Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Black Cat Changes Hands

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Founders Jenny Siler and Keith James Dunlap have sold Black Cat Coffee to Ben Graffius and Mike Mwenedata from Rawanda Bean/White Cap Coffee.

Dear friends and neighbors, for 5 years you have graciously welcomed us into this community and your lives. Today we are saying goodbye. As some of you already know, our family has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for some time now. Given the difficulties we are facing, we have made the decision to find new ownership for Black Cat Coffee.

Phoenix: Definitive Brewing, Snacks, Other Side

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

This week’s edition of the Portland Phoenix includes:

CNN: Vena’s Fizz House

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

CNN has published an interview with Vena’s Fizz House owners, Steve and Johanna Corman.

“I had this whole vision,” she said. “A bar with bartenders, and they’re mixing and muddling and shaking. But there’s no alcohol. It’s seltzer-based, but they’re using really good, healthy ingredients.

“I love old fashioned ingredients, like bitters and tonics and shrubs and syrups. I just could see the whole thing in my brain.”

Chef of the Year: Troy Mains

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Troy Mains from the Harraseeket Inn has been named the 2018 Chef of the Year by the Maine Restaurant Association.

Craig Dilger

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Beer Advocate magazine has published a profile of Craig Dilger, co-founder of Foulmouthed Brewing.

Craig Dilger and his wife, Julia, spent the better part of a decade honing the plans for Foulmouthed Brewing. They placed the things Dilger loves about homebrewing—the creativity, the variety, the limitless experimentation—at the core of their business plan. Foulmouthed, the brewpub the couple launched in June 2016 out of an old automotive garage in South Portland, Maine, hews closely to that vision, eschewing flagships and long-range production calendars for an eclectic and ever-evolving tap list. And while going pro involves a lot more squeegee-pushing and business management than his days racking carboys in a kitchen, the payoff comes in the opportunity to offer underappreciated styles in an IPA-heavy market. “People will come in specifically to get our German-style Black Ale. They’re happy we have a Brown on tap,” Dilger says, “even if malts aren’t that sexy anymore.”


Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Today’s Press Herald reports on some of the former New Yorkers making a new life and a living in Portland, and helping develop the restaurant scene in the process.

Restaurateurs who have moved here from New York say the customers are different, too. Sansonetti says that Mainers, curiously, appear to be more adventurous eaters than New Yorkers. When he worked at Bar Boulud, Sansonetti put Mediterranean sardines and Maine herring on the menu, but they were tough sells. When he opened Piccolo, he served sardines “and we couldn’t keep them on the menu.”

52 Places: Lindsay Sterling

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Immigrant Kitchens author Lindsay Sterling is a finalist for the New York Times 52 Places travel writer position. More than 13,000 applied for the job which will send the person selected for the role to all 52 spots on the NYT Places to Go List.

New Owner of European Bakery

Friday, January 5th, 2018

After 28 years in business founder Helen Budri has sold the European Bakery in Falmouth.

“It was a hard decision because our customers are our family and we love our work,” Budri said this week. But she decided to sell, she said, because “after 28 years we wanted more time with family. It was (just) time.”

2017 Year in Review: Trends, Key Events, Most Popular Restaurants & Articles, Obituaries

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

I’ve scanned through the records for the past year and here’s a summary of events and trends for 2017:

  • New Restaurants – 2017 was truly a banner year for new establishments with the launch of Sichuan Kitchen, Tipo, Izakaya Minato, LB Kitchen, Mami, Cheevitdee, Baharat, Lazarri, Cong Tu Bot, Noble Barbecue, Chaval, Little Giant, Belleville, Blyth & Burrows, Rose Foods, Roma Cafe, Bolster Snow, Tuscan Table, Highroller Lobster and Yobo, Elda and many more. Read it through again, that’s an amazing list. We’re not likely to see such a strong crop of new businesses in 2018, giving everyone the time to catch up and try them all. You can better ensure the ones you love the best stick around by eating at your favorites often.
  • Year of the Bagel – I think The Blueberry Files put it best when she declared we’ve “officially reached peak bagel”. Between the the pre-existing businesses (Mister Bagel, Union Bagel, Scratch Baking, 158) and the ones that launched in the last 12 or so months (Purple House, Rose Foods, Toast Bar, Rover) and Forage which is still to come there’s been an explosion of new bagel options. This isn’t, as far as I can tell, a national trend cresting over Portland but purely a local phenomenon.
  • Brick & Mortar – 2017 saw a continuation of the ‘diesel to dining room’ trend of food trucks/carts opening brick and mortar restaurants. CN Shawarma converted to Baharat, Mami opened on Fore Street, El Corazon in Longfellow Square, High Roller on Exchange Street, Bite Into Maine in Scarborough, and Noble Barbecue in Riverton.
  • Upcoming in 2018 – The pace of new restaurant and bar projects seems to be tapering off. Of the 30+ new ventures being tracked on the PFM Under Construction list, the ones I’m most looking forward to in 2018 are:
    • Black Cow – the “soda fountain reimagined” with a “focus on great burgers, classic sodas and an inventive cocktail program” taking over the Sonny’s space
    • Crown Jewel – Alex Wight from Flanagan’s Table is opening a new place on Great Diamond Island
    • Drifters Wife – the new and expanded Drifters Wife/Maine & Loire under construction at 59 Washington Ave
    • Falafel Underground – the new iteration of the popular Cumberland Ave takeout restaurant
    • Gross Confection Bar – Brant Dadaleares new dessert/cocktail bar
    • Forage Market – the Lewiston bagel bakery/cafe’s new location on Washington Ave
    • Lio – Cara Stadler’s new wine restaurant that is under construction on Spring Street
    • Quill Books & Beverage – a bookstore/bar under construction in Westbrook
    • Sagamore Hill – a new cocktail bar on Congress in the Arts District

Top 10 Articles

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

  1. Noble Barbecue – opening of the new barbecue shop in Riverton
  2. Winter Storm Watch – list of restaurants open during the March 14th Nor’easter
  3. Duckfat x Oxbow – announcement of the Washington Ave collaboration between Oxbow and Duckfat
  4. Rose Foods – first word on Chad Conley’s plans to open a new eatery in Portland
  5. Legends Rest – first word on Legends Rest Taproom in Westbrook
  6. Elda – first word on Bowman Brown’s plans to open Elda in Biddeford
  7. Fall Openings – an overview of openings planned for September and October
  8. Sun Bakery & Restaurant – first word on the new Asian bakery/restaurant taking over the Thurston’s space in Woodford’s Square.
  9. Bite Into Maine – first word on Bite Into Maine’s plan to open a restaurant in Scarborough
  10. Elsmere II – Report on Elsmere BBQ’a plans to open a second location on Stevens Ave


Notable Events of 2017

  • January – Sichuan Kitchen, Tipo, Izakaya Minato, Coffee Me Up and the West End Other Side Deli opened, Joseph Hardy and Adam Moore bought Howie’s Pub, the Press Herald took note of the growing number of food trucks going from ‘diesel to dining rooms‘, both Speckled Ax and Bard won Good Food Awards, K. Hortons announced plans to close after 18 years in business, and Roustabout, Catbird Creamery, Home Catering and Granny’s closed.
  • February – LB Kitchen, Trattoria Fanny, Vieux Port Creole, Jager and A&C Grocery opened, 12 Maine chefs/restaurants were semifinalists for the 2017 James Beard Awards, and the Maine Restaurant Association named Josh Berry their Chef of the Year.
  • March – BRGR Bar, Cafe Crepe and Bahart opened, chefs Taylor and Wiley from Eventide and Rob Tod from Allagash were named final nominees for the James Beard Awards, D.L. Gearing Brewing was sold to Alan Lapoint, USM launched a Food Studies Program, Mainebiz named Bob and Carmen Garver from Bard Coffee as the 2017 Small Business Leaders of the Year, chefs Matt Ginn and Josh Berry prepared dinners at the James Beard House, the 16th Annual PSO Wine Dinner took place, and the Portland Meatball Company closed.
  • April – Battery Steele Brewing, Mami, Cheevitdee and the Mashed food truck opened and Holy Donut opened a new location in Scarborough, Joe’s opened at their new location on Congress Street, the International Pectinid Workshop took place in Portland, Hugo’s and Miyake were named to the Opinionated About Dining Top 100 list, Milo DeGoosh participated in the US Barista Guild competition, Cara Stadler reverted her restaurants to the standard tipping model, and Aurora Provisions was purchased by Melissa Carr.
  • May – The 5 Spot, the Thainy Boda food truck and Eaux food cart, El Corazon and Lazzari opened, Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley from Eventide won the 2017 Best Chef: Northeast James Beard Award, New England Distilling released their Tidewalker bourbon, and Salty Sally’s closed.
  • June – Hifi Donuts, Yobo, Maiz, Yes Brewing, the Hakka Me and Falafel Mafia food trucks, Blyth & Burrows, Opium and North 43 Bistro opened, 1820 Wines launched, Allagash pledged to buy one million pounds of Maine-grown grain per year by 2021, the 1st Annual Inner Washington Block Party took place, the first issue of Edible Maine was released, Knack Factory produced a video about Rabelais, Fork Food Lab merged with Foodworks in Brooklyn, and Zapoteca closed.
  • July – Cong Tu Bot, Noble Barbecue, Chaval, Little Giant, Rose Foods, Skordo, the Strictly Cold Brew and Paletas food carts, Portland Pulp, Fishermen’s Grill, Miller Seafood, Linda Kate opened, CN Traveler published an article about how Portland ‘keeps getting cooler’, and Vieux Port Creole closed.
  • August – Roma Cafe, Island Creek, Nonesuch River Brewing, and the Kind Stack and Mainely Hotdogs food carts opened, Bon Appetit named The Purple House and Nina June to their list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America, it was the 10th anniversary of Portland Food Map, and Joshua McFadden, chef of Ava Gene’s and Tusk in Portland Oregon served a dinner at the Palace Diner, and Trattoria Fanny closed.
  • September – Bolster Snow, the Nom Bai food truck and Blue Lobster Wine Company opened, Sean Ryan Turley kicked off his apple column for the Press Herald, AdWeek highlighted Might & Main’s influence in turning Portland into ‘the hippest foodie town in New England’, and Dirigo Coffee went out of business.
  • October – Eventide opened their new location in Boston, the Scratch Baking Toast Bar, Belleville, Mainely Wraps, Little Woodfords, Leavitt & Sons and Higher Grounds opened, the 4th Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting took place, Rep. Chellie Pingree received a leadership award from the Beard Foundation, Drifters Wife announced plans to expand, and Falafel Underground closed.
  • November – Bite Into Maine, Sun Bakery & Restaurant, Goodfire Brewing, Rover and One Six Green opened, Eater’s Bill Addison included Eventide on his list of the nation’s 38 ‘essential’ restaurants, Sonny’s announced plans to close and make way for Black Cow, Saint Joseph’s held the 2017 Food System Innovation Challenge, 3 Maine companies were finalists for the 2018 Good Food Awards, and the Winter Farmers’ Market relocated to the Maine Girls Academy.
  • December – Tuscan Table, Highroller Lobster and Elda opened, as did newest Rosemont Market, Moran’s Market reopened, Portland punched in at #27 on Zagat’s list of America’s Most Exciting Food Cities, and Rhum closed.

Top 25 Restaurants

  1. Tipo (-)
  2. Chaval (-)
  3. Baharat (-)
  4. Little Giant (-)
  5. Izakaya Minato (-)
  6. Isa (4)
  7. Sichuan Kitchen (-)
  8. Cong Tu Bot (-)
  9. Scales (3)
  10. Woodford F&B (2)
  11. The Treehouse (16)
  12. Trattoria Fanny (-)
  13. Roma Cafe (-)
  14. Petite Jacqueline (10)
  15. Piccolo (11)
  16. BRGR Bar (-)
  17. East Ender (9)
  18. Noble Barbecue (-)
  19. Empire (14)
  20. Evo (14)
  21. Yobo (-)
  22. The Honey Paw (18)
  23. Union (7)
  24. Bao Bao Dumpling House (17)
  25. El Corazon (-)

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 the Portland Press Herald, Portland Phoenix, Portland Magazine, Map & Menu, The Beer Babe, Peter Peter Portland Eater, Maine Sunday Telegram and The 207 Foodie.

Here are links to the Portland Food Map year in review reports for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Richard McNeill, 76

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Richard McNeill, founder of Carburs, has passed away at the age of 76 reports the Cazenovia Republican.

Widely known in Portland as owner of Carburs Restaurant and the Down East Feast five decker sandwich that revolutionized the Old Port cuisine scene from 1976-1998. Rich also received an honorary diploma from the students of Cazenovia College for his involvement and support. Rich loved to cook and bake for his friends and family, making beer bread and buttermilk brownies. He regularly traveled to Pittsburgh to keep in touch with his sisters, Kitty and Linda, and the large family that resides there. Rich was known for his compassion and gentleness towards others and a simple outlook on life. His clever humor and notable sayings always kept those around him smiling and comfortable.

Carburs was a mainstay of the Portland dining scene in the last quarter of the 20th Century. The 20+ page menu offered dozens of sandwiches with names like the The Connecticut Yankee (React-or glow in the dark) and the Smith & Wesson (Oil’s well that ends well). It was located in Portland at 123 Middle Street, and in Burlington Vt, Hadley MA and Plattsburgh NY.

According to the obituary, “A memorial service and interring of remains will be held in summer 2018 at St.Eiboh’s Cove, Raymond, Maine.”

Krista Kern Desjarlais

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Chef Krista Kern Desjarlais was profiled in the latest issue of Plate magazine.

You have such an eclectic selection of baked goods. Roman-style pizza, Montreal bagels, French pastries like kouign-amann and mille-feuille. How did you curate your selection?
My choices were based on years of baking on my own and enjoying traditional Baking in French and Italian styles. I staged at Le Circque under Jacques Torres, which was amazing. I spent time in Rome; my grandfather lived there for 30 years and passed away there. I was hired to be the pastry chef for Guy Savoy in Las Vegas and went to Paris to transcribe the pastry program for them. I met other pastry chefs like Pierre Herme and worked in their pastry kitchens, so I got to see how all of their stuff was made.

Yordprom Coffee

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about Yordprom Coffee and its owner Tom Yordprom.

Many of Tom’s customers know that he’ll have their regular orders waiting for them by the time they step up to the counter. They’ve been coming to the same place everyday for years because they feel like a part of a community. Tom created that community and he knows that without him, that community wouldn’t exist.

The article reports that Yordprom Coffee will be expanding to Biddeford and may also launch a coffee truck.

Fred Eliot: Paté en Croute

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

The Press Herald has published a feature story on Scale’s chef Fred Eliot and his passion for developing skills to execute the classic French dish paté en croute.

Learning how to make paté en croute has been on Eliot’s bucket list for years, but it was only when he came to Scales that he had an oven that could do it justice, one that was able to bake at very precise temperatures. Now he makes one every other week, displaying the increasingly stunning results on Facebook and Instagram. It often sells out in one night.

Kerry Hanney, Baker

Friday, November 17th, 2017

This week’s Portland Phoenix has published an article about Kerry Hanney, the baker/owner of Night Moves Bread + Pie.

Kerry will soon be 31 years old, her wholesale business is thriving and expansion is a future certainty.

“The physical aspect of bread baking is empowering,” says Kerry. “Further, the positive reaction of the community has helped confirm that I made the right career decision. I get to work with fun and creative people everyday. My next step is to partner with the Maine Grain Alliance and work on public health and social enterprise; it’s time to share my good fortune with others.”

Hanney has launched a crowdfunding campaign to scale up her operation and open her own retail bakery.

Mike Fraser

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about Mike Fraser.

His first position in Portland was at Cinque Terre on Wharf Street. There, he met Guy Streitburger, the current General Manager of The Roma Cafe, and Jason Loring, another Portland restaurateur. The three have remained close friends. Mike served and bartended at Fore Street for nine years. Four or five years into his Fore Street tenure, Mike decided it might soon be time to open his own place. His first foray into ownership was Bramhall, a successful bar and lounge on Congress Street. When Mike and Jason first looked at the Roma, they were considering the space for a private club. They spoke to the Quimbys who owned the space; at that time, they envisioned it for some other use. In the meantime, Mike helped finance the Rhum Tiki Bar and Big J’s Fried Chicken at Thompson’s Point — ventures which proved to be immensely popular.