Archive for August, 2014

Alfred Matiyabo, Farmer

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article about Alfred Matiyabo who grows produce in South Portland for the area’s African immigrant community.

…the pumpkins, the amaranth, and most of the eggplants are African varieties, the kind he remembers from his native Congo, their seeds ordered online. And these plants, cleaned, cut and packaged under his brand – Africando – in the commercial kitchen of a church in Portland, are crops specifically planted for a growing community of African refugees, Matiyabo’s customer base.

Under Construction: Skillet

Sunday, August 31st, 2014


A new eatery called Skillet (facebook) is under development on Walker Street in the West End.

Owner Natalie ‘Figgy’ DiBenedetto is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Skillet will be her 3rd restaurant; the first two Mina and Another Fork in the Road were located in the Hudson Valley.

DiBenedetto plans to operate a take-out business along with a few outside tables serving,

…a nightly take home meal for 2 or 4 people as well as cast iron fried chicken, korean style chicken and all the fixins (slaw, potato, lots of seasonal vegetables etc..). Also trying to perfect a gluten free fried chicken. We’ll do some whacky ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice cream and homemade cookies and southern banana pudding (yes, with ‘nilla wafers)We’ll probably do a seasonal shrub soda and some other fun libations…

Her target customers are “working families, singles and couples in the area that want something comforting, nutritious, affordable and fun”. DiBenedetto will also use Skillet as the base of operations for a catering business that serves traditional comfort foods from her native state of Missouri: “BBQs, fried chicken picnics, fish fry, pig roasts etc”.

Skillet will be built off of the backside of the Yordprom Coffee building. She hopes to break ground for the building in the few couple months. You can see additional views of the building and a detailed floor plan in this submission to the Historic Preservation Board.

Skillet joins Tandem Bakery, Bramhall, Tawakal Halal and Salvage along with a few established businesses (Yordprom, Flores, and Bodega Latina, Hong Kong Market, etc) in expanding business develop past Longfellow through Bramhall Square and down to Saint John. This is a trend that’s likely to continue.

Under Construction: Fore River Brewing

Saturday, August 30th, 2014


Fore River Brewing (twitter, facebook, instagram) has released some additional info about their plans. Founders John LeGassey, Michael Pridham and Thomas Hansen are currently identifying a location for their brewery and hope to open in 2015. They plan on brewing a wide range of beers that “reflect the owners’ varied taste and over ten years of brewing experience.”

Details on some of their prior brewing experiments can be found on Brew Toad.

Photos of Blue Spoon

Friday, August 29th, 2014

The Angela Adams blog Sea Fantasy has published a set of photos of Blue Spoon.

We always try to find great neighborhood restaurants when we travel. This probably comes from us having the luxury of living in a neighborhood with excellent eateries. Blue Spoon, Lolita and The Front Room are all at the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine and are all worth a trip for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Blue Spoon has been one of our long time favorites for years. The owners and staff are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and very talented. It’s the perfect place to go with friends or on your own for a delicious meal in a cozy environment, surrounded by neighbors.…

Maine Foodie Tours

Friday, August 29th, 2014

The Casual Travelist has posted a report on her recent experience on a Maine Foodie Tours guided tour. The tour visited Vervacious, Sweetgrass Distillery, Vena’s Fizz House, Harbor Fish, and Eve’s at the Garden.

Tandem Bakery Open

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Tandem Coffee’s new location is now in  full operation serving a line of house made baked goods by Briana Holt complemented by Tandem’s fine coffee and service.

The new coffee shop/bakery is located at 742 Congress Street in the West End.

Maine Seaweed Festival

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The Bangor Daily News has published an article of the Maine Seaweed Festival which is taking place this Saturday at SMCC.

Food vendors for the event, including food trucks from Good Shepherd Food-Bank, Locally Sauced, Fishin’ Ships and Maine Grain Alliance, will provide seaweed dishes and the festival also will serve up Maine seaweed ice cream.

The festival will wind down with a ticketed dinner featuring offerings from local chefs and farmers.

Reviews: Ruski’s, Buck’s

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The Press Herald has posted a bar review of Ruski’s,

And this ease-of-attitude – there’s absolutely no pretention or bar brawl disorder – seems to be a vibe everyone catches when they step through the door at Ruski’s. There’s a sense of respect whether you’ve been coming here for decades or just stumbled upon the corner bar for the first time.

While not a place to find a craft cocktail, Ruski’s is a fully stocked bar with 12 taps and a number of nightly cheap beer specials that are available until 1 a.m.

and a review of Buck’s Naked BBQ.

The brisket was served on a soft brioche bun, and I added a healthy dose of the house barbecue sauce. I don’t need a lot of heat with my meat, but I enjoy a mild kick. The meat was tender and came apart easily in sandwich-sized bites. A knife and fork were not necessary.

Piccolo Anniversary Feast

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

piccolo_emblemPiccolo will be celebrating their 1st anniversary on September 21st by serving a traditional Abruzzi Panarda, a feast of epic proportions. Piccolo’s Panarda will be a 20-course meal paired with wines from Southern Italy. $110 per person. Call (207) 747-5307 for reservations.

Under Construction: Suzukiya Ramen

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Eater Maine has shared some additional details on the new ramen restaurant slated for 229 Congress Street. Suzukiya Ramen will be run by the father and son team of Katsuaki and Cory Suzuki. The family originally hails from the Hokkaido region of Japan.

Profile of Lolita

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Eat Maine has published an article about Lolita.

Other dishes go for all-out comfort—the harissa-spiked lamb meatballs are baked in a skillet with tomato sauce, Aleppo chili, hearty croutons, and a single egg then topped with yogurt that with the addition of ghee becomes more decadent and aromatic. “You can eat this morning, noon, and night,” Guy says.

Uncle Andy’s Restaurant Impossible

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Just in time for tonight’s 10pm airing of the Uncle Andy’s episode of Restaurant Impossible, the Press Herald has interviewed the family about the experience and checked out whats changed at the South Portland eatery.

Irvine’s team gave the diner new tables and chairs, a fresh coat of apple green paint, flat-screen televisions, a new alarm system, different light fixtures, and enlarged, framed photos showcasing scenes from the 60-year-old diner’s past. The restaurant kept its horseshoe-shaped counters, with updated stools. The menu had its own makeover as Irvine added dishes such as a lobster omelette and grilled Dijon chicken.

Reviews: Central Provisions & Boone’s

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Tufts Now has reviewed Central Provisions,

Duck liver crostini have been finding their way onto a number of menus. This version, complemented with kumquats, fried shallot and fresh oregano, set the bar for elevated expectations. Our follow-up of caramelized Miticana sheep cheese from Spain with peaches and 15-year aged balsamic nearly prompted an immediate encore.

and Drink-up and Get Happy has reviewed Boone’s.

Overall it was a great evening enjoying some of the best that Portland has to offer.  While the specials at Boone’s sister restaurants may be a little better, you can’t beat Boone’s for ample patio space, good drinks, and great views!

Interview with Steve Corry

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

As part of a new series that looks at how business leaders innovate their way around challenges, the Press Herald has interviewed Steve Corry, chef and co-owner of Five Fifty Five and Petite Jacqueline.

In a stroke of good timing, in April 2007, Corry was named Best New Chef by Food and Wine magazine. But he didn’t get to savor that success for long. In September 2008, Wall Street banking giant Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy, and the economy went into a tailspin.

Interview with Love Cupcakes

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

From Away has published an interview with Amy Alward, co-owner of Love Cupcakes.

5. Do you plan to try and transition your truck to a more traditional restaurant someday?
We recently finished construction on the second floor in the Public Market House in Monument Square of a food stall that looks like our food truck. You can find us there Tuesday through Sunday. It is where we bake our cupcakes these days. We will also be offering savory sliders from the market house, which we’ve started selling at the truck out on Outer Congress at the Portland Racket and Fitness Center.