Portland magazine has reviewed Roustabout.
Fritto Misto ($13), billed as an appetizer, is a heaping plate full of goodness. Octopus, calamari, mussels, and veggies are fried to golden brown in a light batter and accompanied by smoked-pepper aioli with just the right kick.
The current issue of Portland also includes their annual look at ahead at some of the coming year’s restaurant openings and food events.
I’ve scanned through the records for the past year and here’s my summary of the key events and trends. Perhaps I’ve just gotten acclimated to the pace, but 2015 seemed a touch less fast paced than 2014 0r 2013 had been.
- Best New Restaurant – The Honey Paw is a shear pleasure to dine at. The excellent food crafted by a chefs who are clearly passionate about what they do, warm hospitality provided by the friendly professional staff and high energy beautiful space make it easy to select The Honey Paw as the best new restaurant of 2015.
- Breweries/Distilleries – The brewing and distilling industries are a growing and vital part of the Portland area food community. The city is home to 13 breweries, 3 distilleries. More are on their way. Fore River Brewing, Mast Landing Brewing, Gruit, Foulmouthed Brewing, Second Pint Brewing and Lone Pine Brewing are all under development as are Hardshore Distilling, Stroudwater Spirits and a tasting room for the Mid-coast’s Cellardoor Winery. Insert your favorite Neal Dow rolling in his grave reference here as it’s joyously well justified.
- Washington Ave – The little in-town stretch of Washington Ave had been a bit of a backwater for many years. All that changed in 2015. Oxbow, Maine & Loire, Terlingua, Roustabout all opened. A Lively Palate, the Drifter’s Wife, a honey production facility and Hardshore Distillery are under construction and other projects are in earlier stages of development. Nearby on Congress Street Lee Farrington is opening LB Kitchen and down the hill in East Bayside I expect we’ll see continued businesses development including Lone Pine Brewing and perhaps a restaurant on the first floor of the new building on the corner of Anderson and Fox.
- The Suburbs – restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs aren’t limiting their horizons to the Portland peninsula. As good locations in town become more scarce and their rental rates go up there’s been a renewed interest in the outer neighborhoods of Portland and the suburbs:
- Mitchell Kaldrovitch opened MK Kitchen in Gorham
- In Westbrook Catbird Creamery reopened, Northspore and Rosen’s moved in and Mast Landing Brewing is under development
- Custom Deluxe, Biscuit & Co, Round Turn Distilling and Portland Pie joined the Palace Diner, Elements and Rabelais Books in Biddeford.
- Fore River Brewing and Foulmouthed Brewing choose to locate in South Portland.
- Scarborough has provided a home for El Rayo, Casco Bay Butter and On the Vine Market.
- The development of Thompson Point has resulted in a flurry of announcements including a tasting room for Cellardoor, Stroudwater Spirits, The Point, The Rink and at least 2 more new businesses are expected to announce plans for Thompson’s Point in 2016.
- I think the upcoming opening of Woodford Food & Beverage is just the first of many new restaurants we’ll see open on that stretch of outer Forest Ave in the next few years.
- Upcoming in 2016 – The pace of new restaurant and bar projects looks likely to continue in 2016 unabated. 30+ new ventures are already being tracked on the PFM Under Construction list and I’m aware of several other ventures in earlier stages of development. The ones I’m most looking forward to in 2016 are:
- The Purple House – Krista Kern Desjarlais’ wood-fired bakery and cafe in North Yarmouth.
- Scales – Sam Hayward and Dana Street’s new waterfront 145-seat “American brasserie”.
- Rhum – a tiki bar being launched by Jason Loring and Michael Fraser with the strong team of chef Frank Anderson, front of house manager Rebecca Ambrosi and bar manager Sam Babcock.
- Drifter’s Wife – the new natural wine bar being constructed by Maine & Loire in the front half of their retail space on Washington Ave.
- Woodford F&B – a neighborhood restaurant under development in Woodford Square.
Notable Events of 2015
- January – Draft magazine named Novare Res to their list of America’s Best Beer Bars, Kate McCarty and Lora Burns founded the Portland Spirits Society, New England Distilling began barrel aging their first batch of bourbon, David Levi served a dinner at the James Beard House, In’finiti was renamed Liquid Riot Bottling Company, Maine Craft Distilling released a barrel-aged gin called Sprigge, Snowmageddon happened, Tiqa and The Treehouse opened, and Full Belly Deli closed after 28 years in business.
- February – 10 Maine semi-finalists were announced for the 2015 Beard awards, Duckfat and The Cheese Iron were on the Men’s Journal list of 50 Best Sandwiches in America, the PSO collaborated with Hunt & Alpine to launch Symphony & Spirits series, Vignola/Cinque Terre won the Incredible Breakfast Cook-off, Pete Sultenfuss opened the Other Side Delicatessen, and Sangillo’s closed after 62 years in business.
- March – Vinland hosted a Mothers & Thieves pop-up, 4 Maine nominees were announced for the 2015 James Beard Awards, the Maine Sunday Telegram published an update on the city’s restaurant inspection program, the Edible Book Contest took place, East Ender, Isa, Home Catering and The Sinful Kitchen opened, and Tony’s Donuts closed their South Portland store and announced plans to expand their operation on Bolton Street.
- April – chefs Damian Sansonetti and Chris Gould were nominees in the Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef competition, Allagash was featured in a Wired magazine article about wild fermented beer, we learned about the history of Rockin’ Ricky’s Tavern, chefs from Emilitsa, Central Provisions and Piccolo competed in the Boston Lamb Jam, Andrew Zimmern included Salvage in his list of top barbecue spots in the country, the city updated rules on sidewalk dining, the Bangor Daily News reported on Maine’s growing local grain industry, and Wing Lee II and The Honey Paw opened, and Tawakal Halal, Arabian Days, Discount Halal and Taqueria Tequila closed.
- May – chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier cancelled plans to open a restaurant in Portland, PFM won the Best Blog and Best Food Blog categories in the Portland Phoenix readership poll, Tandem Bakery was featured in the May issue of Bon Appétit, Hugo’s, Miyake, Eventide and Central Provisions are included on the Opinionated About Dining list of the 200 Best Restaurants in the US, Standard Baking celebrates their 20th anniversary, Neil Spillane and Eric Holstein shared their plans for the Forq Food Lab, and Milly’s Skillet, Sea Snacks, Rosen’s Deli, Catbird Creamery, Lois’ Marketplace, the West End Rosemont and the newly renovated Bard Coffee open.
- June – Bite into Maine competed in the Lobster Roll Rumble, the 2nd Annual Rum Riots took place, Tandem hosted a Pies-n-Thighs pop-up, Allagash celebrated their 20th anniversary, a team started work on Portland’s UNESCO Creative Cities application, Ramen Suzukiya, Lincolns, Evo, Portland Patisserie, Tempo Dulu, Abilene, Joy’s Crepe Cafe, Terlingua and Figgy’s opened, the Mami food truck and both the Yellow Cart and High Roller food cart launched.
- July – Kate McCarty published Distilled in Maine, Central Provisions (30), Eventide (32) and Caiola’s (97) made it onto the OAD Frsh List, the namesake of Fresh Samanthas has launched the Sam Lives! line of juices, a study found that 58% of tourists come to Maine for food and drink, Honey Paw collaborated with Kaki Lima on an Indonesian dinner, the new Soakology, Old Port Slice Bar, Pockets and Yogurt Valley opened, Portersfield Cider began selling at the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market, and mobile food ventures, Morsel’s, Snappy’s, BP’s Shuck Shack and Brûlée Bike launched.
- August – Maine cheesemakers took home 10 awards from this year’s American Cheese Society competition, Krista Kern Desjarlais announced her plans to open The Purple House, East Ender and Tandem made it on to the BA list of 50 best new restaurants, Central Provisions served an Outstanding in the Field dinner, chef Yana Gilbuena served a Filipino pop-up dinner, Rising Tide released of Mockingfish, Green Elephant opened a 2nd location in Portsmouth, and the owners of Otto Pizza opened Ocho Burrito.
- September – Chef Masa Miyake along with Lauren Fensterstock and Aaron Stephan staged Inside Outside Above Below, Bowdoin acquired The Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery, the Sunday Telegram published an article on the shortage of qualified cooks in Maine, Gather published a guide to Portland, Vivian’s Drive-In changed hands, Cantillon Zwanze Day took place, Le Petit Thé food cart launched, 953 Congress Street and the new Riverton Taco Trio opened, and El Rayo, Mama’s CrowBar and GoBerry closed.
- October – Maine author and farmer Eliot Coleman was the recipient of a James Beard Leadership Award, the Court of Master Sommeliers taught the Introductory Sommelier course in Portland, the 2nd Annual Heirloom Apple Tasting took place, Rouge Tomate held a pop-up dinner at Vinland, Imbibe published a feature article on Portland, PFM published a report on the James Beard’s visit to Portland in 1964, Harvard produced a study on the Maine food industry, Matt Ginn from Evo was named the Lobster Chef of the Year, Chez Okapi opened.
- November – Piccolo served a dinner at the Beard House, 8 Maine food producers became finalists for the 2016 Good Food Awards, the 2015 edition of Portland Beer Week took place, Draft magazine included Mockingfish from Rising Tide and Beer II from MBC for their list top 25 beers of 2015, Fore River Brewing received license approval for their South Portland brewery, Brittany Feltovic won the barista latte art competition, the IFEC held their annual meeting in Portland, 5 women chefs prepared the Fabulous Femmes dinner at Flanagan’s Table, chef Mike Smith was hired as the chef de cuisine at Scales, Mast Landing announced plans to open in Westbrook, Peter Zinn sold Po’ Boys to Chris Beterra, Eater roving restaurant critic Bill Addison reported on his visit to Portland, and Roustabout, Tomaso’s and Veranda Noodle House opened.
- December – Hunt & Alpine served a dinner at Beard House, Urban Sugar successfully completed at $25,000 kickstarter campaign, Joe’s Smoke Shop closed pending construction of a new building, the Winter Farmers’ Market opened at a new location in East Bayside, Fore Street was included in the La Liste ranking of the top 1,000 restaurants in the world, Star Chefs named the Jakarta at Tempo Dulu on of the Top 5 Cocktails of 2015, SmartAssset declared Portland the best beer city in the US, and Eric Desjarlais opened Intervale Mercantile Company.
Top 10 Articles
- Other Side Delicatessen – first word on Pete Sultenfuss’ plans to open the Other Side Delicatessen (January 5)
- Woodfords F&B – details on Woodford menu and floor plan (July 17)
- Taco Trio in Riverton – first word on Taco Trio’s plans to open a 2nd location (June 8)
- The Honey Paw – opening of Honey Paw (April 15)
- Roustabout – first word on Roustabout (May 15)
- Snowmageddon – the PFM round-up of eateries open during Snowmageddon (January 17)
- Maine & Loire – opening announcement for Maine & Loire (January 5)
- Rosen’s in Westbrook – initial report on Rosen’s Deli plans to open in Westbrook (April 13)
- Chez Okapi – announcement that Congolese restaurant Chez Okapi is open (October 5)
- Petite Jacqueline – report that Petite Jacqueline is moving (July 25)
Top 25 Restaurants
- Isa (-)
- The Honey Paw (-)
- Terlingua (-)
- Sur Lie (21)
- Tiqa (-)
- Bao Bao Dumpling House (8)
- East Ender (18)
- Union (-)
- Evo (-)
- Ebb & Flow (37)
- Abilene (-)
- Tempo Dulu (-)
- The Treehouse (-)
- Central Provisions (1)
- Five Fifty-Five (17)
- Empire Chinese Kitchen (5)
- Piccolo (14)
- Lolita (6)
- Outliers Eatery (7)
- Petite Jacqueline (22)
- Back Bay Grill (10)
- ArtemisiaCafe (42)
- Walter’s (35)
- Figgy’s (-)
- Caiola’s (11)
The numbers in parentheses indicate their rank last year. The order of the list is determined by the number of times these restaurants were looked up on PFM during the year.
- Stanford Brown, 95 – a Yarmouth beekeeper who ran Brown’s Bee Farm.
- Edward R. Anania, 80 – co-founder of Anania’s Variety.
- Peter E. Anania, 85 – co-founder of Anania’s Variety.
- Ben Alfiero, 59 – co-owner of Harbor Fish Market.
- Andrew Regios, 58 – co-owner of Pizza Villa.
- Marya Baron – author of Accidental Vegetables.
- Edward Reilly, 93 – longtime owner of Reilly’s Bakery in Biddeford.
- Richard M. Rogers, 73 – founder of The Rogers Collection.
- Paul Trusiani, 81 – founder of Paul’s Food Center in 1975.
- Anthony J. Napolitano, 79 – founder Maria’s Ristorante in 1960.
- Mary Profenno, 78 – co-founder Profenno’s Pizzeria in Westbrook in 1962.
For some other perspectives on the past year see The Golden Dish, Eater Maine, Portland Phoenix and Peter Peter Portland Eater.
Here are links to the Portland Food Map year in review reports for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.