Izakaya Minato Opens Today

Izakaya Minato (facebook, instagram) is scheduled to open today. The 36-seat Japanese restaurant is located at 54 Washington Ave next to Terlingua.

Owners Elaine Alden and Thomas Takashi Cooke moved to Portland from San Francisco where Cooke had been the head chef at Tsunami, a sushi restaurant. The couple also spent 3 months in Japan where he staged at an izakaya in Tokyo also called Tsumamina.

Here’s a look at the menu:

2nd Other Side Delicatessen Opens Today

A second Other Side Delicatessen (website, facebook, twitter, instagram) is set to open this morning  in the West End at 235 Vaughan Street in the space formerly occupied by the Vaughan Street Variety.

As at the original Veranda Street location, the West End Other Side will be a combination butcher shop and deli selling sandwiches and deli meats and charcuterie by the pound as well as “prepared meals to go, hand made pastas and other sundries to round out a full meal to take home.”

The West End location will be open MondayFriday 8-7 and Saturday 8-6.

This Week’s Events: Minato, Bitter’s Workshop, Mast Landing Dinner, Corn Tortilla Workshop

Monday – there will be a press conference about the Portland Food Council at 4pm.

TuesdayIzakaya Minato is scheduled to open, and Vena’s is teaching a bitters workshop.

Wednesday – Terlingua is holding a Mast Landing beer dinner.

Saturday – a corn tortilla workshop is taking place at SMCC as is the Winter Farmers’ Market and there will be an Allagash tap takeover at Central Provisions.

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.

Portland Food Council

A new organization called the Portland Food Council launches on Monday with a press conference at Fork Food Lab, 4-4:30pm, followed by an open house

According to the press release,

The Portland Food Council aims to foster a healthy community by advancing the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the food system that supports Portland. Evolving from the Mayor’s Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System started in 2012, the Portland Food Council works to shape food policy that will create resiliency, sustainability, and vibrancy in Portland’s food system. The council brings together community members, Portland government, food producers, and other businesses to collaborate on and shape laws and policies that affect our food system.

Reviews: Big Fin Poké, Evo, Terlingua, Downtown Lounge, Tipo, Portland Mash Tun, Caiola’s

The Press Herald has reviewed Big Fin Poké and Downtown Lounge,

If this restaurant were in Portland, it would be swamped. The food is well worth the short drive to Westbrook though, and I hope people will support it. We need more fast casual choices like this that go beyond the typical fast food burger joint. I’m already fantasizing about my next poke bowl – chicken, shrimp, honey miso sauce, crab salad, crispy onion and…

The Blueberry Files has reviewed Evo,

All in all, EVO was a hit. Even if you still see EVO as a special occasion place, stop in for one of their speciality cocktails and sample a dish. I bet it’ll win you over, just like it did me.

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Tipo,

The food was really good, but also slightly different than what is being offered in the Portland area which makes them an easy choice for an occasional visit. They’re carving out a space in the Italian food market, but since it’s outside the standard lasagna and linguine fare, it doesn’t immediately feel so confined to what you would normally expect from that type of restaurant.

the Kennebec Journal has reviewed Terlingua,

Terlingua restaurant brings a little bit of Texas to Portland. They smoke their barbecued meats daily, but plan on getting there early because those sell out every night. The Barbecue Board will let you know what is available and hot off the smoker that day. But do not overlook the rest of their menu items; they stand on their own merit.

The 207 Foodie has reviewed the Portland Mash Tun,

Mash Tun is truly a hidden gem of Portland, with an incredibly friendly owner, knowledgeable bartenders, and genuine servers.

and the Portland Phoenix has reviewed Caiola’s.

But it feels like a summer day at the old Caiola’s when you taste the bright seaside flavors of an appetizer of big marinated shrimp on thin whole grain toasts. Celery and watercress kept the flavors light, while the toast lends a hint of earthiness.

Granny’s Closing

Granny’s Burritos plans to close their shop in the Public Market House, according to a report from the Press Herald.

Granny’s Burritos, a fixture in Portland since 1995, will close either at the end of the day Sunday or Monday, depending on how long the food lasts…

The Public Market House was Granny’s fifth location. Owner Chris Godin started on Market Street in the lobby of Granny Killam’s, moved to 10 Exchange Street, then to 420 Fore Street, was closed for a while then for a short time operated at 653 Congress Street, closed again and most recently landed at the PMH in Monument Square.

Renovation and Renewal

Whether it’s as simple as a new coat of paint or a more in depth kitchen remodel, the slower months at the start of the year are when some restaurant temporarily close to do renovations that set them up well for the rest of the year.

Here are a few we’ve heard of:

Local 188 – closed for a few days in early January to remodel and reconfigure their open kitchen.

David’s – closed earlier this month and expects to reopen in February. The renovations will include “hand-forged artisan iron work, decorative etched stainless steel, reclaimed wood, new lighting and a refreshed open view into the kitchen”

Caiola’s – the new owners plan to close February 19 to renovate the dining room and kitchen in the 11-year old restaurant. During their final weeks they will “bringing back some of the Caiola’s favorites that you have known from over the years. Come and say good-by with some familiar flavors.”

Evo – plans to close January 29 through February 2 to improve their ventilation system.

Artemisia Cafe – is nearly finished with renovations to their kitchen that began in December and expect to reopen very soon.