Silly’s Going Out of Business September 1st

Longtime Washington Ave restaurant Silly’s is closing. Owner Colleen Kelley plans to close the restaurant at 4 pm on Sunday September 1st. She shared her decision and her rational via a lengthy post on facebook Wednesday afternoon. Here’s an excerpt,

My sister Shelley and I have sold the buildings— not Silly’s, just the buildings. There are a lot of factors in my decision starting with Silly’s requires my attention to thrive consistently and I am exhausted all the time trying to take care of my father and be a working owner. As much as Erin and Will the managers and the rest of the staff are taking care of me and the business, it is constantly challenging to do business with the city of Portland which also wears me out. Another huge factor in my decision is, it is that I am smart enough to know my business model won’t work in a city destined to be Seattle, which isn’t meant to be a slam it is just my opinion of where Portland is going. I don’t want anything but wonderful things for Portland, Maine I have enjoyed many years here. However, I am a fat woman who serves fat, over-portioned food and I won’t charge 24.00 dollars for 4 oz of dip and some pita bread served by a person that said to me take your time, I get paid by the hour. I want to make all my own food, not be a part of a restaurant group and serve whatever a portion I want to for a decent price with people who want to do the same. I can’t do that in my current situation…so before I loose the business, I am going to bow out gracefully of the new hipster artisan Washington avenue that I really don’t fit into anymore and spend my time taking care of my father. I didn’t get to do it with my mother who died in March, I went to work the day after it happened and I won’t make that mistake again. It isn’t healthy….

For additional reporting on Silly’s closure see articles from the Bangor Daily News, and the Press Herald.

Food Hall and a New Evo at 58 Fore

Developers of the 58 Fore (website), the former Portland Company Complex, have announced plans to incorporate a Food Hall featuring up to 30 “local restaurateurs, food entrepreneurs and purveyors offering prepared and specialty foods, produce, meats, seafood and drinks” into their plans for the mixed use complex.

While thriving public markets are becoming common in cities throughout the country, Portland does not currently have a large-scale market focused on the culinary experience. “The market hall will continue the historic function of these buildings as places where Maine people make high quality products. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries it was railroad engines and ship boilers; today it’s great food and drink,” said Kevin Costello, partner in Portland Foreside Development Company.

Joining 58 Fore will be Evo Kitchen + Bar (website, instagram, facebook, twitter) which is slated to move from it’s current location at the corner of Union and Fore to occupy the Pattern Storehouse, the iconic 1895 building (pictured above). The new Evo will double in size to become a 100-seat restaurant.

58 Fore is taking the unusual step of disassembling and then reconstructing the Pattern Storehouse in order to preserve it while moving it to closer to the waterfront.

Evo is owned operated by the Prentice Hospitality Group, and Casey Prentice is a principal in 58 Fore.

Interview with Rob Tod

For latest episode of the Food Coma Podcast host Joe Ricchio talked with Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing Co.

He has been consistently one of the most prolific brewers in the country since he founded his business in 1995, and he received the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, and Spirits Producer. Both Rob and I have fond memories of the ’90s, especially in regard to Portland, but quite varied experiences. 

This is the jumping-off point, and topics range from beer (obviously) to FroYo to my life as a teenager who looked like he was 35. Sometimes I get so damn excited to discuss the 90’s that I can barely complete a sentence. Sometimes we drink Allagash White. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much Rob has accomplished thus far in his impressive career. 

This Week’s Events: Staycationland, Chopped, Feast at the Falls, Latte Art Throwdown

Monday – chef Anders Tallberg and bartender Arvid Brown will be serving up tropical fried chicken and rum drinks for their Staycationland Pop-up at the Portland Zoo.

Tuesday – Chef Dave Mallari will be competing on Chopped. The episode is set to air at 9 pm.

Wednesday – chef David Turin will be appearing on the Food TV show Guy’s Grocery Games at 9 pm, there will be a Languedoc wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayFeast at the Falls, a sold out five-course meal with beer pairings is taking place at the boardwalk by Saccarappa Falls in downtown Westbrook with chefs from Frog & Turtle, 33 Elmwood, Casa Novello, Lenny’s, and Black Dinah Chocolatiers. Time & Tide in Biddeford will hosting this month’s barista latte art throwdown.

Saturday – Damiain Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez are the featured chefs for a sold out edition of Outstanding in the Field, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

Reviews: Royale Lunch Bar, Flood’s

The Maine Sunday Telegram restaurant critic Andrew Ross has reviewed Royale Lunch Bar, as has 11-year old guest critic Charlotte McDonald, and

Open since April, Royale Lunch Bar in Portland’s Old Port serves a menu of sandwiches, salads and snacks impressionistically modeled after French-Canadian (and in the case of some dishes, Montreal) cuisine. On the whole, the menu works, especially dishes that make use of executive chef Joe Farr’s smoking skills.

Press Herald has reviewed Flood’s.

My friend decided on the $10 False Prophet (bourbon, rhubarb and cinnamon, with a gorgeous rhubarb garnish). We could taste all three components as we sipped it, with a slight (in a good way) aftertaste of cinnamon. I chose the $10 Dangerous Sister (plum, basil, bay, lemon and a Japanese vodka-like liquor called shochu). It was light, refreshing, subtle and smooth, but unfortunately came in what another friend of mine would refer to as a child’s portion.

NYT: Bluet

The New York Times has published an article on Bluet, the sparkling wine produced from Maine low bush blueberries.

The bottle-fermented wine, packaged like Champagne in a cork-topped bottle, is more contemplative. The 2017 was deeper, subtler, lightly savory and quietly complex. It, too, was about 7 percent alcohol, near the upper limit for blueberry wines. The two bottles made me wonder, why has this never been done before?

Helm Slated for the WEX Building

A new restaurant called Helm (website, instagram, facebook) is under construction in a 3,000 sq ft space located on the first floor of the new WEX building on Thames Street.

The menu at the oyster bar and bistro will be “an ode to the coast. Expect oysters, seafood, meat, and produce all from our local Maine farmers and fishermen” with a bar program that “focuses on natural, biodynamic, and organic wines as well as a rotating Maine brewery draft selection, and classic cocktails”. The restaurant will include a private dining room to host events and a courtyard that will seat up to 30.

Owner Elizabeth Legere and General Manager James Rose hope to open Helm in December. They shared that they’re excited to contribute to the restaurant scene in Portland and see a lot of opportunity in the developing neighborhood where the restaurant is located.

Three of Strong Grand Opening

Three of Strong is holding their grand opening starting today and through the weekend:

  • Friday – Master Distiller Graham Hamblett will be signing labels of the Three of Strong silver rum. The Maine Maple Creamee food truck will be onsite.
  • Saturday – Chef Evan Mallet from Black Trumpet in Portsmouth will preparing a pig roast with dessert by the Morton’s Moo ice cream food truck.
  • Sunday – there will be a shuffleboard tournament with food by Eighty 8 Donuts and Rebel Cheesteaks.