Reviews: Portland Meatball Co, Izakaya Minato, Big Fin Poke

February 5th, 2017

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland Meatball Company,

The salads, like nearly everything I ate at Portland Meatball Company, seemed to have been rushed out of the kitchen, unexamined and, more importantly, untasted. Yet rather than focus on badly needed quality control for the restaurant’s few remaining customers, the kitchen staff wandered distractedly in and out of the desolate dining room throughout both of my visits, until inevitably declaring the restaurant closed more than an hour early.

The golden Dish has reviewed Izakaya Minato,

When we arrived two local restaurateurs I know were leaving and both recommended the pork belly. Spot on. What came out was a hearty bowl of braised pork belly ( buta no kakuni) stewed in mirin and soy—a pan-regional stew of this texturally unctuous meat: sweet, fatty, tender.

and both The Blueberry Files and Peter Peter Portland Eater have reviewed Big Fin Poké.

I often complain about going to Westbrook, not for any particular reason other than Portland-centrism and that I always manage to get lost whenever I attempt to navigate to or through our neighboring city to the west. But add Big Fin Poké to the small, but growing, list of things I’ll happily (ok, begrudgingly) travel to Westbrook for.

Under Construction: A & C Grocery

February 3rd, 2017

Urban Eye has posted an update on the A & C Grocery under construction on Washington Ave.

After nine years in the grocery business — he worked at Rosemont Market and was a founding partner at The Farm Stand in South Portland — he is ready to go out on his own with A & C Grocery. “I’ve been thinking about this concept for years,” said Fournier, who plans to open in two and a half weeks.

A & C Grocery (website, facebook), a “neighborhood one-stop grocery shop” is under construction at 131 Washington Ave.

Under Construction: YOBO

February 1st, 2017

A new Korean restaurant called YOBO is under construction at 23 Forest Ave in the space formerly occupied by BiBo’s Madd Apple Cafe. Yobo will serve “refined Asian comfort food with a rustic appeal” and feature wonderful boutique wines from small vineyards.” Owners Sunny Chung and Kim Lully plan to create an atmosphere that is “intimate and casual, with all the comforts of dining with good friends.”

Chung and Lully formerly operated a farm to table restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire called Sunny’s Table. They hope to open Yobo in the April/May time frame.

Under Construction: BRGR Bar

February 1st, 2017

Redevelopment of the old Margarita’s on Brown Street into the Portland outpost of BRGR Bar continues with a recent proposal to add an outdoor deck and make renovations to the street signage and entrance.

Chef Travels

February 1st, 2017

the Press Herald Maine chefs traveling this winterhas published an article about to gather new ideas for their restaurants.

The trips satisfy more than just a chef’s appetite for good food, although simply eating a variety of dishes is always a major goal. They also benefit customers because chefs return home filled with new ideas for expanding their menus and ways to make their food more authentic.

Izakaya Minato Opens Today

January 31st, 2017

Izakaya Minato (facebook, instagram) is scheduled to open today. The 36-seat Japanese restaurant is located at 54 Washington Ave next to Terlingua.

Owners Elaine Alden and Thomas Takashi Cooke moved to Portland from San Francisco where Cooke had been the head chef at Tsunami, a sushi restaurant. The couple also spent 3 months in Japan where he staged at an izakaya in Tokyo also called Tsumamina.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Under Construction: Leavitt & Sons

January 31st, 2017

Falmouth deli Leavitt & Sons is opening a second location in Bayside, according to a report from the Press Herald, at 200 Kennebec Street.


2nd Other Side Delicatessen Opens Today

January 30th, 2017

A second Other Side Delicatessen (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is set to open this morning  in the West End at 235 Vaughan Street in the space formerly occupied by the Vaughan Street Variety.

As at the original Veranda Street location, the West End Other Side will be a combination butcher shop and deli selling sandwiches and deli meats and charcuterie by the pound as well as “prepared meals to go, hand made pastas and other sundries to round out a full meal to take home.”

The West End location will be open MondayFriday 8-7 and Saturday 8-6.

This Week’s Events: Minato, Bitter’s Workshop, Mast Landing Dinner, Corn Tortilla Workshop

January 30th, 2017

Monday – there will be a press conference about the Portland Food Council at 4pm.

TuesdayIzakaya Minato is scheduled to open, and Vena’s is teaching a bitters workshop.

Wednesday – Terlingua is holding a Mast Landing beer dinner.

Saturday – a corn tortilla workshop is taking place at SMCC as is the Winter Farmers’ Market and there will be an Allagash tap takeover at Central Provisions.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Portland Food Council

January 29th, 2017

A new organization called the Portland Food Council launches on Monday with a press conference at Fork Food Lab, 4-4:30pm, followed by an open house

According to the press release,

The Portland Food Council aims to foster a healthy community by advancing the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the food system that supports Portland. Evolving from the Mayor’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System started in 2012, the Portland Food Council works to shape food policy that will create resiliency, sustainability, and vibrancy in Portland’s food system. The council brings together community members, Portland government, food producers, and other businesses to collaborate on and shape laws and policies that affect our food system.

Coffee Me Up Now Open

January 29th, 2017

Coffee Me Up (instagram), a new coffee shop and cafe located in a newly renovated building at 221 Cumberland Ave, is now open.

Reviews: Big Fin Poké, Evo, Terlingua, Downtown Lounge, Tipo, Portland Mash Tun, Caiola’s

January 29th, 2017

The Press Herald has reviewed Big Fin Poké and Downtown Lounge,

If this restaurant were in Portland, it would be swamped. The food is well worth the short drive to Westbrook though, and I hope people will support it. We need more fast casual choices like this that go beyond the typical fast food burger joint. I’m already fantasizing about my next poke bowl – chicken, shrimp, honey miso sauce, crab salad, crispy onion and…

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Evo,

All in all, EVO was a hit. Even if you still see EVO as a special occasion place, stop in for one of their speciality cocktails and sample a dish. I bet it’ll win you over, just like it did me.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tipo,

The food was really good, but also slightly different than what is being offered in the Portland area which makes them an easy choice for an occasional visit. They’re carving out a space in the Italian food market, but since it’s outside the standard lasagna and linguine fare, it doesn’t immediately feel so confined to what you would normally expect from that type of restaurant.

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Terlingua,

Terlingua restaurant brings a little bit of Texas to Portland. They smoke their barbecued meats daily, but plan on getting there early because those sell out every night. The Barbecue Board will let you know what is available and hot off the smoker that day. But do not overlook the rest of their menu items; they stand on their own merit.

The 207 Foodie has reviewed the Portland Mash Tun,

Mash Tun is truly a hidden gem of Portland, with an incredibly friendly owner, knowledgeable bartenders, and genuine servers.

and the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Caiola’s.

But it feels like a summer day at the old Caiola’s when you taste the bright seaside flavors of an appetizer of big marinated shrimp on thin whole grain toasts. Celery and watercress kept the flavors light, while the toast lends a hint of earthiness.

Granny’s Closing

January 28th, 2017

Granny’s Burritos plans to close their shop in the Public Market House, according to a report from the Press Herald.

Granny’s Burritos, a fixture in Portland since 1995, will close either at the end of the day Sunday or Monday, depending on how long the food lasts…

The Public Market House was Granny’s fifth location. Owner Chris Godin started on Market Street in the lobby of Granny Killam’s, moved to 10 Exchange Street, then to 420 Fore Street, was closed for a while then for a short time operated at 653 Congress Street, closed again and most recently landed at the PMH in Monument Square.

Interview with Tom Bull

January 27th, 2017

Great Beer Adventure has posted an audio interview with Tom Bull, co-owner and brewer at Dirigo Brewing in Biddeford.

Renovation and Renewal

January 26th, 2017

Whether it’s as simple as a new coat of paint or a more in depth kitchen remodel, the slower months at the start of the year are when some restaurant temporarily close to do renovations that set them up well for the rest of the year.

Here are a few we’ve heard of:

Local 188 – closed for a few days in early January to remodel and reconfigure their open kitchen.

David’s – closed earlier this month and expects to reopen in February. The renovations will include “hand-forged artisan iron work, decorative etched stainless steel, reclaimed wood, new lighting and a refreshed open view into the kitchen”

Caiola’s – the new owners plan to close February 19 to renovate the dining room and kitchen in the 11-year old restaurant. During their final weeks they will “bringing back some of the Caiola’s favorites that you have known from over the years. Come and say good-by with some familiar flavors.”

Evo – plans to close January 29 through February 2 to improve their ventilation system.

Artemisia Cafe – is nearly finished with renovations to their kitchen that began in December and expect to reopen very soon.