The Wharf Bar & Grill in Swatara Township has transitioned to new owners.
Partners Son Nguyen and Miro Gojmerac recently purchased the restaurant, which has been a mainstay at 6852 Derry St. for more than 45 years.
“We’re not making any changes and everything is staying the same,” Nguyen said. “The last thing I want to do is destroy the name. All I want to do is make it better.”
The Wharf, a dependable neighborhood stop at 6852 Derry St., is located parallel to the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg rail yard. It attracts blue collar workers, senior citizens, families and others for draft beer, wings and seafood.
Nguyen and Gojmerac, who have been friends for nearly 20 years, said they teamed up after learning the restaurant was for sale. The previous owners purchased the Wharf in 2018 from the Sakelaris family, who had operated it for more than four decades.
Gojmerac, a Bishop McDevitt High School graduate who has been in the financial services industry for 25 years, said they are continuing the Wharf’s family-oriented atmosphere. Nguyen, a Central Dauphin East graduate, who lives near the restaurant, also owns Pho King Vietnamese Cuisine in Hampden Township and Little Saigon Food Market in Swatara Township with his wife, Lien Nguyen.
The Wharf holds a special place for both owners. Nguyen said he recalls as a young boy driving by the restaurant with his father and daydreaming about owning a restaurant the size of the Wharf. For Gojmeric, the Wharf was a place to go in his twenties.
One change the partners are plan is an expansion of the restaurant’s outdoor patio to include a cabana.
In the coming weeks, a neighboring residence will be demolished to make way for the cabana, which will include a bar.
“Aesthetically speaking, it’s going to look a lot nicer,” Gojmerac said. “It brings value to the area. We feel this will be more of a one-of-a-kind thing.”
Aside from the cabana, day-to-day operations at the Wharf will remain the same, including a menu of pub favorites and entrees. Popular items the Sakelaris family served such as spanakopita (Greek spinach pies), Greek salads and liver and onions are returning.
The owners also are planning Valentine’s Day specials including surf and turf, stuffed shrimp and blacked Delmonico with sides such as twice baked potatoes with cheese and bacon, grilled asparagus with parmesan and Caesar salad.
The partners kept the Wharf’s staff, including several longtime employees as well as general manager Mitchell Leonard. The restaurant’s dining room is available for large groups and parties.
The Wharf’s kitchen is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., daily. The bar is open until about 11 p.m.