Archive for January, 2015

Under Construction: Cellardoor Winery (updated)

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on Cellardoor Winery’s plans to open a 5,000 square foot tasting room and retail store at Thompson’s Point.

The satellite location will be known as Cellardoor at the Point and will host wine tastings, dinners, cooking classes, food-and-wine pairings and other special events. It also will have retail space for selling the company’s “Cellardoor at Home” product line, which includes jams and jellies, oils, vinegars, desserts, syrups and other food products.

Cellardoor joins Oxbow and Sweetgrass as Mid-Coast food enterprises that have opened Portland locations to better connect with the Southern Maine locals and tourists to the area.

Update: for additional information see this report from the Urban Eye.

Under Construction: Brunch Cafe & MK Kitchen

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Maine a la Carte has posted information on two new restaurants under development:

  • Chef Dave Mallari, former owner of Francesco’s Blue House Cafe, plans to open a new cafe at 906 Brighton Ave in the space formerly occupied by La Familia. Mallari will serve brunch Wednesday through Sunday with a focus on gluten-free and Paleo diet options. He hopes to open in March.
  • Chef Mitchell Kaldrovitch is opening MK Kitchen(website, facebook) at 2 School Street in Gorham with his wife Lisa. Kaldrovitch has worked for the past 7 years as the executive chef at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth. The new restaurant will serve “simple handmade food, all from scratch from desserts to pastas”. They hope to open in April.

Reviews: Maps Cafe, Bao Bao

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The Press Herald has reviewed Maps Cafe,

But there’s a distinct charm to Maps that will compete with other Portland bars, no matter what. In addition to their on-the-money grilled cheeses, Walker wakes up early most days to bake one of her grandmother’s cake recipes. She’d often bake with her grandma as a girl, and cake at the bar was another European element Walker wanted to play up. The carrot cake has become a customer favorite.

and Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Bao Bao.

After all was said and eaten, were quite pleased. Our food came to 46 bucks with tax and tip. It seemed quite reasonable for 24 dumplings, a slaw, and a glass of wine. I found the Kung Pau the most tasty, but all of our food was very good. I definitely recommend Bao Bao if you love dumplings.

Bugs for Dinner

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The American Journal has a report on a new Freeport-based business called Bugs for Dinner.

Bill Broadbent, 54, his family and friends made that point and more last Saturday at the Freeport Community Library, as they invited everyone to snack on cricket cookies, energy bars and chocolate-covered crickets. The occasion was a website launch for, which he created and hopes will lead to an insect-farming operation later this year.

Location, Location, Location No. 3 (Updated)

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

There are 20+ restaurants and other food-related businesses currently under development in Portland and new ventures are being announced all the time. The demand for vacant restaurants and retail space remains quite high. So, once again, I’ve put together this list of retail spaces to help out anyone who’s searching for real estate to get their new venture off the ground.

If there are any good spots I’ve overlooked give a shout out in the comments or email me at and I’ll add them to the list.

Old Port

  • 245 Commercial St—this space was the home of The Salt Exchange for the past 5 years.
  • 13 Exchange St—until very recently 13 Exchange Street was occupied by the Old Port House of Jerky.
  • 34 Exchange St—until late last year this was the location of JL Coombs.
  • 57 Exchange St—Country Noel is located in the basement space on the corner of Exchange and Middle. They’re closing at the end of January.
  • 90 Exchange St—this restaurant space had been occupied by Thai 9, before that it has been a succession of establishments: Little Seoul, Greek Corner, Bandol and Rachel’s.
  • 363 Fore St—over the last couple years this space was a Dunkin Donuts and then an Orange Leaf franchise. It would be nice to see this store front on the corner of Fore and Market occupied by a local business rather than yet another national chain.
  • 367 Fore St—on Fore Street near Bull Feeney’s.
  • 420 Fore St—this is the former home of Joe’s NY Pizza which went out of business after a fire broke out in the building a couple years ago.
  • 455 Fore St—right on the corner of Fore and Union Streets, this space used to house Gingko Blue.
  • 465 Fore St—for a few month last year this was a vegan juice bar called Liquid M2; it’s adjacent to Dean’s Sweets and across the street from Miyake.
  • 24 Free St—across from Sur Lie, this was the original home of Sapporo in 1985.
  • 50 Middle St—there are plans are to develop the remainder of the lot that used to be the home of the Jordan Meat plant which will include 12,500 square feet of retail space. Hugo’s, Eventide, Duckfat, Eat Ender and Miccuci’s are all right in the immediate vicinity.
  • 151 Middle St—this listing on Loopnet indicates that both the Bull Moose and Videoport spaces are both for lease.
  • 15 Monument Square—This was the location of the Portland branch of Wannawaf for a season, prior to that it had been the home of Cobblestones.
  • 11 Temple St—this is the former Minot’s Flower Shop on the corner of Temple and Federal Streets.
  • Widgery  Wharf—a new construction project on Commercial Street that includes a 5,175 sq ft restaurant space.

Art District

  • 604 Congress St—this space was formerly a thrift store. It’s currently under construction along with the rest of the Schwatz Building. It’s immediately adjacent to the Down Town Lounge and across from the State Theater.
  • 660 Congress St—the Queen Anne style building was the first space Roxanne Quimby originally bought to house her artist colony. The last business to operate there was Zinnia’s Antiques. A developer is now renovating the building; a retail space is planned for the first floor.
  • First floor of the Schwartz Building—the building at the intersection of High and Congress is still under construction. Once it’s finished the corner space on the first floor could be a really sweet street cafe.

West End

  • 769 Congress St—for a few years 769 served as headquarters for The Quimby Colony. 1935-2009 it was the home of the Roma restaurant. As part of the renovations to the Roma it now has a very nice commercial kitchen.
  • 870 Congress St—there a first floor space for lease located in the Maine Medical Center parking garage almost across the street from La Bodega Latina.
  • 79 Mellen St—the Mellen Street Market building is for sale.
  • 72 Pine St—a small street level commercial condo in Andrews Square is for sale.
  • 260 Saint John St—the former Jan Mae restaurant in the Saint John strip mall is available.
  • 237 Spring St—this store is located at the corner of Spring and Clark Street is for lease. It used to be the Spring Street Variety store.


  • Amergian Bros on Pearl Stthe sign for this neighborhood market is one of the last vestiges of a large Armenian community that thrived here during the early 20th century. Perhaps it’s time to see this historic location once again serve as a neighborhood market.
  • 337 Cumberland Avethe building that Maria’s Ristorante is located in is for sale. According to the listing the restaurant will relocate.
  • 45 Marginal Waythe old Century Tire property is being turned into the Century Plaza strip mall. Two national franchises have already signed on, two spaces remain.
  • Midtown—the new plans for Midtown include 87,0000 sq ft of retail space located on the first floor of the buildings.

East End/Washington Ave/India St

  • Bay House—this new set of building near India Street has several ground floor retail spaces available.
  • 229 Congress St—the space to the right of Ramen Suzukiya currently occupied by Goody G’s
  • 249 Congress St—Lee Farrington did an excellent job of converting this former hair salon into a restaurant. It’s unfortunate that Figa closed but it would be even sadder to see this space go unused.
  • 58 Washington Ave—this space was the former home of Falmouth Flower & Gifts.


  • 34 Vannah Stthis space has housed a number of neighborhood markets over the past few years. It garnered some attention in 2014 when Hugo’s/Eventide briefly considered leasing it.
  • 1207 Forest Avefor several decades this had been the home of the Wok Inn.
  • 1706 Forest Avefor many this was a neighborhood variety store called Papa’s Place. I’ve heard that since then it’s been renovated and there’s a new commercial kitchen on the premise.
  • 906 Brighton Avethis space was formerly occupied by La Familia restaurant.
  • 1363 Washington Avethis space is currently occupied by Sala Thai.
  • Pine Tree Shopping Mallseveral different store fronts in the mall are available for lease including, presumably, the Full Belly Deli space.
  • 305 Rte 1, Yarmouth—this building was recently Oscar’s New American and before that was home to the Sea Grass.

Some of the best spots out there aren’t officially on the market. If there’s a space you’re interested in, it never hurts to talk with the current occupant and see if you can work out a deal that they’re happy with. They move to another address and you get the perfect location for your  business.

Give a shout out in the comments or email me at if there are any additional properties I’ve overlooked and I’ll add them to the list.

Interview with Rob Tod

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Eater Maine has published an interview with Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing.

When you started the company in 1995, legend has it you couldn’t give Allagash White away in bars because of the public’s and the industry’s unfamiliarity with Belgian styles. What was the worst response you got?
I used to walk into bars and restaurants with samples and the first thing they said is, “What’s wrong with it?” That was the common response. I got used to it. You just spend time trying to educate people: “Hey, this is a traditional Belgian style beer. It’s supposed to be cloudy ’cause it’s unfiltered and that contributes a lot to the quality of the beer.” Even if I could talk someone into a draft line it was generally the worst selling one. Accounts weren’t familiar with the beer and neither were customers. It was a long slow grind, the first ten years. Probably the first twelve years, really.

Cartender Delivery Service

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

cartender_logoA new Portland delivery service called Cartender(website, facebook, 207-200-3125) launched yesterday. Cartender has partnered with Old Port Spirits to “deliver beer, wine, spirits, and mixers to your door”. Cartender operates 7 days a week: 4-8pm M-Th, 3-8 on Fri, and 12-8 on the weekends.

For more information read this article on Active Beer Geek,

Have you ever been sitting in your apartment in Portland and wanted a beer but didn’t want to go anywhere? Jim O’Brien and Scott Nevers has created a service that was perfectly designed for that occasion, Cartender. It’s a delivery service that brings beer, wine, spirits and mixers to your Portland residence. You place your order online and they drive it to you.

Snowmageddon Eats

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

A few Portland eateries are still scheduled to be open today. Here are the one’s I’ve heard  about:

If you hear of any others, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

WBUR: Vinland’s Local Cuisine

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

WBUR has posted an article on Vinland.

David Levi is the brain behind Vinland. His food is 100 percent locally produced. Every leaf, every grain, every fish — is from Maine or pretty darn close. Going hyper local in Southern California is one thing. Doing it here, where the growing season is 156 days long, seems like a risky business plan.

“It forces us to be creative,” says Levi. “It’s like I’m writing a sonnet. I only have so many syllables in this line; I have to come up with something other than my first inclination.”

MECA Culinary Arts

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The winter/spring semester of MECA’s Culinary Arts program begins this week. Here’s the full list of classes:

  • Food Blogging Workshop, taught by Susan and Ted Axelrod
  • Puff Pastry, taught by Andrea Swanson from Foley’s
  • Professional Cake Building, taught by Andrea Swanson from Foley’s
  • Whole Pig Butchering, taught by Evan Mills from from Rosemont
  • World of Wine, taught by certified sommelier Jennifer Flock

You can see the full program on the MECA website.

Food Film Series

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Rosemont Market & Bakery, Cultivating Community and Maine College of Art are working together on a food film series. The films will be screened on Sundays at 4pm at MECA in Osher Hall. Here’s the line-up:

This Week’s Events: R. Stuart Dinner, Brew Pub Cap, Brewers wo/ Borders, Natural Wine Tastings

Monday, January 26th, 2015

bwbWednesday — Outliers is serving a 5-course dinner featuring Willamette Valley wines with special guest Rob Stuart from from R. Stuart Wines.

Thursday — The Farm Stand is holding natural wine tasting , Rosemont is also holding a wine tasting, there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, the Bier Cellar is hosting an Allagash tasting, and the 16th annual Brew Pub Cup is taking place.

Friday — Novare Res is holding a Brewers Without Borders event to raise funds for the Hof ten Dormaal brewery is Belgium that was recently damaged by a fire,  and The Farm Stand is holding another wine tasting.

Saturday —  Maine & Loire is holding their first wine tasting, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Valentine’s Day — restaurants have started announcing their plans for Valentine’s Day. I’ll be adding to this list and reposting it on a weekly basis now through then.

  • Congress Squared, special menu served on both the 13th and 14th.
  • David’s Opus Ten, 9-course dinner for 2 with wine pairings for $150
  • Five Fifty-Five, 4-course dinner for $75 per person; with optional pairings and supplements.
  • Novare Res is teaming up with La Crème Chocolat to serve beer and chocolate pairings on the 13th and 14th.
  • Petite Jacqueline, 3-course menu for $65 per person; optional wine pairings available.
  • Piccolo, 5-course dinner and a glass of rose prosecco, $75 per person; optional wine pairings available.
  • Rising Tide, on the 13th Rising Tide Brewing will be releasing Nuit D’Hiver, a “limited rum barrel aged version of D’Hiver, our dark rye saison with winter spices and sweet orange peel” along with D’Hiver, 2013 Cellared D’Hiver, Nuit D’Hiver on tap and chocolates truffles from La Crème Chocolat.
  • Vinland has a number of options including a 10-course dinner for 4 for $300.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Scallop Divers

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Today’s issue of the Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Maine’s diver scallop fishermen.

“I’ve been caught in currents and dragged,” said Brian Preney, 55, a diver out of Boothbay who is a member of the Urchin Advisory Council and has been fishing with scuba gear since 1980. He learned how to dive at Colby College, in the pool, and married into a family of fishermen. Fishing for urchins, which generally don’t take a diver below 30 feet, is like “picking cotton” in comparison to the more exciting pursuit of scallops, which have the power to dart away, fast. “I liken scalloping more to hunting.”

The Salt: Brewers Gone Wild

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

NPR’s blog The Salt has posted an article about Allagash and wild fermented beers.

The team at Allagash has been experimenting with Brett and other “nontraditional brewing microbes” (for making wild and sour beers) for about a dozen years. The first time the brewers discovered that an ambient strain of local, wild Brett had contaminated a barrel of beer, “we panicked!” Perkins recalls. “We learned quickly that the character was very unique.” So they isolated it, cultured it and created a small but ambitious wild beer program that puts Brett on center stage.

Review of Ebb & Flow

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Ebb & Flow.

If looks could kill, Ebb & Flow would be slaying customers in the Old Port. The dining room is attractive, the presentation colorful and the tableware sparkling and elegant. But three months after opening, the Mediterranean-inspired cooking here remains uneven. Play to the kitchen’s strengths and order a selection of mezze (small dishes) served with the outstanding house-made pita. Or go for dessert and share a plate of sugary galaktoboureko, the chef’s lighter version of a traditional custard-and-phyllo confection that tastes like food for the (Greek) gods.