Anna E. Russo, 93

Anna E. Russo (article, obituary) passed away last week. Russo and her husband Alphonso ran Al’s Luncheonette on India Street from the 1940s until 1964.

She married Alphonso Russo in 1942, and the couple had six children. Together they operated Al’s Luncheonette at 45 India St. until 1964, when they sold the business to a neighborhood man who was hawking Italian items from the trunk of his car, said her son Joseph Russo. It would become Micucci’s grocery.

Review of Babylon

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Babylon.

Babylon is one of very few restaurants in Maine that serves halal meat, important to devout Muslims. The atmosphere is a bit shabby, but the judicious use of unusual and traditional spices keeps the meal interesting. Prices are low, and a couple of deceptively simple dishes, such as the fowul, are quite good.

Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine

Kate McCarty, author of The Blueberry Files, is working on a book about the Portland food scene entitled Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine.

The book is published by The History Press and due out June of 2014. In 40,000 words, I’ll tell the history of the Portland food scene and highlight some of its interesting players. I’ve been interviewing farmers, fisherman, chefs… all of whom bring something different and interesting to our vibrant food scene.

Mike Roylos and the Buttler

Mike Roylos, owner of the Spartan Grill, was in today’s Press Herald in connection with his invention of the Buttler, a device to collect cigarette butts outside his restaurant in Monument Square.

Roylos’ invention, which he calls the Sidewalk Buttler, is a tubular container, painted to look like a mustachioed butler in a bow tie and bowler hat. It’s capped on both ends, strapped by metal to a utility pole, and has a circular hole where the butler’s mouth would be. Smokers deposit their spent cigarette butts there.