Review of Empire Chinese Kitchen

Booze, Fish & Coffee has published a review of Empire Chinese Kitchen.

Once the site of Portland’s “first deluxe Chinese restaurant” (also named Empire, 1916-1953), this new spot mixes dim sum with a few familiar favorites. Best items on the menu:  pastrami egg roll, green beans, spinach dumplings. 575 Congress St. in Portland.

They also delve into the history of Chinese restaurants in Portland and a quick overview of the different types of Chinese cuisine. They also make an impassioned plea for restaurants to invest more time on keeping their staff well informed about the menu items they’re serving.

BDN: Portland Hunt & Alpine

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club.

The sleek cocktail lounge on Market Street has been shaking up the downtown drink scene since September. With craft spirits from across the country and state, owner Andrew Volk said he hopes to do for cocktails what the Port City has done for beer and food.

“We want to focus on one thing we do well and give local distilleries a stage,” said Volk, who has bartended his way across the country, including a high-profile gig at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore.

BBQ: Salvage & Elsmere

The Bangor Daily News has published an article about the grow selection of Maine barbeque destinations.

Chef Josh Craigue, sliding ribs into Salvage’s indoor smoker on a recent Friday afternoon, took a minute to explain.

“We are getting the basics down and then will add a Maine touch. That’s what we are excited about,” said Craigue. “We have the an opportunity to put Maine on the map as a barbecue destination.”

Brewers and the Shutdown

The Press Herald has published an article on the impact the shutdown is having on brewers.

An obscure agency known as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau – a division of the U.S. Department of Treasury that oversees breweries – has furloughed all but 35 of its 483 employees since Oct. 1. That means no one is available to approve new breweries or what are known as certification of label approvals, which any beer must have before it can be sold. The applications for the certification typically come in at a rate of about 400 per day.

Interview with Jack Barber

Bank of America has published a Q&A with Mainely Burgers co-owner Jack Barber.

We came up with this crazy idea because we were meeting up in Boston at these food trucks. We thought: ‘Why don’t we try to bring these to Portland? No one’s done it yet.’ We seized the market opportunity, pooled our resources with friends and family, and purchased a food truck. At the time, Portland didn’t allow for them. In December, a friend of ours in the food industry suggested that we target a local beach.

Under Construction: 211 Danforth


211 Danforth Street, the current home of Vespucci’s Market, is under contract for sale and hopeful new owner, Keith Hickman has submitted a zoning variance request for a change of use to a restaurant. If approved, Hickman intends on opening a 64-seat restaurant and bar called 211 Danforth. Josh Kaplan will be serving as the chef at 211 Danforth.

Here’s an excerpt from Hickman’s application:

We firmly believe that there is a need and a market available for a quality and affordable neighborhood dining option in this area. Furthermore, we are confident that 211 Danforth Restaurant will be welcome addition to the West End and surrounding neighborhoods.


211 Danforth would add to the growing cluster of restaurants currently anchored by Ruski’s (1982), Ohno Cafe (2004), Outliers (2013) and Omi’s (2013). There are other spaces in the neighborhood that would also lend themselves well to further additions to the food and dining options in the area.

Update: For additional reporting see Maine a la Carte.

This Week’s Event: Resurgam, Austrian Wine, High & Mighty, MSBA Annual Meeting, Caledonia Happy Hour, Harvest, Natural Wines, Miyake Farm Dinner

Tuesday — Allagash is releasing the latest batch of their Resurgam coolchip beer, and Local Sprouts is hosting the monthly Local Foods Networking Breakfast.

Wednesday — Hugo’s is serving an Austrian wine dinner, and the Monument Square Farmers Market is taking place in the morning.

Thursday — the Bier Cellar is holding a High & Mighty beer tasting, the head distiller of Caledonia Spirits in Vermont will be Hunt & Alpine for a special Caledonia themed happy hour, there will be a wine and cheese tasting at the Public Market House, and the Great Lost Bear will be showcasing the beer of Otter Creek.

Friday — Novare Res will be serving a wide area of ciders at their Fall Harvest event.

Saturday — the annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers Association is taking place, Tandem and Rosemont are collaborating on an Austrian wine tasting event, there will be a wine tasting at Browne Trading, and the Deering Oaks Farmers Market is taking place.

SundayMiyake will be serving a farm dinner in Freeport at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Fernet Branca Industry Night is taking place at Hunt & Alpine, and American Sommelier is teaching a class on organic and biodynamic natural wines.

Portland Taste Tours (facebook, twitter) launched recently. On October 22 they’re organizing a tour of the Rooms restaurants led by Harding Lee Smith. They’re also partnering with the Maine Brew Bus on a traveling beer dinner on featuring Rising Tide beer and food at Outliers Eatery, Little Tap House, Portland and Rochester and Love Cupcakes.

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.