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Meet Mark Ryan, Amanda Gouin, and Dean Baltulonis of Sonny’s Tavern in Dover

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Ryan, Amanda Gouin, and Dean Baltulonis.

Please kick things off for us, we’d love to hear the story.
Sonny’s Tavern opened in May of 2013 by husband and wife team of Amanda Gouin/ Dean Baltulonis and longtime friend Mark Ryan. We all relocated to the Portsmouth NH area from NYC. Mark has worked in Bars in the lower east side for the last 15 years, and Amanda has worked in many Brooklyn restaurants as well as Boston area restaurants such as the East Coast Brill and the B Side Lounge. We really wanted to open a NY style bar and restaurant in the NH seacoast. The vision was an establishment with great food, great beer list and well crafted artisan cocktails. The cocktails have been a strong focus since the onset, a lot of the ingredients are made in house. We make our own ginger beer, bitters, tonic syrup, tinctures and infusions. The focus of the food is comfort food with an elevated twist.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We definitely hit some speed bumps in the build out process. The previous space was a bar, but we gutted everything and remodeled the whole restaurant ourselves with some help from contractor friends. We started out with a smaller menu using mainly induction burners and a convection oven. As we grew we realized there was need for a bigger/ better kitchen. About a year and a half ago we installed a brand new kitchen, allowing us to expanded our menu and get creative with the food.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Sonny’s Tavern story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a restaurant/bar. I would say we’re best known for our artisan cocktails and creative comfort food. We have a unique cocktail list that uses everything from emulsifying egg whites to burning wood chips to smoke a glass for a smoked Manhattan.

We make our own bitters, tinctures, shrubs, cocktail syrup, tonic syrup and infusions.

We are most proud of how Sonny’s has morphed into the vision we initially had for the restaurant.

Our cocktails are big part of what sets us apart from others as well as the food. We also feel it is a place where everyone feels at home

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t think luck had a lot to do with it. It was more hard work.


  • Cocktails range from $8-$12
  • Apps $5-$8
  • Entrees $11-$16

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michael Winters

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