Public Market House

The number and diversity of vendors operating in the Public Market House has expanded significantly since they opened. It’s now home to Ameera Bread, Big Sky, Bow Street, Crepe Cafe, Daily Greens, Kamasouptra, Maiz, Pho Co, Sticky Sweet.

The mix and layout is set to change again. Bow Street is soon to move out to their new building at 495 Forest Ave and Cafe Crepe is making room downstairs for Maine Squeeze to move from the second floor. Those changes will free up two spots in the Market for new vendors.

Reviews: Benkay, Tuscan Table

Peter Peter Portland Eater has reviewed Benkay, and

Despite the solid food and strong menu, Benkay now has a totally different aura specifically because the inside is much more upscale. It looks beautiful and feels very comfortable because of that. It’s not hard to imagine sitting at either bar and spending some time ordering lots of sushi or maybe a sampling of libations. It would be difficult not to have an enjoyable stay, especially if you want like to sprawl out in a place with some class.

the Press Herald has reviewed Tuscan Table.

If you can get over the idea of coming to the Mall for an incredible bar and dining experience (and really, you should get over that), Tuscan Table will be an amazing night out. The food extended beyond typical Italian fare, and the drinks are cleverly designed and expertly mixed. You will not regret your choice to drink or dine at this beautiful establishment.

PPPE has also posted a report on the new bar menu at Emilitsa.

Stella Hernandez on Wine

Wine & Spirits checked in with Stella Hernandez at Lolita about how some of the selections on her wine list.

Stella Hernandez and her husband were working as architects until 12 years ago, when they left St. Louis for, Maine. Despite the fact that they barely had enough experience to get insurance and the city’s restaurant scene hadn’t exploded yet, they opened a small restaurant, Bar Lola. “It was like the wild west,” says Hernandez. Four years ago, they closed Lola to open Lolita, an even smaller place with the kitchen, wine and ingredients on display. Just one block from their original spot, the duo have been introducing Portlandians to bottles from both hemispheres.

Beer Releases from Bissell and Oxbow

Two new beer releases are taking place this Saturday:

  • Bissell Brothers is releasing Preserve & Protect, “a 7.8% IPA built off the blueprint of our 4th-anniversary one-off. This beer gives us a chance to utilize the pineapple flavors of Denali on a larger base, with background support from Citra and Vic Secret. The label features an illustration by Heidi Geist featuring our father, recently retired as director of Baxter State Park”.
  • Oxbow is releasing Blacklight, “a 6% European hopped dark Farmhouse Ale brewed with oats and midnight wheat, called Blacklight”

Valley Chinese Closed

WCYY has reported that Valley Chinese Cuisine on Forest Ave has gone out of business.

This will come as some fairly shocking news for lovers of the Chinese food favorite. So why is it closing? Well, sources tell us, the owners just want to retire. For those that frequent the establishment, they know it has been a family owned and operated restaurant. You could pop in for lunch or dinner at any hour and see the same faces behind the counter. The long hours and strenuous seven-days-a-week schedule led the owners to decide that it’s time to move on.

Dunstan Tap & Table

The Press Herald has posted an update on Dunstan Tap & Table (website, facebook, instagram) the new restaurant under construction in Scarborough by the owners of Shay’s in Monument Square.

Brenerman said the couple had looked for a suitable location for about six or seven years. They noticed a need in Scarborough for a pub-style restaurant, and other businesses had begun to move into the Dunstan development.

Brenerman said Shay’s is a place where regulars congregate and everyone knows one another, an atmosphere they would like to foster at Dunstan Tap & Table.

For more information also check out this artcle by Mainebiz.

NYT: Thompson’s Point

The New York Times has published an article about Thompson’s Point.

For decades, drivers in Portland, Me., sped by Thompson’s Point, a forlorn peninsula jutting into the Fore River just west of I-295. Described as “the biggest dump in Portland” in the local independent monthly The Bollard in 2011, the area is today the city’s most unlikely hot spot. In 2015, a new outdoor concert venue began staging shows on the riverbank; this past summer’s slate of 14 performances included Wilco, the XX and Alabama Shakes. And nearby, an abandoned brick warehouse has been transformed into an entertainment row, with food-and-drink establishments alongside a peculiar cryptozoology museum and a circus school. One more reason to stop: a new ice skating rink open through March 4.

The article highlights Bissell Brothers, Big J’s, Cellardoor Winery, and Stroudwater Distillery.

10 Years Ago in February

Chronicling the food scene has amassed a lot of information. Now that PFM has passed its 10-year anniversary, I’ve launched this new monthly column looking back at what the key stories were this month a decade ago.

Here’s a look at the top stories from February 2008:

  • Emilitsa opened on February 8th, bringing Greek fine dining and an all Greek wine list to Portland. Type A Divervsions wrote, “Our expectations were exceeded on the night we dined; we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food, the exceptional service and the upscale decor.”
  • Portland Food Map first published its list of Sunday Brunch destinations.
  • The Atrium at The Cedars, a retirement community, won top honors from the judges in both the Best Chili and Best Chowder categories at the 15th annual Great Chili and Chowder Challenge.
  • Una kicked-off a project to expand the cocktail bar into the space next door to them on Fore Street which had formerly been occupied by Portland Pie.
  • The then anonymous writer of food blog Portland Psst was revealed to be Peter A. Smith.
  • The Maine legislature considered a bill to legalize home delivery of beer and wine.

Under Construction: Maine Lobster Shack

After 3 years in development, an ownership change and a name change the lobster shack under construction at 425 Fore Street continues to move forward. The Maine Lobster Shack (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has applied for a liquor license and has recently started recruiting staff. The 38-seat restaurant will also have additional seating for 14 outdoors in the Summer.

Here’s the draft menu (pages 50-51) supplied with the application: