Brahma drama: What’s happened to Brahma Grill in Bangor?

Jessica Sleeth (center) pours water for Michelle Perkins (second from right) and Leeann Hawes (right), while Shawn (left) and Alicia McDougall enjoy a meal on April 30, 2016 at Brahma Grill in Bangor. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

It appears that Brahma Grill, a steakhouse on Hammond Street in downtown Bangor, has closed — whether or not the closure is permanent is still not certain, but the business did not reopen on July 17, after a planned two-week vacation in early July.

Despite repeated attempts to contact owner Brett Settle and lease holder Massimo Ranni, as well as former employees of the restaurant, the Bangor Daily News was unable to get definitive confirmation that Brahma is closed for good. The phone number listed for Brahma appears to be disconnected or otherwise out of order. There are a number of posts on the restaurant’s Facebook page from people asking when the business will reopened; they have not been answered by Brahma staff members.

A note was put on the door of the restaurant around July 4, stating that the business was on its summer vacation and that it would reopen on July 17. As of July 25, it has still not reopened.

Settle opened Brahma in March 2016, offering high-end steaks and other cuts of meat, alongside a selection of pastas and salads, a daily seafood special, a number of popular appetizers, like corn fritters and wild boar sliders, and an extensive cocktail list. The location, 96 Hammond St., was formerly the home of Massimo’s Italian Cucina; Settle took over the lease of the space from Massimo’s owner Massimo Ranni.

Before opening Brahma, Settle was the longtime owner of Giacomo’s, the downtown Bangor sandwich and coffee shop. Settle abruptly closed Giacomo’s just before Christmas 2016, leaving his employees without a job, and a number of gift cards sold during the holidays seemingly worthless, though Settle did plan to honor those later, at Brahma Grill or by offering cash refunds. Settle initially said he was going to close Giacomo’s for a few months to do some renovations, but ended up selling it in late January to Matt Haskell and Evelina Kacprzykowska, co-owners of Blaze Restaurant in Bangor. Giacomo’s reopened under the new ownership in May.

It is not known what will happen with any gift cards sold to Brahma Grill that have not yet been used if the business does not reopen.

Restaurants and other businesses on lower Hammond Street, including the Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor Wine & Cheese Company and Novio’s Bistro have had a difficult summer, with extensive construction occurring as the City of Bangor replaces a water main. Most of that section of Hammond Street is currently completely ripped up, though the sidewalks remain open.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer for the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine.