Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

No Tipping: What Do Servers Think?

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

The Press Herald has interviewed several Portland areas servers to get their thoughts on working at a restaurant that eliminates tipping.

No tips? No thanks.

That’s what some Portland-area servers had to say about the new no-tipping policy that will start Dec. 1 at Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland and Tao Yuan in Brunswick. Others said they were skeptical, but would be willing to give the new policy a try.

Stadlers to Eliminate Tipping at Bao Bao & Tao Yuan

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Cara and Cecile Stadler have announced plans eliminate tipping at Bao Bao and Tao Yuan as of December 1st. The restaurants will add a service charge to the bill that is “a percentage of the pre-tax amount a consumer spends while dining.” According to the press release, the “service charge will allow for an increase in pay for all kitchen employees as well as each restaurants management team. Positions that were once before a, ‘tipped’ position will now be paid hourly.”

It goes on to explain,

With the implementation of this system the wage inequality that currently exists between what is referred to as the, “back of the house,”(kitchen) and the, “front of the house,” (tipped employees) will be drastically reduced at first, with the goal to have pay be equal across the board. It will provide a steady year round income for all restaurant employees. The no-tip system will also allow for numerous benefits to employees, including healthcare, vacation time, and parental leave. With these benefits, Cara also plans to invest significantly in her employees through extra curricular experiences, bonus incentives and educational offerings. “We want to invest in people that want to invest in our company for the long term,” says Cara Stadler, “this system just makes sense.”

The Stadler’s new restaurant Lio will also be tip-free when it opens next year.

Update: the Press Herald has published a front page story about this upcoming change at Bao Bao and Tao Yuan.

Beard Awards: Open Call

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

JBF_AWARDS_MEDALLION-BLOGIs there an outstanding chef or restaurant you think should be considered for a James Beard Award in 2017?

Every year the Beard Foundation receives tens of thousands of recommendations from the public as part of the process to select the 20 semi-finalists in each category.

Fill out this form to send in your favorites for consideration.

Signature Dishes & Maine Almond Milk

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald talks with chefs about those dishes on the menu that are so popular that they take on a life of their own and can’t be removed from the menu.

Does Bruce Springsteen ever get sick of singing “Born to Run?” Does Michael Phelps ever tire of swimming the butterfly? How many times have fans asked Robert De Niro, “You talkin’ to me?” Chefs also have their greatest hits, in the form of dishes their customers just can’t say goodbye to. Chefs are a creative bunch, and it may pain them to serve an unchallenging dish they could make with their eyes closed. But sometimes they have to because the public clamors for it.

and an article about the options for Maine made plant-based milks.

Mainers like me who drink plant-based milks now have three locally made options. Two startup almond milk makers have set up shop in Portland, and the state’s Rockport-based tofu maker is relaunching its bottled soy milk. Another such enterprise, from Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy, has been suspended, but the company has expressed interest in getting back into the market.

Restaurants Against the Minimum Wage Increase

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

The Bangor Daily News has published a list of Maine restaurants that have donated money to the campaign to defeat Question #4 which would raise the minimum wage, including the hourly rate for tipped employees.


Dutch’s Liquor License

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Dutch’s has applied for a liquor license. Owners Ian and Lucy Dutch opened the breakfast and lunch cafe close to 2 years ago. In May they were featured in a Bon Appétit article about Portland,

At Dutch’s, they bake their own pastries, biscuits, and breads, then use them to create indulgent, hangover-killing sandwiches. Go for the fried chicken one, which melds crunchy thigh meat with a flaky biscuit and peppery Southern sausage gravy. And don’t skip the hash browns—cubed and fried to crispy perfection—best enjoyed at a retro table with kitschy Maine murals behind you. Now you’re in Vacationland.

The Dutchs plan to serve beer, wine and “a few popular brunch drinks”.

Food Production Designation

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The Commerce department has renewed the Portland areas designation as a Manufacturing Communities for Food Production. Greater Portland is just one of 24 manufacturing communities of any type in the nation.

Here’s a link to the full press release.

Business Insider: Portland Guide

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Business Insider has posted a travel guide to Portland.

The article mentions Allagash, Central Provisions, Fore Street, Liquid Riot, The Blue Rooster, The Holy Donut, The Porthole.

Voting Begun for the 2016 Indie Biz Awards

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

indiebizThe ballot is now online for this year’s Indie Biz Awards. This is the 9th year that Buy Local has run the awards program which celebrates outstanding independent Portland businesses.

Many restaurants and food businesses are nominees: Local Sprouts, Vinland, Casco Bay Organics, Woodford F&B, Aurora Provisions, Asmara, Thanh Thanh 2, Treehouse, Lincolns, Rhum, Sister’s Gourmet Deli, The Holy Donut, Gritty’s, Bayside Bowl, Portland Food Coop, and the Farmers’ Market.

Visit the Buy Local website to vote for your favorites.

Certine Flatware

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a feature article about Certine, a new ceramic flatware launched by former Opus Ten server David Muse with Bill Todd and Rachel Rodrigues in June.

“At this point,” he said, “this product is for the type of people who make dinner reservations before they make hotel reservations, because if you don’t get the dinner reservations you’re probably not going to that town. It’s for people who go to buy foodstuffs three or four times a week as opposed to one time a week. It’s for the kind of people who take more pictures of their food than they do their children or their pets. It’s ultimately for the kind of people who are thinking about genuine interaction with their food.”

Fork Food Lab, Feeding the 5000

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Today’s Press Herald includes articles on Fork Food Lab,

The $1.5 million food lab is the creation of Neil Spillane and Eric Holstein, two young entrepreneurs who hope their project will help propel both Maine’s food economy and the dreams of local entrepreneurs who want to scale up their businesses and see their pies, sauces, sports drinks and puddings on every table.

and the Feeding the 5,000 event.

On Oct. 7, the coalition of groups plans to serve thousands of bowls of free hearty stew to the general public in an event called Feeding the 5,000. Some 2,500 bowls will be dished up in Monument Square in Portland, with the remainder going to schools, local companies and hunger prevention programs that serve people who rely on donated food for their meals.

Food Strategy Framework Released

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Maine Food Strategy Framework report has been released, according to a report from the Press Herald.

“What is being presented in this document is a set of goals, and in those goals there are a set of underlying ‘how do we get theres,’ ” [Joshua Stoll, founder of] said. “That’s the piece that’s really exciting. This creates a blueprint for moving these ideas forward that people from all over Maine have been thinking about.”

Interested to learn more? Read the full report.

Oral History of the Lobster Roll

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

imageThe new issue of Down East magazine features an extensive “Oral History of the Lobster Roll”. The article talks with “dozens of chefs, food stand owners, magazine editors, historians, and big-city entrepreneurs who witnessed (and helped fuel) one of our favorite morsels”.

the path from its “relative obscurity” in the early 20th century to current stature makes for an interesting read.

The article isn’t online yet but the magazine should be appearing on newsstands shortly.

Tiqa Cafe & Food Trucks

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

The new issue of Portland Magazine includes an article on some of the newer food trucks in town,

The mobile food craze that has spread like wildfire through every major city in the world hit Portland in 2012, or maybe we just finally ran out of building space for more restaurants. We meet the people behind the wheel of Portland’s most dynamic and diverse food scene.

and an article on rebirth of the Deering Oaks castle as Tiqa Cafe.

The fanciful stone Castle in Deering Oaks Park is being invaded by hungry marauding hordes this summer, after many years in the wilderness. Standing sentry by the pond in Portland’s crown jewel public park, TIQA Café houses seating for 20 indoors, with outdoor seating for over 80. Distractions such as bocce ball, horse shoes, bean-bag toss, chess tables, and live music adorn The Castle’s new reign.

Changes to the SMCC Culinary Program

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on big changes to the Culinary Arts program at SMCC to address falling enrollment and other issues.

Culinary students entering Southern Maine Community College this fall will choose from a different menu of coursework and lecturers as the school’s culinary arts and hospitality management departments undergo major restructuring. Those changes include a new and unusual arrangement in which the college will share resources with the University of Southern Maine’s tourism and hospitality program.