Don’s Lunch Van in Westbrook has closed while the owner looks for a new location for his iconic burger joint.

Craig Bernier has been operating the red-and-yellow van out of the parking lot at Friendly Gas and Redemption at 925 Main St. But the truck closed Tuesday, and a message on the Don’s Lunch Van Facebook page said the kitchen-on-wheels needs a new spot to park.

“We have 2 potential locations, both in Westbrook, of which we should have answers on within a week or two,” it said.

The Facebook post went on to thank loyal customers and promised an update as soon as possible. In response to a question from a customer, Don’s Lunch Van said they could not come to an agreement on rental costs with owners of the building. A message to Bernier through the Facebook page was not immediately returned.

“We hope to reopen within a few months and are hoping to continue serving tasty treats to all of you!” it said.

Don’s Lunch Van has a long history in Westbrook.

“It is an institution,” City Administrator Jerre Bryant said.

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.

As the end of his lease approached at Friendly Gas, Bernier approached the city of Westbrook for help. He wanted to lease a vacant city-owned property on Mechanic Street. Bryant said the Westbrook City Council had concerns about that location, but he is working with Bernier to identify another spot for the van.

“The whole litany of first, second and third choices haven’t worked out,” Bryant said. “We’re trying to find something.”

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

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