Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Caiola’s Sale Completed

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016


Caiola’s co-founders Abby Harmon and Lisa Vaccaro completed the sale of their restaurant Thursday night to chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez, co-owners of Piccolo.

Harmon and Vaccaro opened Caiola’s nearly 11 years ago, in that time it’s become a well-loved West End destination. They’re immediate plans after the sale call for some much deserved time off.

Lopez and Sansonetti don’t plan to make any dramatic changes to Caiola’s in the near term. The restaurant will be closed Sunday though Tuesday to provide the staff with time off over the holiday weekend and re-opening on Wednesday.

As a West End resident, I  am very happy to have Damian and Ilma running restaurant in my neighborhood, and look forward to seeing how they evolve it over the coming years.

Restaurant Work

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

This week’s issue of the Portland Phoenix includes an article on the challenges of restaurant work and the strategies owners use to find good team members,

Anyone that’s even spent a modicum of time working in the local restaurant industry, knows that it’s hard, sweaty, anxiety inducing work. It’s partly the reason why, despite Portland’s high density of four- and five-star restaurants (Portland’s got 395 eateries that brought in about 326 million dollars in revenue last year) and stellar foodie reputation, there’s a shortage of experienced, enthusiastic line cooks.

and an article about eateries in/near parks.

Public parks and food don’t always mix. Food carts and trucks can face special permitting issues, and predictability of traffic doesn’t always justify a food cart or truck near a public space. But the entry of TIQA Cafe & Bakery into the Castle in Deering Oaks Park — now open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk — could challenge this narrative.

Red’s Strawberry Soft-Serve

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

The Forecaster has published a report on the long running annual collaboration between Red’s and Maxwell to produce strawberry soft-serve.

Red’s Dairy Freeze in South Portland has been making soft-serve ice cream with strawberries from Maxwell’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth since the late 1980s. The limited-edition treat is only available for a few days a year.

Fork Food Lab Kickstarter

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Fork Food Lab (website, facebook, instagram) has launched a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign. The funds will be used to pay for the Lab’s tasting room.

Education is at our core where we’ll develop a variety of programming from tastings to lectures to cooking classes. Our dream is to become a real destination within Portland, Maine. With the Tasting Room, we can support small farmers, drive awareness to our members’ businesses, and celebrate the local food movement.

NY Times on The Honey Paw

Friday, May 27th, 2016

The New York Times has published an article about The Honey Paw.

The original premise, of a global noodle-centric spot, has given way to a focus on Asian flavors, but with culinary techniques borrowed from across the world. The chef de cuisine, Thomas Pisha-Duffly, is of Chinese and Irish descent, with roots in Indonesia and Massachusetts. All of that is reflected in the changing menu at the Honey Paw, where shrimp toast, a dim sum standard, has morphed into a lobster-and-scallop mousse tartine. “That was one of the first dishes that we conceptualized for the space,” Mr. Pisha-Duffly said. “It kind of epitomizes the way we think of cuisine.”

Maine Chef Shortage

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the shortage of experienced chefs in Maine.

Owners of clam huts on the water and James Beard-winning spots in Maine’s foodiest city alike are straining to find cooks for the summer surge.

Dispatch: Cheap Eats, Prison Food

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

The May issue Dispatch asks whether it’s still possible to eat cheaply in Portland

But can it still be done? Sure, but you’ve got to dig deeper, pick your spots. We gathered 10 options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner where you can still get a delicious, super-filling meal on the cheap. (And tossed in five happy hours for good snacking measure.) Yeah, it’s always possible to grab a slice or cave for some goopy fast-food bomb, but there are better, more authentically Portland options out there. Dive in.

and pays a visit to the Cumberland County Jail.

I show up at the Cumberland County Jail at 4 a.m. on what is most certainly the darkest, coldest January morning of the year — registering at -8 degrees. I’m here to meet Richard St. Onge, manager of food services, as his shift begins.

Unlike the vast majority of correctional facilities in the US, the kitchen here hasn’t farmed out inmate meals to a large company like Aramark. It still maintains its own independent program, and I wanted to find out more about what that mammoth task must be like.

Best Lobster Roll

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Bite Into Maine and Eventide are in the running in the USA Today readers’ choice competition for Best Lobster Roll.

Visit the USA Today site to cast your vote.

Best of Portland Readership Poll

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has selected the nominees and voting has begun for the 2016 Best of Portland readership poll.

There are 50+ Food and Drink categories ranging from bagels and barbecue to wine tastings and wings for you to  vote in plus categories for City Life, Arts & Entertainment, Shopping and Services.

Portland Food Map is a nominee for Best Food Blog/Column (along with 207 Foodie and Eat & Run) and for Best Blog (along with Active Beer Geek, Black Girl in Maine, Eating Portland Alive and Hot Trash Portland).

2 Perspectives on Minimum Wage Referendum

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

The Press Herald has provided space on their op/ed page for both Five Fifty-Five co-owner, Michelle Corry, and a server at the restaurant, Heather McIntosh, to share their perspectives on the referendum to increase the state’s minimum wage.

The paper also followed up yesterday to interview them others about the opposing views on the issue,

The debate over the tipped minimum wage has restaurant workers and their employers – in some restaurants, anyway – talking about more than plating sauces and table turnover, especially when they are at odds with one another. The initiative would gradually increase the minimum wage paid to tip earners from $3.75 to $5 per hour in 2017, then add a dollar a year until tipped employees make the same minimum wage as other workers. That means by 2024, they would be earning $12 an hour.

Maine Restaurant Week Participation

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

An article in the Bangor Daily News explores why fewer restaurants outside the immediate area of Portland participate in Maine Restaurant Week.

With only two Bangor restaurants participating versus 40 in Portland, it begs the question: if this really is Maine Restaurant Week, why weren’t more restaurants north of Portland involved this year?



What Not to Do

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Dispatch magazine has published on What Not to Do When Opening a Restaurant,

The restaurant business is one of the riskiest ventures around, especially in a city like Portland that has reached the saturation point. I’ve worked in them my whole life, and have seen a lot of failures as well as success stories. But don’t rely on my advice alone — I’ve rounded up local food scene veterans to add their two cents.

2016 Best of Portland Readership Poll

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

The Portland Phoenix has kicked-off their 2016 Best of Portland readership poll. The Phoenix uses a 2 step process:

  • Step 1, nominate the entries that you feel are the strongest candidate for each category.
  • Step 2, in April the Phoenix will publish a ballot with the top 5 nominees in each category and the final voting takes place.

There are 50+ food and drink categories ranging from bagels and barbecue to wine tastings and wings—there’s even one for Best Food Blog/Column.

Harvest on the Harbor Sold

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

The Press Herald reports the Harvest on the Harbor conference has been sold.

The buyers are Stefanie Manning and Gabrielle Garofalo, partners in Portland-based S&G LLC.

Manning is the vice president of marketing and circulation at MaineToday Media and Garofalo owns Gabrielle Garofalo Inc. Consulting & Creative Energy in New York City, where she has worked on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards and New York Magazine’s annual Taste of New York culinary event.

Brew Bus Expands to Boston

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

The Maine Brew Bus has announced plans to expand into the Boston market.

In the Greater Boston area there are dozens of small and medium breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Many of these businesses are brand new or not even open yet, and they do not currently have visits from any tour operators.

Over the past three years we have been refining our business with an eye towards offering our popular style of tours in other areas. And Boston is a logical next market for us.