FAIRFIELD — David Gulak spoke wistfully this week before officially closing both the Meridians Kitchen and Bar and its retail shop across the street.

“It’s a bittersweet moment for all of us here,” said Gulak, 43, the co-owner of Meridians, which will be open for the final time on Saturday.

Meridians Kitchen and Bar opened its doors in 2019 in the former Gerald Hotel at 166 Main St. in downtown Fairfield. Back then, Gulak and his partners, Joshua Sullivan and Nathan McNab, had a vision for the space as a delectable wine shop. The Meridians shop, which opened in 2014, received an overwhelming support from the community, prompting Gulak to expand his business.

“I always envisioned this to be a wine bar, where people would come in and enjoy a glass of wine from our collection,” Gulak said. But at some point, Gulak said, he always wanted to open a restaurant. When the space for the restaurant was auctioned in 2019, Gulak and his partners felt that was their calling.

“I then thought, ‘Why not have a restaurant that would have all our handcrafted delicacies?'” Gulak said.

The shop, on the other hand, is currently being leased from the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program.


Gulak said a combination of factors have led to Meridians’ closure, including price increases for products and electricity caused by inflation and a dwindling labor force. The business has staff of 20 people.

“It’s hard to meet payroll when you can’t increase your prices that high,” he said.

In a Facebook post earlier this month announcing the closure, owners wrote they were “taking time to regroup and reflect” so they could “move forward and properly maintain our commitment to our mission and our community.”

“We do not yet know what the future holds, but the past possesses a treasure trove of good times and great relationships, as well as abundant lessons learned and community forged through fire, fury, and friendship,” the owners wrote.

Meanwhile, the destructive storms in recent weeks resulted in a shortage of revenue as fewer people stopped by the business, Gulak said. The week after Christmas, Gulak said, was significantly tough as the business incurred a loss due to power outages, floods and less income.

“It was brutal but I also know a lot of people had it far worse than I did,” he said.


Meridians Shop owner David Gulak, right, and employee Tony Reid, center, assist a customer by explaining different wines Thursday in Fairfield. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Longtime customers of Meridians took to social media to express their fond memories dining at the restaurant. One customer, Anthony Michaud, also a longtime friend of Gulak’s, said the restaurant will always hold a special place in his heart. The creativeness of the dishes and the hospitality of the staff has made the experience even more memorable.

“My wife and I have enjoyed many date nights there alone and with friends,” Michaud said. “Over the years, I brought many people to Meridians with us and it never disappointed.”

Adding to that, the long work hours and some of his staff resigning made it a challenging ordeal. “It’s now like, I run this ship, which makes it difficult,” Gulak said. “I feel burnt out at this point.”

Burt Hazelton, a cook at Meridians Kitchen and Bar in Fairfield, prepares the lobster for Thursday’s dinner menu. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Meridians has prided itself on a farm-to-table concept that changes with the seasons, Gulak said. From Wagyu strips fresh off the farm to duck eggs, each item on the menu is produced locally.

“We locally produce our food and then bring that straight to the table. It gives people a lot more to try and taste,” he said. “My all time favorite is the sourdough bread with salt butter. I like simplicity because food should be simple.”

The real action, however, happens in the evening, Gulak said. When the bar is full of people who want to enjoy a glass of wine and some good food.


“It’s chaos, but more like controlled chaos back here,” said Anna Meacham, a chef who has been with Meridians since July last year. For Meacham, the team and the high-spirit energy is what she will miss the most.

Anna Meacham, a cook at Meridians Kitchen and Bar, dries off a bowl Thursday during a shift in Fairfield. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

When the restaurant is bustling with visitors and the orders are flowing in, the staff in the kitchen hypes each other up to push through the rush hour, Meacham said.

As for the future, Gulak does not have any immediate plans. The restaurant space will remain as is for now since it was purchased in 2019.

“I want people to know that this is not the end,” Gulak said. “It’s just a new beginning.”

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