Rupee Beer

This week’s Portland Phoenix reports on Rupee Beer which was developed by brothers Van and Sumit Sharma in conjunction with Alan Pugsley the co-founder of Shipyard Brewery.

With [Alan] Pugsley’s help, the brothers took a year to do test brews, figure out what ingredients they wanted, and finally settle on a product: Rupee Beer, which Sharma described as a refreshing and smooth lager, light on the carbonation and brewed to pair well with traditional Indian food.

The brothers’ family founded Bombay Mahal in Brunswick and operate Tandoor in Portland’s Old Port.

To learn more about Rupee Beer visit their website:

Onggi Expanding on Washington Ave

Onggi, the fermentation-focused shop on Washington Ave, has leased the former A&C Grocery building at 131 Washington Ave. The move will more than quadruple their space—from 300 sq ft to 1,300 sq ft—enabling them to expand the retail, food service and experiential elements of their business. They hope to open at the new location this spring.

The new building will have a dedicated space to hold in-person classes, workshops, and special events, and also have room for a bigger selection of fermented provisions, books, and fermentation equipment in their retail shop.

With a larger kitchen, Onggi 2.0 will offer a wider selection of pastries and beverages, add a new rotating lunch service featuring fermented foods, and produce more house-made fermented products. The new location will also have indoor seating.

Onggi was founded by Amy Ng, Erin Zobitz, and Marcus Im in April 2021. Onggi is currently located in one of The Black Box retail spaces on Washington Ave.

Upcoming Events: Frying Dutchman, Business Workshop, Pig Roast, Sushi Class, Valentine’s Day

Monday – The Frying Dutchman is scheduled to open today at 10 am.

TuesdayFork Food Lab is kicking off their food business webinar series.

Sunday – Pig Roast on the Patio is taking place at Thoroughfare, and Great Wave Sushi chef Alex Herzog is teaching a sushi making class.

February 10The Yard is hold a pre-Valentine’s Day Dueling Pianos event, and Evo is holding a dinner in support of the Dempsey Center with seatings at 5:30 or 7:45.

Valentine’s Day – this list will be continuously updated as restaurants announce their plans.

  • Black Tie – a Valentine’s take-out menu for two; order by February 8th.
  • Bravo Maine – is holding a French Bistro cooking class.
  • Chaval – will be serving a special Valentine’s Day menu, details are still TBD.
  • Elda – Valentine’s Day tasting menu; $125 per person.
  • Tiny Feats Confections – Chocolate Raspberry Tortes available for pre-order.
  • Top of the East – a 3-course take-out dinner; order by February 11th.
  • Wine Wise – a Black Truffle Wine Dinner for two in collaboration with Chaval; $250, delivery included.

March 29 – Maine’s newest cidery the Absolem Cider Company and Oxbow Brewing will collaborating on a beer/cider dinner at the Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford.

The Frying Dutchman Opens Monday

The Frying Dutchman (instagram) is scheduled to open on Monday. The new Dutch-style fry shop is located on the 2nd floor of the Public Market House.

Owners Leon Vuong and Cody Leland will be serving a menu (see above) of fries with house-made dipping sauces along with beignets, drinks and (eventually) secret menu items they’ll publicize via instagram stories. Customers that stop by on opening day will be treated to a free ice cream cannoli with their order.

This is a second business for Vuong and Leland who also launched a pop-up business called Seven Seas Food & Co (websiteinstagram) at the Fork Food Lab back this past summer.

The Frying Dutchman will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 – 4.

Food insecurity

The Sun Journal has posted a report on the fight to end hunger in Maine.

What it means, the report said, is that “each day thousands of children show up to school too hungry to learn, thousands of workers are too economically insecure to thrive, and thousands of Maine people are contending with entirely preventable ill-health.”

2022 Good Food Award Winners

Congratulations to the four Maine food producers that are 2022 Good Food Awards winners:

  • Beer – Wolfe’s Neck IPA from Maine Beer Co.
  • Chocolate – Vanilla Crème Brûlée from Bixby Chocolate
  • Fish – Ready-Cut Kelp from Atlantic Sea Farms
  • Preserves – Strawberry Preserves from Josh Pond

Ten Maine food producers were finalists in the 2022 awards program. They were selected from 1,966 entries from 42 states plus D.C. .

Most Anticipated Openings: Twelve

Vogue magazine has included Twelve (website, instagram) in their list of the America’s Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2022.

Twelve is being launched by the Prentice Hospitality Group—owners of Evo Kitchen + Bar, Evo X, and the Chebeague Island Inn—and will be located in the historic Pattern Storehouse building at the Portland Foreside development. The storehouse is building #12 and hence the name of the restaurant.

Good Beer Hunting Portland Visit

Good Beer Hunting has published a report on a recent visit to Portland.

If I have a problem, it’s time: There’s not enough of it, and I can’t eat and drink everywhere I want to. On the drive up to the city, soundtracked by Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” I kept doing mental Tetris, unsure of how I would fit everything in. And so I stand on the corner of a crowded street, the smell of Thai-style fried chicken in the air, my feet angled in the direction of my last stop—one of the best beer bars in the world. In an alternate reality, this is how I would spend every Friday night. “I could live here,” I think, for perhaps the thousandth time.

The article highlights: Allagash, Eventide, Bissell Brothers, Crispy Gai, and Novare Res.

Supporting The Sinful Kitchen

The American Journal has published a report on a fundraising event run by Brea Lu in Westbrook to support The Sinful Kitchen. The event raised more than $4,000.

Staff at Brea Lu Cafe in Westbrook worked an extra, unusual shift Tuesday and raised more than $4,000 for the employees of The Sinful Kitchen in Portland, who lost wages when a fire forced that restaurant to temporarily close just before the holidays.

Brea Lu owner Christian DeLuca said he and his staff pulled a nearly 20-hour day to offer their breakfast menu during dinnertime, when they are normally closed. The total money made during the special hours will go to the 14 Sinful Kitchen employees down the street, on Brighton Avenue at Nason’s Corner.

Q&A with CarHop’s Thomas Brems

Mainebiz has published an interview with CarHop founder Thomas Brems.

MB: How does your business model work?
TB: We have an app and a website we collect requests through. We purchase everything from the restaurant or retailer at full retail price. There’s no contractual relationship with any restaurant or retailer. One thing that’s important to us is that we don’t work with a company that doesn’t want to be listed through us. We respect their consent.