BAR HARBOR — It has only been open for two weeks, but Ciao is already familiar to many Bar Harbor diners.
The new Cottage Street restaurant features some of the popular dishes from Mache Bistro, the owners’ previous restaurant that closed last year.
Though completely renovated, the building is the same one that Mache Bistro started out in 10 years ago before it expanded to a larger space on Main Street.
“It’s a little bit full-circle,” said co-owner Marie Yarborough.
Chef and co-owner Kyle Yarborough has brought back favorite dishes such as duck confit and French lobster rolls.
“We are also just excited to have more flexible, more changing menu with global influences,” said Marie Yarborough.
Dishes are based on the Yarboroughs’ winter travels, she said. “You might see influences of Italy or Mexico. Travels to Charleston and New Orleans have always been an influence; even street food from those places.”
Opening a small restaurant, Yarborough said, “really allows us to have more fun with the menu. We can change it and try new things. It’s hard to change the menu when it’s a big restaurant.
“We’re going to have a nice crafted menu that really showcases Kyle’s talent, [with] seasonal and ever changing dishes,” she continued.
Rounding out offerings are desserts made in-house, and a varied wine list and cocktail menu.
The new restaurant, like the old one, is “definitely a family affair,” said Yarborough.
With Kyle as the chef, Marie does the “back office” tasks of hiring, managing, and marketing. A lot of the staff from Mache Bistro are working at the new restaurant, she said.
During the busy season, the whole family helps out with Marie seating people, and daughters Elle and Bree helping out as needed.
“The girls help bus and set up [tables]. We’re very lucky. They’re so young, but they get it,” she said.
The Yarborough’s daughters grew up with Mache Bistro, and could not remember a time before they were a restaurant family, Marie said.
“They cried when we sold Mache,” she said. “They were really thrilled when we decided to purchase [the old] building and put Ciao in there.”
Each daughter also has a favorite panini named after her on the menu. Elle’s features duck confit, and Bree’s has burratta, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato.
“They help build the menu. They’re our hardest critics,” Yarborough said.
Ciao is open for dinner six days a week, from Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to close. Though they don’t take reservations, diners can call or go online ahead of time to go on the waiting list.
“We’re just really happy to be back,” Yarborough said. “We’re really thrilled with the support from the community. It feels really good.”