WATERVILLE — Less than a month after Bolley’s Famous Franks closed to much fanfare and considerable disappointment among its legions of fans, the restaurant may soon have a new life and a broader menu.

A husband and wife with local roots plans to reopen the hot dog and burger joint, keeping the original menu mostly intact, while adding their own twist with the addition of gourmet burgers.

Oakland native Megan McAvoy Hunter and her husband, Bruce Hunter II, with the help of Megan’s father, Peter McAvoy, have signed to buy the Bolley’s property on College Avenue.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Bolley’s and it’s a huge landmark,” McAvoy Hunter said Friday. “It’s where you go when you come back home.”

The original Waterville Bolley’s sold hot dogs and fries for 52 years. Its last operator was Zena McFadden, the granddaughter of Gus Bolley, who with his brother Nelson started the original Bolley’s in Augusta in 1957. In 1962, Gus opened the Waterville eatery.

The new owners hope to begin their own family tradition.

The pair met at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Fla., and worked in restaurants in the Orlando area.

For the past year, however, the two planned the concept of a gourmet burger joint, with a special spice seasoning and fresh ingredients. After getting over the disappointment that one of their favorite places to eat was closing, the pair realized there could be a blessing in disguise.

“We were devastated,” McAvoy Hunter recalled when she heard the news. “It was always a place we’d go to when we’d come home. My Facebook feed was filling with people and their final hot dogs and how sad they were.

“We were looking for the opportunity to open a restaurant, and it was a no-brainer,” McAvoy Hunter said. “The owners have been consulting with us over the menu.”

With the sale pending, the new owners are talking with Waterville Code Enforcement Officer Garth Collins about minor renovations for the interior.

“We’ve contacted the Waterville Historical Society about getting old photos of Waterville to put up and pay tribute to the city and (the fact) that this establishment has been around for a long time,” McAvoy Hunter said. She said the couple will keep the standing counters up inside the building and expand the outside seating.

If all goes according to plan, their hope is to open Bolley’s Famous Franks and Gourmet Burgers in about three weeks.

“This is my husband’s and my baby,” McAvoy Hunter said. She said her husband will assume head chef responsibilities and she will focus more on the business side.

The gourmet burgers side of the menu will include some unique offerings, such as a blueberry barbecue sauce.

“We’ll probably go and pick the blueberries ourselves,” McAvoy Hunter said. “We’re going to try and keep it local and have different things on the menu to remind you of Maine.”

The pair moved to Oakland from Florida in June and have worked in all types of kitchens, from high-end restaurants that require reservations months ahead, to working as personal chefs and catering for events. Yet, it’s the day-in, day-out grind and the simplicity of making burgers and dogs that have them ready to grill.

“We’ve each worked long hours and are used to the grunt work,” McAvoy Hunter said. She said they have simple palates. “We enjoy everyday kind of food and our heart and soul is in day-to-day burgers and dogs.”

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @jessescardina


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