The Islesford Dock, with its popular seasonal restaurant, has been purchased by Mitchell Rales and Michael Boland. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Rales, Boland buy Islesford Dock

CRANBERRY ISLES — Mitchell Rales, billionaire seasonal resident of Northeast Harbor, and Bar Harbor restaurateur Michael Boland have bought the Islesford Dock and its popular summertime restaurant for an undisclosed sum.

Dan and Cynthia Lief, who had owned the dock and operated the restaurant for 24 years, announced last year that the 2016 season would be their last, even if no one bought the property.

Boland said in a press release Tuesday that, in his collaboration with Rales, he will be the operating partner, overseeing the day-to-day management of the restaurant. He said it would open for the 2017 season June 1 and “is expected to stay open well beyond Labor Day.”

In the past, the restaurant has closed the Sunday before Labor Day.

“We plan to provide good jobs to local residents and purchase as much as possible from local or Maine-based vendors, which will help us achieve our goal of serving our customers great food and beverages in a unique setting,” Boland said.

“Mitch and I feel strongly that maintaining and growing this historic restaurant is important for the local community. It has been a good source of income for lots of folks over the years and has been a part of so many special memories for all of us.”

The press release quoted Rales as saying, “Partnering with Michael to serve so many in the region – both with quality food and the deep sense of community the Islesford Dock provides – is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

“We certainly hope to run as great a restaurant as Dan and Cynthia did for the last 24 years. However, we are equally excited about keeping this icon going and increasing its economic impact through various means, including lengthening the season.”

Boland said that although final decisions have not been made about such things as menu items, “We don’t envision many changes. The overall vibe of the Islesford Dock Restaurant will remain, and we plan on keeping many of the most popular dishes on the menu while adding some new ones.”

He said the Islesford Dock Gallery, adjacent to the restaurant, would remain open.

In addition to the restaurant and gallery, the Islesford Dock has housed a pottery shop, a craft shop and the Little Cranberry Yacht Club. Boland said those tenants would be staying, as well.

The one-acre dock property includes a small cabin and a greenhouse, which, Boland said, “we’re excited to use as an integral part of the restaurant.”

Boland owns and operates the Havana restaurant and Choco-Latte café, both on Main Street in Bar Harbor. President and Mrs. Obama dined at Havana when the first family visited Mount Desert Island in July 2010.

Rales and his brother Steven founded Danaher Corporation, which owns dozens of companies in a wide range of manufacturing and technology fields. Danaher is based in Washington, D.C., and Mitchell Rales’s principal residence is an estate in nearby Potomac, Md.

His net worth, according to Forbes Magazine, is $4.1 billion.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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