BAR HARBOR — Business has been booming since George Seavey and his daughter Kaitlynn opened the Aloha poke bowl takeout restaurant on Cottage Street.
“I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in Bar Harbor, but I never wanted to open just another fried haddock, boiled lobster restaurant…I just couldn’t do it,” said George Seavey, who is also the owner of Acadia Towing in town.
A poke bowl is a Hawiian dish that consists of rice, fresh vegetables and sliced, raw fish, typically tuna. This trendy dish came alive in the 1970s and has made a comeback in recent years.
During the quarantine, George spent time in southern Maine where he developed a fascination with the simplicity and the taste of poke bowls. So when Kaitlynn expressed an interest in starting a business, George, who originally went to school for cooking, came up with the idea.
“I was just blown away by how good they [poke bowls] were and blown away at how simple it was to have a poke bowl restaurant,” George said.
Since the restaurant’s opening in early June, people have taken notice. “We have a lot of regulars we know by name,” said Kaitlynn, who noted that the business gains more regulars and customers every week.
“Out of all the places we viewed on Main Street and Mt. Desert Street, we decided this location [37 Cottage Street] would give us the right amount of foot traffic,” said George. The Seaveys agree that as more live events are held at the neighboring Criterion Theatre, it can only help business overall.
The restaurant owners said their aim is to use Maine products such as lobster and crab whenever possible and are committed to supporting sustainable fisheries in the state. Since most of the seafood that is caught in Maine is then shipped to other countries for processing only to be sent back to America for sale, said George, they would rather skip that process altogether by going straight to the source.
Not only does Aloha takeout have a menu with specific combinations of ingredients such as crab, scallops, mango and avocado, it also has a build-your-own bowl option.
“It just offers people their own choice. I feel like there really isn’t anything else like that in the area. They are so simple. It was a really good idea for someone like me who has never worked in a restaurant before,” said Kaitlynn.
Things couldn’t be better for Kaitlynn, who agrees that being mentored by her father has been a learning experience. “He has taught me so much about being a business owner. I would have never done anything like this if it wasn’t for him,” she said.
Folks can catch Aloha open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11:30 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.