Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Diesel to Dining Room & Fettle Vegan

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Today’s Press Herald includes a feature story about Maine food trucks that are making the transition into a traditional restaurant or adding a brick and mortar venue to their business plans.

So it was a no-brainer that when he and his wife, Jenna Friedman, decided to open a food truck in Portland, they settled on serving Middle Eastern food. CN Shawarma, which advertised its food as “Arabian BBQ on wheels” when it debuted in June 2014, proved so popular that the developers building the new apartment complex at the corner of Anderson and Fox streets in East Bayside approached the couple and asked if they would be interested in opening a restaurant in the building.

The Food & Dining section also reports on Maine native Amber St. Peter who has a career as a vegan food writer from her home base in LA..

Fettle Vegan is now known for both, as well as being on-trend in terms of both ingredients (think jackfruit, cauliflower and chickpeas) and dishes (fig + almond chia oat pudding; San Pedro style fish-less market tray; and shredded kale and Brussels sprouts salad).

Boston Globe: Expanding Maine Food Scene

Friday, January 6th, 2017

The Boston Globe has published a report entitled “Maine’s hot food scene spreads beyond Portland“.

But when it came to innovative cooking using locally-sourced ingredients in a cozy setting, Maine’s pickings were slim, save for what’s going on in Portland, which became a progressive food mecca several years ago.

Thus, on a recent jaunt to Maine, I was thrilled to discover a slew of fabulous restaurants up and down the coast.

Home Catering Eliminate Retail Shop

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Home Catering Company announced plans, effective immediately, to close down the retail  shop portion of their business.

Due to the extreme high volume of outside catering & events, we are closing the retail portion of the business effective today. We are still taking all orders and inquiries for luncheons, events, parties, private chef jobs and weddings.

No Tip Restaurants Find Alternate Path

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram reports that due to an “obscure law” restaurants that have chosen to eliminate tipping are having to do so by raising the prices directly rather than adding a service fee.

At the heart of the matter is a state law that allows service charges in lieu of tips, but only at private clubs or banquet facilities. For all other establishments, service charges cannot be collected, pooled and divided up among staff as is allowed in other states.

Year in Review: Drifters Wife, Upcoming Restaurants, Most Popular Restaurants & Articles, Obituaries

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

I’ve scanned through the records for the past year and here’s a summary of events and trends for 2016:

  • Best New Restaurant – 2016 saw the opening of a number of strong new restaurants. However, it’s an easy decision to call out Drifters Wife as the best new restaurant of 2016. On all accounts, food, service and atmosphere they’ve been outstanding and brought something new to Portland. Bon Appétit named Drifters one of the best new restaurants in the nation, the Press Herald selected them as the best restaurant of 2016 and Ed Behr, editor of Art of Eating, wrote a review in the Financial Times concludes with “For a meal, snack or just to drink wine in a low-key atmosphere, on a totally human scale, Drifters Wife is an outstanding place to pass an hour — or a whole long evening”.
  • Breweries/Distilleries – fermentation-based businesses continued to expand and grow in number in 2016. Notable were the moves of Bissell Brothers to Thompson’s Point and Bunker to Libbytown, the opening of Stroudwater Distilling, Hardshore Distilling and the Cellar Door tasting room, and the expansions of Foundation Brewing, Maine Beer Co, Rising Tide and the upcoming expansion of Maine Craft Distilling.
  • Juice Bars – 2016 was the year of the juice bar. Farm Truck Juice opened in the West End, Blake Orchard in the Old Port, Flying Fox on Washington Ave, and Maine Juice Company in Biddeford joined Maine Squeeze and Samantha Lives in this segment of the industry.
  • Upcoming in 2017 – The pace of new restaurant and bar projects looks likely to pick-up in 2017. 40+ 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 2017 are:
    • Baharat – CN Shawarma’s new restaurant in East Bayside
    • Black Cow – ‘re-imagining of the classic soda fountain’ by Nick Nappi and Gary Bowcott
    • Cong Tu Bot – a pho noodle bar being launched by Vien Dobui and Jessica Sheahan
    • Gross Confection Bar – a dessert/cocktail bar by Brant Dadaleares
    • Izakaya Minato – a new Japanese restaurant on Washington Ave
    • LB Kitchen – chef Lee Farrington’s new breakfast and lunch restaurant on Congress Street
    • Lio – a wine-driven restaurant by Cara Stadler in conjunction with Chris Peterman
    • Little Giant – Hunt & Alpine’s restaurant in the West End
    • Sichuan Kitchen – a Chinese restaurant scheduled to open on January 2nd
    • Tipo – Central Provision’s new restaurant in Back Cove

Top 10 Articles

The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.

  1. Tipo – first word on Central Provision’s new restaurant in Back Cove (July 23)
  2. Petite Jacqueline – Corry’s decision to relocate Petite Jacqueline to Market Street (January 27)
  3. Lio – first word on Cara Stadler’s new wine restaurant (October 7)
  4. Woodford F & B – announcement of opening day (January 15)
  5. Ebb & Flow – news that Ebb & Flow was closing (March 7)
  6. Baharat – first word on CN Shawarma’s new brick and mortar restaurant (October 5)
  7. Fork Food Lab – first word on the commercial kitchen/business incubator (March 16)
  8. BA ArticleBon Appétit article on Portland (May 18)
  9. Scales – opening day announcement (March 5)
  10. Little Giant – first word that Hunt & Alpine was planning a restaurant and market for the West End (October 31)


Notable Events of 2016

  • January – Bissell Brothers announced plans to move to Thompson’s Point, 6 Maine food producers were honored at the Good Food Awards, Woodford F&B opened, and Fore River Brewing launched.
  • February8 chefs and restaurants were listed as James Beard Award semifinalists, the Brew Bus made plans to expand to Boston, Harvest on the Harbor was sold, and Thai Essan, Drifters Wife, Portland Mash Tun, Farm Truck Juice and Rhum opened.
  • March3 Maine chefs were named James Beard award final nominees, The Press Herald published an article about Jason Loring, Scales, Falafel Underground, Hero and Mast Landing opened, and Little Lad’s closed.
  • April – The Milk and Honey Cafe and the Lone Pine Brewing tasting room opened, the Salt Box Cafe launched, and Paul’s Food Center closed.
  • MayBon Appétit published an eating guide to Portland, the New York Times published an article about The Honey Paw, PFM won Best Food Blog and Best Blog in the Portland Phoenix readership poll, Solo Italiano and the Cellar Door tasting room opened, the Sugarbird Coffee Truck and the Gorgeous Gelato truck launched.
  • June – Hugo’s and Miyake were listed on OAD’s list of the Top 100 restaurants in the US, Bissell Brothers opened their new brewery on Thompson’s Point, Petite Jacqueline, Blake Orchard, Tiqa Cafe, and Salty Sally’s opened, the LemonCycle food cart and Taco del Seoul food truck launched, and Sala Thai closed.
  • July – Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez purchased Caiola’s, Central Provisions announced plans to open a new restaurant in Back Cove, Down East published an oral history of the lobster roll, Food & Wine published an article about Portland, Novare Res was included in Draft magazine’s list of the 100 best beer bars in the country, and Stroudwater Distilling, Flying Fox Juice Bar, and the Munjoy Hill Tavern opened.
  • AugustBon Appétit named Drifters Wife to their list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America, Food & Wine named Andrew Volk one of 2016’s Best New Mixologists, Big J’s Chicken Shack and Rossobianco opened, and Hero closed.
  • September – USM announced plans for a new food studies program, Condé Nast Traveller has included Eventide in their list of the best restaurants in the world, Food Republic published a guide to eating in Portland, Mark’s Sports Bar, Fork Food Lab and El Rayo opened, and Thurston’s closed.
  • October – acclaimed food writer Rowan Jacobsen visited Portland to launch his new book, Cara Stadler announced plans for her new wine restaurant Lio, Hunt & Alpine announced plans to open a restaurant and market in the West End, Sugarbird sold their food truck to Tandem, Hardshore Distilling opened, and Rossobianco closed.
  • November – Some of Maine’s best chefs collaborated on the 2nd Annual Fabulous Femmes dinner to raise money for the Barabara Bush Children’s Hospital, Bunker Brewing completed the move to their new brewery in Libbytown, and both Tin Pan Bakery and the New England Distilling tasting room opened.
  • December – Eventide announced plans to open a 2nd location in Boston, Pho Co, Bambo Bistro, Big Fin Poke, The Purple House, Little Giant Market, Mini Mogadishu and Baristas + Bites opened, and Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe closed.

Top 25 Restaurants

  1. Roustabout (-)
  2. Woodford F&B (-)
  3. Scales (-)
  4. Isa (1)
  5. Abilene (11)
  6. Solo Italiano (-)
  7. Union (8)
  8. Terlingua (3)
  9. East Ender (7)
  10. Petite Jacqueline (20)
  11. Piccolo (17)
  12. Caiola’s (25)
  13. Lolita (18)
  14. Evo (9)
  15. Big J’s Chicken Shack (-)
  16. The Treehouse (13)
  17. Bao Bao Dumpling House (6)
  18. The Honey Paw (2)
  19. Back Bay Grill (21)
  20. Rossobianco (-)
  21. Five Fifty-Five (17)
  22. Pizzaiolo (-)
  23. Rhum (-)
  24. Outliers Eatery (19)
  25. Hot Suppa (43)

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.


For some other perspectives on the past year see Portland Press Herald, The Golden Dish, Bangor Daily News, Portland Phoenix, Peter Peter Portland Eater, Portland Magazine and The Beer Babe.

Here are links to the Portland Food Map year in review reports for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

‘Cradle of Craft Beers’

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

The Press Herald has published an article about 1 IndustriALE Way and the steady stream of breweries that have called it home.

The hand-me-downs are a way of life at 1 Industrial Way. The building on the western edge of Portland has been the home of seven breweries in the past seven years, with Battery Steele planning to open in February. With two other breweries already operating in the building and craft beer stalwart Allagash across the street, an industrial part of the Riverton neighborhood once pocked with auto body shops has turned into an unlikely tourist destination.

Bull Jagger, Maine Beer Company, Rising Tide, Bissell Brothers, Foundation Brewing, Austin Street, and now Battery Steele have all been/still are tenants at 1 Industrial Way.

PFM x Pomegranate Inn Package

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Boston Magazine has published a report on a collaboration between Portland Food Map and the Pomegranate Inn. Working with the inn’s management company, Lark Hotels, we produced a paper pocket edition of PFM.

Called the Portland Food Map package, the special gives guests an insider’s guide to food in the city. The boutique hotel teamed up with foodie and creator of the blog Portland Food Map Anestes Fotiades to guide visitors on a tour of the city’s restaurants and hidden gems. The package comes at no additional cost when guests book two nights or longer.

GQ: Maine & Loire

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Maine & Loire got mentioned in this month’s issue of GQ in an article about “the 20 new rules changing everything we know about wine”.

The article is not yet online.

Hannaford 2.0

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Today’s Press Herald reports on a Hannaford project to explore service and product innovations for their customers.

The location is Hannaford’s most high-tech store, while also being a throwback to the olden days of high-touch customer service. Aided by computers, tablets and touch screens, the store’s employees will cut your produce any way you like, help you select the best cut of meat or the perfect bottle of wine, and prepare your entire meal to eat in the store’s café or take home and throw directly into a pot. They’ll even do your shopping for you.

Hi Bombay Changing Hands

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Prakash Gyawali is purchasing Hi Bombay on Pleasant Street. Gyawali also owns Shere Punjab Fine Indian Cuisine in Brunswick.

Craft Beer Competition

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The Press Herald reports that Geary’s sales have dipped as the result of competition from newer breweries.

While restaurants and bars across the region dump national brands in favor of Maine-made craft beers, the trend has skipped over one local brewer – Geary’s, the brewer that started it all.

Rising Popularity of Southern Cooking

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Today’s Press Herald includes an article on the increasing popularity of Southern food, particularly fried chicken, in Portland.

There’s definitely an increased interest in Southern food and fried chicken,” said Chad Conley, co-owner of the Palace Diner in Biddeford, which serves a fried chicken and flapjacks platter on Thursdays and Fridays, a fried chicken sandwich on Saturdays and Sundays, and hosts Fried Chicken Fridays during summer. “But I think it’s part of the larger trend in food culture, which has been moving away from a focus on fine dining and has been appreciating traditional foods and regional American foods more now than in the past.”

Temporarily Closed: Taco Trio, Rossobianco (Updated)

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Both Taco Trio and Rossobianco are temporarily closed:

  • Taco Trio announced on their Facebook page that they’ll be closed as of November 2nd until early 2017 “due to major medical issues in our family”.
  • Rossobianco has also temporarily closed. Key staff have moved on to new jobs. Owner David Levi hasn’t announced a target date for re-opening yet.

Update: The Press Herald has published an update on David Levi’s plans for Rossobianco.

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.