Food Truck News: Deuben & Leavy

Portland’s food truck ordinance passed late last summer. 2013 will be the first full season for trucks to hit the streets and there will be a handful of vendors in the freshmen class.

One that I’m especially looking forward to is being developed by Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy, a pair of of chefs who have some serious fine dining credits on their resume. Deuben has worked at Alinea in Chicago, Hugo’s and Miyake. Leavy’s resume includes time in the kitchen at Back Bay Grill, Hugo’s and Miyake. You may also recall that Karl was the guest chef for last October’s Pocket Brunch at Broadturn Farm.

They’re in the process of renovating a food truck for a mid-May launch. The truck will be located in East Bayside on Anderson Street, near Tandem Coffee and Bunker Brewing. This new venture will give them an opportunity to apply all the skills they’ve developed in their fine dining careers in a more casual setting and format.

The business name is SmallAxe but the name for the truck itself is still TBD. Karl and Bill are working with The Brand Company, Maine magazine’s consulting division of branding, logo, etc.

Blue Rooster

The Munjoy Hill News has published an article about Blue Rooster Food Company (website, twitter, facebook).

Location is key to any successful business.  Located at 5 Dana Street, the Rooster is in the epicenter of the bar district in the Old Port and the options for those patrons are somewhat limited.  “We are tryng to fill the need for a good spot for lunch and late night without spending a bundle,” said Damian Sansonsetti, one of the four partners who started the business.

Under Construction: Food Factory Miyake

As reported back in November, Miyake plans on reopening Food Factory Miyake at their original spot, 129 Spring Street, serving “Japanese comfort food”. The City Council is reviewing their liquor license application Monday and that means we get a peak at the draft menu (see page 67). It consists a mix of small plates (hijiki umani, shrimp with wakame sunomono, etc.) and a small list of entrees (pork with koji salt marinade, braised mackerel with ginger miso, etc.).

The liquor license application would seem to indicate that the new FFM will not be BYOB. The restaurant is likely to open sometime in July.

Reviews of Schulte & Herr and David’s Opus Ten

The April issues of Down East and Maine magazines are now out. Down East has published a review of Schulte & Herr,

A must-have is the potato pancakes with house-cured lox. The pancakes, pillowy puffs with a slightly crunchy exterior, are the perfect vehicle for a pile of buttery ribbons of delicate salmon, topped with cornichons, capers, matchstick radishes, and a dollop of horseradish sour cream.

and Maine has published a review of David’s Opus Ten.

My faith in [chef David] Turin has been justified time and time again, with every bite leaving me in excited anticipation of what may be coming next. The meal is an incredible sensory experience, with Turin’s bold signature flavors becoming even more intense in smaller preparations.

The Opus Ten review is not yet available online.

Fluid Farms

The Portland Daily Sun has published an article about Fluid Farms, an aquaponic farm that’s been operating in Bayside for 2 years growing herbs, greens and fish.

“We have outgrown our cramped in-town greenhouse and have decided to expand. Powered by the momentum of the past two years of operation, we have committed to an expansion and purchased a production-scale 2,600-square foot greenhouse. We are building and moving into our new greenhouse this spring.”

Owners Tyler Gaudet and Jackson Mcleod are using Kickstarter to get the capital they need to expand their business. They have met their initial goal of $5,000 and are stretching to $10k which would enable them to increase the length of their growing season.

You can follow their progress on Facebook.

Review of In’finiti & Little Tap House

Active Beer Geek has published a joint review of In’finiti and Little Tap House,

If you want a more laid back environment with a slightly better menu, than you should choose Little Tap House. If you want to spend a little more money and enjoy beer and spirits made in-house than you should choose In’Finiti. As for me, both destinations are on my “go-to” list for beer destinations. That means there’s a chance you will see me at both locations enjoying local craft beer.

Under Construction: Changes at Empire (Updated)

Culture Shock reports that Empire has changed hands and is going to be split into 2 different venues.

The word on the street is that the downstairs area will be reopened in early summer as a Chinese restaurant – which the Empire building originally was, back in the day – and the upstairs is tentatively planned to reopen this summer as well, still as a music venue.

The Press Herald published an article late Friday with additional information,

The five-year-old restaurant and music venue has been sold by Umbel and will be run by Theresa Chan, a Maine restaurateur, and Todd Bernard, a veteran of Portland’s arts scene. Bernard is a former owner of the Space Gallery music and arts venue, at 538 Congress St.

Umbel said the new operators will close Empire Dine and Dance temporarily so that the downstairs, which now is a bar and restaurant with space for small music groups, can be renovated into a Chinese restaurant.

Review of Zapoteca

The Kennebec Journal has published a review of Zapoteca.

We were nonplussed by the lengthy bar menu, until Kelsey helped us select a couple of outstanding Magaritas…Ours went extremely well with our appetizers. All I can say about the Guacamole is holy mole! I would have bought a gallon to go. The chefs sent out two delicious tacos that are not on the dinner menu. And our Tres Sopes, a “tasting of three golden masa bites” for just $9, could easily be a meal.

Interview with Bartender Kaite Welch

Dispatch has published an interview with bartender Kaite Welch.

Bartending how long: Since she was tall enough to stand on a box and pour beer, professionally one year
Where to find her: Slainte
Why she’s cool: She’s a five foot tall bad-ass who is sweet on the outside but knows when to lay down the law (in a nice way)!