Under Construction: Independent Ice Co.

A new 23-seat “upscale whiskey bar and pub” called the Independent Ice Company is under development and slated for 52 Wharf Street in the space formerly occupied by Mark’s Sports Bar.

Owners Brian Hanson and Larry Constantin plan to “feature a broad array of premium whiskeys, bourbons and scotches combined with a lunch and dinner menu in a comfortable and intimately designed space”.

Independent Ice has included a draft menu (page 179) in their recent liquor license application. Hanson and Constantin plan to open Independent Ice later this Summer.

Under Construction: Pizzarino

The new restaurant under construction in the former Zapoteca space by Paciarino co-owner Enrico Barbiero along with Steffano Zurleni and Nauro Stoppani will be named Pizzarino.

Pizzarino will be an Italian pizzeria and bar with pizzas made “daily with a special wholegrain flour, directly imported from Italy”. Pizzarino will also serve “Risotto, Arancini, Gnocchi, and Fresh Salads” along with “original Italian aperitifs, typical Italian cocktails, beers and wines, from Italy and from Maine”. The owners have provided a draft menu (page 123) as part of their liquor license application.

Pizzarino plans to offer guided wine tastings by their “experienced sommelier from Italy”. The owners hope to open Pizzarino later this summer.

Uncle Billy’s Pop-Up Now Open

The Uncle Billy’s Bar-B-Que (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) Pop-up in the former Abilene space at 539 Deering Ave in Woodford’s Corner opened for business last night.

Uncle Billy’s plans to operate this pop-up restaurant through the end of the Summer while their permanent location 166 Cumberland Ave is under construction.

When I spoke with Uncle Billy’s back in April, the plans were for a scaled back version of the menu that will eventually served on Cumberland Ave.

Under Construction: Austin Street Brewery

Austin Street Brewing (facebook, instagram, twitter) has announced plans for a 2nd location.

The close to 9,000 sq ft new brewery will be located in East Bayside in the same build as Rising Tide. They “hope to start production there by October”. They report that the new location will have a 2,000 sq ft larger tasting room and  outdoor area.

Austin Street will be retaining their current space on 1 Industrial Way in addition to this new space.

No Reservations

Peggy Grodinsky from the Press Herald explores why some restaurants don’t take reservations.

These restaurant owners and managers gave a similar set of reasons for adopting no-reservations policies, which add up to a blend of ambience, flow and management strains. They explained that, to them, hospitality doesn’t equate to taking a reservation. It means treating customers well – to good food and good service – once they get in the door. And while deep down I still wish everybody would copy proprietor Stella Hernandez at Lolita, who keeps about half the space for walk-ins and the rest for reservations, next time I am dining out in Portland and balk at waiting for a table, I will chew on these reasons, served with a side of understanding…

Under Construction: Maine Oyster Co.

Portland’s on track to get another oyster bar this Summer.

The Maine Oyster Company (website, facebook, instagram) has started construction at 38 Portland Street, just down the street from Isa and Back Bay Grill, of a 30-seat eatery serving oysters, lobster and crab rolls, and clam chowder. You can see the full menu on their website.

Maine Oyster Co. will be open 4 – 9 pm, Thursday through Saturday. They hope to open in July.

This Week’s Events: Bunker BBQ, Scaling Up, Sagamore, The Well, Pizza Bagel Nite, Veg Fest

MondayBunker Brewing is holding a Memorial Day BBQ.

Tuesday – there will be a lecture on scaling up food businesses at Fork Food Lab, and a sake tasting at CloudPort.

Wednesday – there will be a wine tasting at Old Port Wine Merchants, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Bunker Brewing.

FridaySagamore Hill Lounge is holding their grand opening, The Well opens for the season, Rose Foods is hosting a BYOB Pizza Bagel Nite, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Rosemont.

Saturday – the 14th Annual Veg Fest food truck festival is taking place, as is the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market.

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.

Randall H. Gifford Jr., 90

Randall H. Gifford Jr., co-founder of Giffords Ice Cream, passed away last week at the age of 90.

In 1954, Randall and Audrey purchased a dairy (milk business) in Forestville, Conn. Later, it became R.H. Gifford Dairy & Sons. In 1971, the Gifford’s moved to Farmington, where they owned and operated Gifford’s Dairy, Inc., and founded Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream in Skowhegan.

Maine Calling: Vegan & Plant-Based Living

Maine Calling has aired a show on Vegan & Plant-Based Living with guests Avery Yale Kamila, Chris Bassett, Sarah Skovran and Victoria Moran.

More people are turning to vegan diets for their health and for philosophical reasons. By the same token, others are embracing more plant-based eating, which may not qualify as vegan or vegetarian but might minimize meat as part of each meal. We’ll learn how to be vegan or to shift to plant-based living.