Don’s Lunch Van is reopening Wednesday in Westbrook.

The iconic burger joint has been closed for nearly six months.

Owner Craig Bernier had been operating the red-and-yellow van out of the parking lot at Friendly Gas and Redemption at 925 Main St. He could not reach agreement on rental costs with the owners of that building last fall, and he pulled Don’s Lunch Van off the road while he searched for its new home.

During the break, Bernier said he was able to reach a compromise with his former landlords.

“After a long winter nap at a secret Westbrook location, the iconic Don’s Lunch van is once again ready to serve up the Big One, Sammy Burger, clam cakes, & those famous ‘dumped’ fries!” a post on the Don’s Lunch Van Facebook page said. “And the NEW LOCATION is … the old one!”

Fans can expect the same menu at the van Wednesday. Later this year, Bernier said, he intends to open a sit-down restaurant inside the building at the gas station, and he will likely expand his offerings.

“Then we are going to make this van a complete mobile unit,” he said.

The kitchen-on-wheels has a long history in Westbrook.

Original owners Don and Yvonne Richards first opened Don’s Lunch Van in 1976. They operated in the parking lot of The Muffler Shop at 959 Main St.

They sold the business in 2001 to Bill and Nancy Bombard, who moved it to 517 Main St.

Jim Richards, the son of the original owners, bought the business from the Bombards in 2012.

The state shut down the food truck in 2015 for nonpayment of sales taxes. Later that year, Bernier bought the van. He moved the business to the Friendly Gas parking lot, just down the road from its original home. A former customer, Bernier promised to strip the menu down to basics – hamburgers, hot dogs, clam cakes, french fries, onion rings and chicken nuggets.

Bernier said he scouted new locations during the winter months, but he was happy to come back to the familiar spot.

“I’m very excited to get back to work,” Bernier said. “It’s been a long winter.”

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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