plan to add steaks to the current offerings and update the interior.
“We don’t want to change anything major. There’s a reason it’s been open all these years,” said Hackett, known for his Caribou restaurant Yusef’s, which was open from 1974 until 1993.
“George and his family have developed this over the years, and I come from a long line of family restaurants in Aroostook County, so we’re going to bring some of what we had up there to Captain Nick’s.”
Brountas got his start in the restaurant business in 1968, with the original Nicky’s Drive-In in Bar Harbor, which was open until the late-1970s. He was an original partner in Nicky’s Cruisin’ Diner, also located on Union Street in Bangor, and in 1985 he opened Captain Nick’s at the former Chuck Wagon Restaurant.
Hackett, who comes from a family of Lebanese restaurateurs, was drawn to Captain Nick’s because he felt a kinship with Brountas, a descendant of Bangor’s first Greek immigrants. Brountas’ family has run restaurants and businesses in the area for nearly a century.
“The Greeks and the Lebanese and the Italians have been in the restaurant business for years. George and his family have built a Bangor institution, and we want to take what he’s done with it and just re-energize it. Give it a little facelift,” said Hackett. “We just want to make a good thing better.”
Brountas, however, won’t completely leave the restaurant for another few months.
“I’ll stick around through the transition,” he said. “I’ve got to find something else to do.”