A multimillion-dollar food distribution network is expanding in Maine to meet the needs of more than 200,000 residents who otherwise would be hungry, a condition that’s worsening despite an overall improving economy.
Archive for the ‘General News’ Category
Eater Maine announced earlier today that, effective immediately, they plan discontinue their coverage of Maine food news on the site. Editor Adam Callaghan is moving to Washington State take on responsibility for Eater Seattle.
As of today, Eater Maine will discontinue the food and restaurant world coverage that’s been our modus operandi since 2012. As editor, I’m sad to see the site go. It’s been a distinct pleasure for me to play a role in Maine’s growing food scene, which changed so drastically from when I was growing up here to when I returned as an adult five years ago. Come Monday, the site will deliver periodic updates to important maps, but no daily food news. Eater.com and Eater Boston will continue on as news resources for northeastern food culture.
The Press Herald reports that Portland zoning on Industrial Way currently blocks breweries from selling pretzels and other packaged snacks with their beer.
A city zoning administrator has denied the Allagash Brewing Co.’s request to sell prepackaged snacks – such as chips, popcorn and trail mix – to beer tasters at the company’s brewery on Industrial Way, an area that has become a hotbed for beer enthusiasts who flock to its cluster of breweries to sample and buy fresh beer and ale. An Allagash representative will appear Thursday before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to try to have the ruling overturned.
“We’re not trying to expand our business,” said Jill Perry, Allagash’s retail manager. “We’re just trying to be responsible purveyors of alcohol.”
This week’s Portland Phoenix explores the absence of dress codes at Portland restaurants.
While big cities like New York or Chicago still maintain a few restaurants with dress codes, even Portland’s finest establishments take a relaxed attitude toward customer appearance. Is the dining scene here too casual?
I’ve scanned through the records for the past year and here’s my summary of the key events and trends. Perhaps I’ve just gotten acclimated to the pace, but 2015 seemed a touch less fast paced than 2014 0r 2013 had been.
- Best New Restaurant – The Honey Paw is a shear pleasure to dine at. The excellent food crafted by a chefs who are clearly passionate about what they do, warm hospitality provided by the friendly professional staff and high energy beautiful space make it easy to select The Honey Paw as the best new restaurant of 2015.
- Breweries/Distilleries – The brewing and distilling industries are a growing and vital part of the Portland area food community. The city is home to 13 breweries, 3 distilleries. More are on their way. Fore River Brewing, Mast Landing Brewing, Gruit, Foulmouthed Brewing, Second Pint Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing are all under development as are Hardshore Distilling, Stroudwater Spirits and a tasting room for the Mid-coast’s Cellardoor Winery. Insert your favorite Neal Dow rolling in his grave reference here as it’s joyously well justified.
- Washington Ave – The little in-town stretch of Washington Ave had been a bit of a backwater for many years. All that changed in 2015. Oxbow, Maine & Loire, Terlingua, Roustabout all opened. A Lively Palate, the Drifter’s Wife, a honey production facility and Hardshore Distillery are under construction and other projects are in earlier stages of development. Nearby on Congress Street Lee Farrington is opening LB Kitchen and down the hill in East Bayside I expect we’ll see continued businesses development including Lone Pine Brewing and perhaps a restaurant on the first floor of the new building on the corner of Anderson and Fox.
- The Suburbs – restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs aren’t limiting their horizons to the Portland peninsula. As good locations in town become more scarce and their rental rates go up there’s been a renewed interest in the outer neighborhoods of Portland and the suburbs:
- Mitchell Kaldrovitch opened MK Kitchen in Gorham
- In Westbrook Catbird Creamery reopened, Northspore and Rosen’s moved in and Mast Landing Brewing is under development
- Custom Deluxe, Biscuit & Co, Round Turn Distilling and Portland Pie joined the Palace Diner, Elements and Rabelais Books in Biddeford.
- Fore River Brewing and Foulmouthed Brewing choose to locate in South Portland.
- Scarborough has provided a home for El Rayo, Casco Bay Butter and On the Vine Market.
- The development of Thompson Point has resulted in a flurry of announcements including a tasting room for Cellardoor, Stroudwater Spirits, The Point, The Rink and at least 2 more new businesses are expected to announce plans for Thompson’s Point in 2016.
- I think the upcoming opening of Woodford Food & Beverage is just the first of many new restaurants we’ll see open on that stretch of outer Forest Ave in the next few years.
- Upcoming in 2016 – The pace of new restaurant and bar projects looks likely to continue in 2016 unabated. 30+ new ventures are already being tracked on the PFM Under Construction list and I’m aware of several other ventures in earlier stages of development. The ones I’m most looking forward to in 2016 are:
- The Purple House – Krista Kern Desjarlais’ wood-fired bakery and cafe in North Yarmouth.
- Scales – Sam Hayward and Dana Street’s new waterfront 145-seat “American brasserie”.
- Rhum – a tiki bar being launched by Jason Loring and Michael Fraser with the strong team of chef Frank Anderson, front of house manager Rebecca Ambrosi and bar manager Sam Babcock.
- Drifter’s Wife – the new natural wine bar being constructed by Maine & Loire in the front half of their retail space on Washington Ave.
- Woodford F&B – a neighborhood restaurant under development in Woodford Square.
Notable Events of 2015
- January – Draft magazine named Novare Res to their list of America’s Best Beer Bars, Kate McCarty and Lora Burns founded the Portland Spirits Society, New England Distilling began barrel aging their first batch of bourbon, David Levi served a dinner at the James Beard House, In’finiti was renamed Liquid Riot Bottling Company, Maine Craft Distilling released a barrel-aged gin called Sprigge, Snowmageddon happened, Tiqa and The Treehouse opened, and Full Belly Deli closed after 28 years in business.
- February – 10 Maine semi-finalists were announced for the 2015 Beard awards, Duckfat and The Cheese Iron were on the Men’s Journal list of 50 Best Sandwiches in America, the PSO collaborated with Hunt & Alpine to launch Symphony & Spirits series, Vignola/Cinque Terre won the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off, Pete Sultenfuss opened the Other Side Delicatessen, and Sangillo’s closed after 62 years in business.
- March – Vinland hosted a Mothers & Thieves pop-up, 4 Maine nominees were announced for the 2015 James Beard Awards, the Maine Sunday Telegram published an update on the city’s restaurant inspection program, the Edible Book Contest took place, East Ender, Isa, Home Catering and The Sinful Kitchen opened, and Tony’s Donuts closed their South Portland store and announced plans to expand their operation on Bolton Street.
- April – chefs Damian Sansonetti and Chris Gould were nominees in the Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef competition, Allagash was featured in a Wired magazine article about wild fermented beer, we learned about the history of Rockin’ Ricky’s Tavern, chefs from Emilitsa, Central Provisions and Piccolo competed in the Boston Lamb Jam, Andrew Zimmern included Salvage in his list of top barbecue spots in the country, the city updated rules on sidewalk dining, the Bangor Daily News reported on Maine’s growing local grain industry, and Wing Lee II and The Honey Paw opened, and Tawakal Halal, Arabian Days, Discount Halal and Taqueria Tequila closed.
- May – chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier cancelled plans to open a restaurant in Portland, PFM won the Best Blog and Best Food Blog categories in the Portland Phoenix readership poll, Tandem Bakery was featured in the May issue of Bon Appétit, Hugo’s, Miyake, Eventide and Central Provisions are included on the Opinionated About Dining list of the 200 Best Restaurants in the US, Standard Baking celebrates their 20th anniversary, Neil Spillane and Eric Holstein shared their plans for the Forq Food Lab, and Milly’s Skillet, Sea Snacks, Rosen’s Deli, Catbird Creamery, Lois’ Marketplace, the West End Rosemont and the newly renovated Bard Coffee open.
- June – Bite into Maine competed in the Lobster Roll Rumble, the 2nd Annual Rum Riots took place, Tandem hosted a Pies-n-Thighs pop-up, Allagash celebrated their 20th anniversary, a team started work on Portland’s UNESCO Creative Cities application, Ramen Suzukiya, Lincolns, Evo, Portland Patisserie, Tempo Dulu, Abilene, Joy’s Crepe Cafe, Terlingua and Figgy’s opened, the Mami food truck and both the Yellow Cart and High Roller food cart launched.
- July – Kate McCarty published Distilled in Maine, Central Provisions (30), Eventide (32) and Caiola’s (97) made it onto the OAD Frsh List, the namesake of Fresh Samanthas has launched the Sam Lives! line of juices, a study found that 58% of tourists come to Maine for food and drink, Honey Paw collaborated with Kaki Lima on an Indonesian dinner, the new Soakology, Old Port Slice Bar, Pockets and Yogurt Valley opened, Portersfield Cider began selling at the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market, and mobile food ventures, Morsel’s, Snappy’s, BP’s Shuck Shack and Brûlée Bike launched.
- August – Maine cheesemakers took home 10 awards from this year’s American Cheese Society competition, Krista Kern Desjarlais announced her plans to open The Purple House, East Ender and Tandem made it on to the BA list of 50 best new restaurants, Central Provisions served an Outstanding in the Field dinner, chef Yana Gilbuena served a Filipino pop-up dinner, Rising Tide released of Mockingfish, Green Elephant opened a 2nd location in Portsmouth, and the owners of Otto Pizza opened Ocho Burrito.
- September – Chef Masa Miyake along with Lauren Fensterstock and Aaron Stephan staged Inside Outside Above Below, Bowdoin acquired The Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, the Sunday Telegram published an article on the shortage of qualified cooks in Maine, Gather published a guide to Portland, Vivian’s Drive-In changed hands, Cantillon Zwanze Day took place, Le Petit Thé food cart launched, 953 Congress Street and the new Riverton Taco Trio opened, and El Rayo, Mama’s CrowBar and GoBerry closed.
- October – Maine author and farmer Eliot Coleman was the recipient of a James Beard Leadership Award, the Court of Master Sommeliers taught the Introductory Sommelier course in Portland, the 2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting took place, Rouge Tomate held a pop-up dinner at Vinland, Imbibe published a feature article on Portland, PFM published a report on the James Beard’s visit to Portland in 1964, Harvard produced a study on the Maine food industry, Matt Ginn from Evo was named the Lobster Chef of the Year, Chez Okapi opened.
- November – Piccolo served a dinner at the Beard House, 8 Maine food producers became finalists for the 2016 Good Food Awards, the 2015 edition of Portland Beer Week took place, Draft magazine included Mockingfish from Rising Tide and Beer II from MBC for their list top 25 beers of 2015, Fore River Brewing received license approval for their South Portland brewery, Brittany Feltovic won the barista latte art competition, the IFEC held their annual meeting in Portland, 5 women chefs prepared the Fabulous Femmes dinner at Flanagan’s Table, chef Mike Smith was hired as the chef de cuisine at Scales, Mast Landing announced plans to open in Westbrook, Peter Zinn sold Po’ Boys to Chris Beterra, Eater roving restaurant critic Bill Addison reported on his visit to Portland, and Roustabout, Tomaso’s and Veranda Noodle House opened.
- December – Hunt & Alpine served a dinner at Beard House, Urban Sugar successfully completed at $25,000 kickstarter campaign, Joe’s Smoke Shop closed pending construction of a new building, the Winter Farmers’ Market opened at a new location in East Bayside, Fore Street was included in the La Liste ranking of the top 1,000 restaurants in the world, Star Chefs named the Jakarta at Tempo Dulu on of the Top 5 Cocktails of 2015, SmartAssset declared Portland the best beer city in the US, and Eric Desjarlais opened Intervale Mercantile Company.
Top 10 Articles
- Other Side Delicatessen – first word on Pete Sultenfuss’ plans to open the Other Side Delicatessen (January 5)
- Woodfords F&B – details on Woodford menu and floor plan (July 17)
- Taco Trio in Riverton – first word on Taco Trio’s plans to open a 2nd location (June 8)
- The Honey Paw – opening of Honey Paw (April 15)
- Roustabout – first word on Roustabout (May 15)
- Snowmageddon – the PFM round-up of eateries open during Snowmageddon (January 17)
- Maine & Loire – opening announcement for Maine & Loire (January 5)
- Rosen’s in Westbrook – initial report on Rosen’s Deli plans to open in Westbrook (April 13)
- Chez Okapi – announcement that Congolese restaurant Chez Okapi is open (October 5)
- Petite Jacqueline – report that Petite Jacqueline is moving (July 25)
Top 25 Restaurants
- Isa (-)
- The Honey Paw (-)
- Terlingua (-)
- Sur Lie (21)
- Tiqa (-)
- Bao Bao Dumpling House (8)
- East Ender (18)
- Union (-)
- Evo (-)
- Ebb & Flow (37)
- Abilene (-)
- Tempo Dulu (-)
- The Treehouse (-)
- Central Provisions (1)
- Five Fifty-Five (17)
- Empire Chinese Kitchen (5)
- Piccolo (14)
- Lolita (6)
- Outliers Eatery (7)
- Petite Jacqueline (22)
- Back Bay Grill (10)
- ArtemisiaCafe (42)
- Walter’s (35)
- Figgy’s (-)
- Caiola’s (11)
The numbers in parentheses indicate their rank last year. The order of the list is determined by the number of times these restaurants were looked up on PFM during the year.
- Stanford Brown, 95 – a Yarmouth beekeeper who ran Brown’s Bee Farm.
- Edward R. Anania, 80 – co-founder of Anania’s Variety.
- Peter E. Anania, 85 – co-founder of Anania’s Variety.
- Ben Alfiero, 59 – co-owner of Harbor Fish Market.
- Andrew Regios, 58 – co-owner of Pizza Villa.
- Marya Baron – author of Accidental Vegetables.
- Edward Reilly, 93 – longtime owner of Reilly’s Bakery in Biddeford.
- Richard M. Rogers, 73 – founder of The Rogers Collection.
- Paul Trusiani, 81 – founder of Paul’s Food Center in 1975.
- Anthony J. Napolitano, 79 – founder Maria’s Ristorante in 1960.
- Mary Profenno, 78 – co-founder Profenno’s Pizzeria in Westbrook in 1962.
The Press Herald has published a report on the fast pace of business development on Washington Ave.
In just the past year, two new restaurants have opened, as well as a beer tasting room and a wine shop. Other projects are in the works: a wine bar, a distillery, a wholesale honey production facility, and a cafe and chocolatier. Still in the rumor mill: a new juice bar and another restaurant.
The Bangor Daily News has published an article on the SMCC Culinary Arts program.
It’s finals week at Southern Maine Community College, and students in the culinary arts kitchen are busy fricasseeing fresh rabbit harvested from Unity.
In the dining room, members of the public dig into a multicourse lunch, draining bowls of honey crisp apple and vidalia sweet onion soup. The impressive menu indicates that cider from Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner and apples from Cornish combine forces for the powerful dish.
Today’s Press Herald reports on the recent social media smear campaign of several beer and wine retailers, and controversy over its origins.
On Thursday, a few profiles left one-star reviews on the pages of local retailers such as Bier Cellar, RSVP Discount Beverage, Rosemont Market and Bakery, Craft Beer Cellar and Old Port Wine Merchant. Dozens of other one-star reviews have been posted since, leading to arguments about the reviews and who is responsible for them.
The ruckus has erupted into a social media back-and-forth among the retailers, and highlights the importance of online reputations while offering a cautionary tale for businesses that hire contractors to manage their social media presence.
An article in this month’s issue of Dispatch examines the challenges new owners face when taking over an existing restaurant–putting in place their vision while trying to retain an established customer base. Specifically the article looks at the purchase of Steve & Renees Diner and the conversion of Quatrucci’s to Other Side Deli.
Two people would come in and sit at a table for six, drink a pot of coffee over the course of an hour, and leave without ordering food. This is their preferred method of protest.”
Such is how Josh Bankhead, who owns and operates Hella Good Tacos in Portland with his wife Melissa, describes the war waged on them by estranged patrons, mostly senior citizens, upon their purchase of the venerable Portland institution, Steve & Renee’s Diner.
Hugo’s, Eventide and The Honey Paw are partnering with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital program You Dine, We Donate to raise $10,000 during the month of December.
5% of each check at the three restaurants will be donated to the hospital. Arlin Smith, Mike Smith, and Andrew Taylor, owners of Big Tree Hospitality Group, “will contribute a minimum of $10,000”.
Restaurant co-owners Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith and Mike Wiley feel strongly about partnering about You Dine. We Donate. because they know how important the BBCH is to their local community. Taylor says, “My oldest son was a patient at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital as an infant and the warmth and incredible care meant so much to my wife and I during a difficult time. This is such a great opportunity for us to give back.”
Co-owner Smith says the partnership was a no-brainer. “We have children. Our employees have children. We feel good about supporting such an important institution in our community.” As a non-profit hospital, the BBCH relies on community support to provide world-class healthcare to all children, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
The Times Union has published an article about the state’s Hunters for the Hungry program, which provides a way for hunters to donate to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries.
It’s a cool fall morning outside a red brick warehouse in Maine’s largest city, and Don Morrison is facing a tall order. It’s time to turn 40 pounds of moose and deer meat into enough shepherd’s pie to feed 200 people by sundown.
Morrison, manager of the Portland anti-hunger group Wayside Food Programs, is happy to do it, in part, because of the source of the meat. Tonight’s dinner was acquired through Hunters for the Hungry, a state-run program that allows hunters to donate their game. It has grown exponentially in recent years.
For more information, visit this page on the state’s website.
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram explores why it isn’t legal to sell wild game.
…All these local foods are fair game for the innovative local chef who relishes the concept of terroir – the French term for the distinct flavors of the environment foods grows in…But not local wild game, which can’t be sold commercially in the United States. It was regulated out of the retail market so long ago that even some food professionals don’t know why they’re not allowed to serve it.
Retiring Food & Wine editor Dana Cowin named a dinner at The Lost Kitchen this summer as one of her Favorite Meals of 2015.
The new issue of Bon Appétit calls out Maine & Loire as an exemplar of what a good wine shop should be, “a small, focused shop with a staff who has probably tasted most of what they’re selling and who genuinely want you to find something great—in your budget.”
The Press Herald reports that turkeys remain plentiful this year.
Despite concerns about a shortage and soaring prices, Maine’s larger grocery stores say that avian influenza did not affect their turkey supplies or retail prices.
Urban Sugar Donuts has launched a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign. Owner Kevin Sandes plans to use the funds to complete to “properly outfit” the new Urban Sugar store at Sugar Loaf, and to pay for new equipment and repairs to the USC food truck “Miss Rosie” so it can be back on the streets of Portland.