BANGOR – An immigrant family that arrived in Bangor around the turn of the 20th century and began working, is still in business a hundred-plus years later.
And for more than 80 years, the same family has been serving up brews to Bangor residents.
“We feel that my grandfather started in the bar-sandwich business, luncheonette place in 1939 because we have a picture dated then and it was his original business,” said Peter Brountas, owner of The Main Tavern at the corner of Main and Union streets.
What started as a family fruit stand, changed into a candy store, then Peter’s Spa, which had one beer tap, he said. The eatery was run by Brountas’ grandparents — first-generation immigrants Peter and Penelope Brountas.
“They were depression era children so they were looking to do better than the depression,” Peter Brountas said. “They knew to save money. They knew not to waste money.”
His grandfather died in 1948 and his father, Arthur, and uncle George took over the restaurant renaming it Peter’s Candlelighter.
Arthur and George Brountas, and their older brother Nick, also served on the Bangor City Council, each serving as mayor.
“My mother, she was a great Greek cook,” Peter Brountas said. “And it was a popular place because there was nobody open for 24 hours at that time. Dysarts hadn’t even come around at that point.”
“They worked for 10 hours a day for 30 years,” he said of his dad and uncle. “One would work one shift and one would work the other shift.”
The following week, the Brountas brothers would switch shifts.
“It couldn’t have hurt them too bad because my father lived till 90 and my uncle lived into his 80s,” Peter Brountas said.
In 1950, the brothers signed a contract to open a Greyhound Bus Station.
“They had the 24-hour restaurant to serve the buses and that kept them going to many, many years,” Peter Brountas said.
When the bus service moved to Hermon a few years back, ”we looked at it as an opportunity to expand the lounge,” he said.
The family-run pub — the oldest downtown Bangor business — was once called The Jaguar, then The Tavern and has been The Main Tavern for more than 20 years.
Peter Brountas said it’s been a pleasure serving residents and visitors alike.