Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Interview with Olive Cafe

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Olive Cafe owner Rayan Elkhatib.

How did you first get into the restaurant business?
I’ve been in the industry since I was 15 years old. My parents kind of planted the seed. They both had little cafes like this (in Florida) and I always worked with them. My mom taught me the cooking part of the industry and my dad pretty much showed me the business side. It caught on, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Before I came here, I was the assistant manager for a really nice restaurant in Del Ray Beach called City Oyster. I was well-rounded, I had all the experience and it was time for me to open my own shop and see what I could do with it.

Vivian’s Drive-In

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

The Press Herald reports that Vivian’s Drive-In on Forest Ave is changing hands.

After 21 years of running one of Portland’s most beloved, and cheapest, burger joints, Donna Morgan is selling Vivian’s Drive-In. But despite rumors that the Forest Avenue business might be closing, Morgan said it isn’t going anywhere.

Vivian’s was founded in 1952 by Vivian L. Vintinner. Vintinner sold it in 1964 to Joyce Perry who then sold it to Donna Morgan in 1995.

Interview with Arlin Smith

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Hugo’s co-owner Arlin Smith.

LO: What do you think the secret is to excellent service?
AS: One thing that I try to push … is the difference between hospitality and serving. Anyone can be a server. You don’t have to have a voice, you just have to have feet and hands and be able to take food from one place to another. Hospitality is going above and beyond, to guide a person, to be generous, to anticipate their needs before they even know that they need them. That’s what separates just serving people and really taking care of people. This is one of the most unique dining experiences in New England, never mind in Portland. It’s not for everyone — you have to come here not just to get sustenance, you have to come here to have an experience, to allow us to take care of you. If you want to go out and be taken care of, I don’t know many places that do it better than here.

Maine Heirloom Apples

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

appletastingThe Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald reports on the growing interest in heirloom apples.

Bendzela and Essman are among a growing number of Mainers who have developed an appreciation for heirloom varieties of apples that for the most part disappeared with the rise of big agriculture. They have replanted varieties that were originally grown on the farm and added more that were once popular in Maine – apples with different textures, unusual tastes and whimsical names, such as King of Tompkins County, Fallawater, Esopus Spitzenburg (a favorite of Thomas Jefferson) and Hubbardston’s Nonesuch.

The paper also has an article on vegetarian chef and Maine-native Matthew Kenney.

Matthew Kenney’s restaurants and books are a force in the plant-based food world, but his biggest influence may be in the new chefs he teaches.

Interview with Joe Catoggio

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Joe Catoggio, co-owner with his wife Diane of the Bayside American Cafe.

LO: Can you tell me a little bit about the menu?
JC: We inherited a brunch menu. As I said, he’d [Roger Bintliff] been winning “Best Brunch” quite often. We largely stayed with that same theme. We just tried to refine it a little bit, change it up about 15-20 percent every year … bring in some new items, lose some items. We’ve downsized the menu a bit so we could focus more on specials. The Louisiana Bayou Benedict (grilled andouille sausage, homemade corncakes, two poached eggs and spicy Cajun hollandaise sauce) was a special that we created for a benefit for Hurricane Katrina. It became a menu item directly after that because it was just so popular. It’s one of our biggest sellers. … We’re very well known for our corned beef hash. We created a special last summer, which was a cinnamon bun pancake, and that’s taken off unbelievably.

Paul Trusiani, 81 (Updated)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Paul Trusiani (article, obituary) passed away Saturday at the age of 81. Trusiani founded Paul’s Food Center on Congress Street in 1975.

In his early years, Trusiani worked for Hannaford Brothers Co. as a buyer, retail counselor and head of procurement. He went on to work as vice president and general manager of Martin’s Foods before deciding to establish his own company, Paul’s Food Center. He operated the business with his former wife, Annamarie Ross Trusiani. The partners have 12 to 15 full and part-time employees.

Their son, Jim Trusiani, said the family has no plans to sell or close the business.

“The family’s intent is to continue to run the store the way Dad did,” his son said.

Update: For additional information see this article from the Portland Phoenix.

Restaurants You May Have Missed

Friday, September 4th, 2015

dispatch_ricchioJoe Ricchio has written an article for Dispatch magazine (page 40) listing the 20 or so restaurants he misses the most from the late 90s and early part of this century.

Mentioned in the article are Fresh Market Pasta, Mazza, Bandol, Haggarty’s, Go-Go Burger, Una, Perfetto, Village Cafe, Hu Shang, Carbur’s, Michaela’s, Ladle, Bodega Latina, G’Vanni’s, Portland Public Market, The Roma, Aubergine, Honey’s, Crab Louie, and Ruby’s Choice.

That era overlaps with when I first moved to the city, so many happy food memories….

The new issue of Dispatch also contains an interview with Alice Van de Water, bartender at Rosie’s (page 44).

Porthole Interview & Cheap Eats Guide

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an interview with the head chef and owner of The Porthole,

LO: Can you tell me a little bit about the menu?
LC: I’d say that breakfast and lunch is basically “dinerific” sort of food, like high-end sort of diner. We have lobster pancakes … you know, it’s a nicer sort of breakfast for a cheaper price. (For dinner) we use fresh, local seafood. I buy my seafood from Harbor Fish, and we buy our lobsters here on the wharf so it’s very convenient and fresh. They’re in the ocean hours before you’re eating them.

and their annual student guide to cheap eats.

It’s no secret that college students are usually scraping by financially; just look online at the poor college student memes and Tumblr posts and you’ll get the idea. Higher education is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you should sit in your dorm room and eat Ramen every night. With the budget-friendly dining options below, you can afford to hit the town and still have enough money to do laundry.

Interview with Rob Tod

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with Rob Tod, owner of Allagash.

Q: What attracted you to beer brewing?
It combined everything I loved. It had a bit of science, biology and chemical reactions and it had a big creative component with recipe-writing and a mechanical component with pipes and wiring and valves. It wrapped up everything I loved in one nice package and on top of it all, it was beer.

Abilene Interview and Menu

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The Portland Phoenix has published an interview with Travis Colgan and Anna Connolly, the owners of Abilene in Woodfords Corner, and a tasting report on their menu.

I began with Anna’s favorite dish on the menu, an appetizer called Manchego Toast, which consists of homemade focaccia bread, doughy and warm, topped with melted Manchego (a Spanish cheese), garlic, shallots and fresh mushrooms, over a sherry and mushroom broth. The bread soaks up the broth, and you can dip the toast in as well. However you choose to eat it, it’s rich, hearty and satisfying. Anna mentioned that, as she and Travis were drawing up the menu, this was the first item they knew they had to include. The dish, she said, evolved from working with a Spanish chef in a restaurant down in New Orleans.

Interview with Scott DeSimon

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

The Press Herald has published an interview with former Bon Appétit managing editor, Scott DeSimon about growing up in Cumberland and about the Portland food scene.

Q: Here’s the inevitable question: Where do you eat when you are in Maine?
The Portland restaurant scene continues to baffle and amaze me. How is that possible? How are there enough people in Portland to eat and keep these places going? Generally, I used to go directly from the airport to J’s Oyster and get a fish sandwich, a bucket of oysters and a beer. Less so now that I have kids. I really love Hunt and Alpine Club. I love Central Provisions. Everyone loves Eventide. I love Eventide. But it’s (expletive) annoying. It’s always too packed. There’s a late flight, a jet that gets in at 11. What makes me happy is that you arrive and Miyake noodles is open. And it’s crowded. It’s a signal that Portland has come a long way from when I was a kid. There are so many great places. It is hard to keep up. I try to go to a new place every time I’m in town, but I still try to go to J’s.

Arcadian Mayor

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Arcadia National Bar co-owner, Ben Culver, is one of 8+ people running for Portland Mayor this fall.

Interview with East Ender

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

The Portland Phonix interviewed Karl Deuben and Bill Leavy, chef/owners of East Ender, for this week’s edition of the newspaper.

Two worlds collided when East Ender proprietors Bill Leavy and Karl Deuben met while working at Hugo’s 11 years ago. The two grew up in very different areas of the country — Deuben in Denver and Leavy on Staten Island — and were working in education and advertising, respectively, before discovering their culinary passions. Once they got their first taste (pun intended) of the restaurant business, however, they couldn’t stop, and became staples of the Portland dining scene even before founding SmallAxe Food Truck in 2012 and East Ender eight months ago.

Jonny St. Laurent

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The Press Herald has published a Where Are They Now article about chef Jonny Saint Laurent, best know for Uncle Billy’s Southside Bar-B-Que and Uncle Billy’s Resto-Bar.

Now the chef is a caterer and restaurant consultant for most of the year. At the summer camp, his hours are filled with making three kinds of meatballs (vegetarian; gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free; and “normal”), baking 175 homemade cookies a day, experimenting with ways to get girls to eat eggs, and generally trying to please persnickety palates.

Women to Watch: Heather Sanborn

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Mainebiz has selected Rising Tide co-owner Heather Sanborn for their 2015 short list of business Women to Watch in Maine. Each year Mainebiz highlights women who “have shown the skill, tenacity and smarts to make a difference not only at their own companies or organizations, but in their particular industries as well.”

If you want to know the movers and shakers behind Maine’s booming beer industry, getting to know Heather Sanborn would be a good first step. And that’s not just because she’s the director of business operations for Rising Tide Brewing Co…Sanborn’s legal expertise has been especially helpful in pushing Maine lawmakers to adopt laws that protect the beer industry and fight off the vestiges of the state’s Prohibition-era regulations. In working with the Maine Brewers’ Guild, Sanborn helped draft three major pieces of legislation that have had a significant impact in improving Maine’s beer culture.