First Look at Boone’s

The Golden Dish has shared some initial impressions of Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room.

The prices at Harding’s fourth “room” are reasonable, the ambiance enticingly cool and the kitchen is making a compelling statement already.  While the restaurant may still be going through a modest spurt of growing pains, it should emerge like the other rooms in Smith’s dining empire: reliably excellent fare that’s served in a stylish setting to a discerning dining public.

Reviews: Vignola & The Grill Room

Peter Peter Portland Eater has published a review of The Grill Room,

Regardless of your financial situation, you’ll definitely want to go to The Grill Room for the wood-grilled brie. The brie was out-of-this-world delicious and was only $9 by itself. It is very much worth that. Double your bill by having a signature drink and you’ll have an outstanding start to a great night without spending all your dough. If you’ve got more cash to spend and are looking for a special treat, they’ll serve you up a multiple course, tasty meal that will leave you happy and full.

and the Press Herald has published a bar review of Vignola/Cinque Terre.

The expression “you get what you pay for” rings true for Vignola Cinque Terre — but in a good way. Yes, it’s more upscale, and maybe the typical cheaper beer options or happy hour deals aren’t available, but the extra dollars will be spent on service, atmosphere and overall attention to ingredients and detail.

Under Construction: Salvage BBQ

The Munjoy Hill News reports that Salvage BBQ should be open before the end of the month.

“It’s the calm before the storm,” said Garry Bowcott, of the lull before the opening of the Salvage Barbeque later this month.  Salvage Barbeque, 919 Congress Street, is the third restaurant owned by the well-liked Jay Villani. And both Villani and Bowcott are confident it will be open by Labor Day and quite likely next week.

El Rayo to Open Restaurant in Scarborough

El Rayo (website, facebook, twitter) has leased a 4,500 square foot building on Route 1 in Scarborough’s Oak Hill neighborhood where they plan to open a second El Rayo restaurant. Owner Tod Dana tells me they’re planning to stay close to the concept that’s been a success in Portland with “a few twists and surprises” thrown in for good measure.

El Rayo hasn’t yet set an opening date for the Scarborough location, but hope to be up and running sometime in the Spring of 2014. Once the Scarborough location is open they’ll be looking for other towns where their restaurant would be a fit.

This news comes on the heals of yesterday’s announcement that Pom’s Thai Taste will be opening a branch in Falmouth, and an increasing number of restaurant opening in South Portland including an Otto Pizza.

Mainers Feeding Mainers & Recreating Little Lad’s

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article by Joe Yonan about his addiction to and attempts to deconstruct the formula for Little Lad’s herbal popcorn,

Then we slowed down and concentrated as we tasted, thinking instead of shoveling. Okay, dill is definitely among the herbs. And the nutty, kinda cheesy flavor had to be that staple of vegans everywhere: nutritional yeast. A closer look at the contents of the transparent bag and the telltale golden flakes inside confirmed it. But is that really all that goes into it?

and an article about Mainers Feeding Mainers, a program run by the Good Shepherd Food Bank that hires Maine farmers to raise produce for them at wholesale prices.

It’s an innovative initiative that aims to provide fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables to Mainers grappling with hunger. What makes the program stand out is rather than just seeking donations from farms, the program works with farmers to pay them a fair price for their crops.

MJ’s Wine Bar

Dispatch has published an article about MJ’s Wine Bar.

The space itself is nothing short of inviting. It would’ve been incredibly easy to f[***] up the feng shui when introducing so many different levels of seating. The large granite bar top, a communal table at the same height, lower tables, a casual leather couch set up and an outdoor patio miraculously don’t clash at all. The room is open and designed to take you on a journey to every place their products were birthed.

MJ’s is holding their Grand Opening Party this Friday.

Fish Market/Restaurant on Maine Wharf?

A report in today’s Press Herald suggests we may one day see a retail fish market and restaurant operating on the Maine Wharf.

[Developer Pat] Tinsman said he has received interest from people who want to open a fish market close to Commercial Street and a seafood restaurant next door…Tinsman said interest from the prospective restaurateur and fish market operator is “serious” but no formal agreements have been signed.