Uncle Billy’s Leasing Abilene

Uncle Billy’s Bar-B-Que (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has leased the former Abilene space at 539 Deering Ave in Woodford’s Corner where they plan to operate a pop-up restaurant while their permanent location on Cumberland Ave is under construction.

The Uncle Billy’s pop-up will open as soon as some light renovations and inspections are complete and run through the end of the summer. It will serve a scaled back version of the menu that will eventually served on Cumberland Ave.

Maine Food for Thought

Portland’s new food tour company, Maine Food for Thought (website, instagram, facebook) will start selling tickets on their website on April 27th. Their first season of tours will run June through November.

Founders Sarah and Bryce Hach are working with a real strong line-up restaurants: East Ender, Evo, Piccolo, Scales, Solo Italiano and Union. They’ll also be partnering with a number of other nonprofit, education and research organizations providing the information that will inform the back stories shared on the tours.

Maine Food for Thought tour goers will get to experience a ” series of locally sourced and harvested dishes” and “will learn how Maine’s people, ecology, and economy interact to shape a celebrated food destination”.

Under Construction: Locally Sauced

The Portland Phoenix has interviewed Charlie and Aimee Ely, owners of Locally Sauced, who are trading in their food truck for a brick and mortar location on Thompson’s Point.

The Phoenix: What was it about Thompson’s Point that made it an appealing choice as a spot to finally put down roots?
Aimee Ely: There were a lot of factors. Our initial decision to seek out a brick and mortar space was the fact that catering is super seasonal. We were hoping to find something of a routine for the sake of our kids. What we were doing was awesome and a lot of fun, but very unpredictable and sporadic. When the opportunity for this space opened up it felt like a perfect situation given the relationship we had with Bissell and the Point already.

Definitive Brewing Co.

The Press Herald checked in with Definitive Brewing on the upcoming launch of their Industrial Way brewery and how they hope to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.

[Michael] Rankin, the CEO of Definitive, rounded up a group of 11 investors and bought a building on Industrial Way, across the street from Allagash and next door to Foundation, Austin Street and Battery Steele breweries. Definitive hired Dylan Webber – a former top brewer at Maine Beer Co. and Mast Landing – to be the director of brewing operations. And Definitive is diving into the market with a 15-barrel brewhouse and four 40-barrel fermenters, which is enough to make more than 1,000 gallons a week.

Definitive Brewing is slated to open around Memorial Day.

Under Construction: Chocolats Passion

Chocolats Passion (website, facebook, instagram) has leased the former Farm Truck Juice space at 189 Brackett Street. Owner Catherine Wiersema hopes to open her French chocolaterie shop sometime in September.

Wiersema founded Chocolats Passion in Massachusetts and moved the business to Portland in 2017.

According to the CP website Wiersema is,

an honors graduate of the Professional Chocolatier program at the renowned Ecole Chocolat, and also went through their rigorous Quality Assurance course, which is specifically designed for chocolate confections. More recently, I studied in Montreal with world-renowned chocolatier Ramon Morato. Study breaks help hone my creative edge and broaden chocolate horizons!

Upcoming Restaurants: Bob’s Forage, Lio, Paciarino, Sagamore

We’re already seeing hints of Spring and along with the crocuses a number of new restaurants are breaking through the surface due to open mid-year. Here’s highlights of some of the more high profile ventures in development. For a full list of projects you can always check the Under Construction List. Of course, new restaurant projects are getting started all the time so stay tuned.

Bob’s Clam Hut – 109 Cumberland Ave
Michael Landgarten has purchased the former Three Buoys building at the corner of Washington and Cumberland where he’s planning to open a second location of Bob’s Clam Hut. The building is undergoing significant renovation and Landgarten hopes to have it ready for an opening in time for the summer tourist season. Bob’s has been in business since 1956. They’re promising to serve up “fresh, classic fried seafood with straightforward, award-winning simplicity”. More Info

Forage Market – 123 Washington Ave
Forage has has leased space at 123 Washington Ave where they plan to open a Portland branch of their popular Lewiston bakery and cafe. Owner Allen Smith is excited to open on Washington Ave because as he explains, “it feels like a place we can be part of a neighborhood and get to know our customers by name. And we love the camaraderie of the amazing group of food entrepreneurs already on the street.” Forage is perhaps best know for their bagels which Saveur tipped for the best in the country. In addition, Smith and his team lead by Portland store manager Laura Posiak also plans to serve breakfast sandwiches and hand-made pastries in the morning and European-style market sandwiches along with soups and salads for lunch. Smith has ordered a wood-fired masonry oven from Spain which recently arrived in the US and is on its way to Portland. Smith plans to open Forage “as soon as the mortar is dry”.

Lio – 3-5 Spring St
Chef Cara Stadler chef/owner of Bao Bao and Tao Yuan leased space at 6 City Center last year to open a wine-driven restaurant called Lio (instagram, facebook) “where the focus falls on wine first, with cuisine created to match”. The first floor of the space will house a companion retail store where diners can buy wines served at the restaurant. The name Lio is the word for 6 in Mandarin. Early PR for the restaurant indicated Lio will serve “a meticulously curated wine list, drawing inspiration from wine regions around the globe, and a menu that will be seasonally inspired and designed to complement the wines.” Stadler recently shared a look at the floor plans on instagram. The restaurant was initially slated to open last year but the schedule was impacted by construction delays.

Paciarino– 505 Fore St
Owners Enrico Barbiero and Fabiana de Savino have leased the former Zapoteca space where they plan to open a new restaurant which will serve Paciarino pasta as well as “brick-oven pizza, risotto, arancini, gnocchi and other items”. The couple plan to retain their current space on Fore Street where they’ll operate an expanded retail store for their products. They hope to open the new restaurant in May.

Sagamore Hill – 150 Park St
Owner Ryan Deskins is transforming the lobby of the former Lafayette Hotel building into a new cocktail bar called Sagamore Hill (website, instagram). As you might have guessed from the name of the bar, the Deskins is a fan of Teddy Roosevelt, and the nation’s 26th president is a touchstone for the design and cocktail menu. Sagamore will seat 96 overall, including sidewalk seating for 38 during the warmer months. Kaplan Thompson are the architects and Burnham & Lobozzo the contractors. Might & Main has been hired to handle branding and design.


Alice Greele’s Tavern, 1775

Portland Maine History 1768 to the Present has posted some history on Alice Greele’s Tavern, a popular food establishments in 18th Century Portland.

The fashionable tavern of the town was kept by Dame Alice Greele, and here, during the whole Revolutionary period, the committee of public safety met, the judges held their courts, and political conventions had their sessions. It was here that the citizens in town meeting heroically voted to stand the bombardment rather than give up the guns demanded by Mowatt.