Under Construction: Coals Pizza (Updated)

Coals Pizza (website, instagram, twitter) has leased 114 Preble Street where they plan to open their first location outside of New York. They specialize in grilled pizza. You can see their full menu online.

A 2015 review in the New York Times sums up coals this way,

The atmosphere is as quirky and appealing as the food, with a Catskills-meets-Brooklyn vibe from mounted deer antlers and painted country scenes. Sit there long enough and you’ll become aware of the rhythmic sound of the pizza cutter, a guy who wields a huge half moon of a knife that he rocks across the pies as they come out, dividing them into three- or four-bite squares. It’s a kind of siren call — one that should be heeded by all pizza lovers.

Coals was founded in 2004 in the Bronx. Their first two locations are located in Bronxville and Port Chester. 114 Preble Street has not been used as a restaurant since 2014 since Portland & Rochester closed.

Back Story: Coals owner Billy Etzel was born and raised in NYC, but he’s been visiting Maine since age 3 and always felt connected to the state. Four years ago Etzel’s son began doing some family genealogical research. Etzel himself is adopted, and through the research online they discovered that his biological family was trying to get in contact with him. As it turns out his biological family is from Kittery, just 30 minutes away from where Etzel owns a cabin. It’s as a result of this connection to Maine to Etzel decided to open his latest branch of Coals Pizza here in Portland.

Under Construction: Royale Lunch Bar

Garrett FitzGerald along with business partners Teagan Curry, Joe Farr, and Mike Willett have leased the 855 square foot space at 11 Union Street where they plans to open the Royal Lunch Bar (website, facebook, instagram) a 25-seat serving “lunch daily from 8am-6pm”.

The draft menu (page 121) pastrami sandwiches, reubens, roast chicken sandwiches, burgers, and grilled cheese. Royale’s menu will be available for take-out via online ordering. They also plan to offer catering both from the Royals Lunch and Bar Harbor Lobster menus.

FitzGerald owns the Bar Harbor Lobster Company. His last venture in Portland was the Portland & Rochester on Preble Street.

Under Construction: Island Lobster Company

Katie and Thom Werner are planning to launch the Island Lobster Company (facebook, instagram) in the space formerly occupied by Peaks Island House. The restaurant has seating for 64 seats. The draft menu (page 69) supplied with the liquor license application can be seen in Monday’s City Council meeting packet.

Island Lobster Company is a trap to table restaurant harvesting from the sea and local farms. A small and simple menu, letting the product speak for itself and the patrons enjoying a traditional Maine meal.

The Werners hope to open in May.

This Week’s Events: Chef’s Summit, Pasta Class, Alsatian Wine Dinner, Central Provision’s 5th Anniversary

Monday – the 2019 Chef’s Summit kick’s off today. You can see the full 6-day program of activities on the MSC  website.

Tuesday – Chef Paolo Laboa will be teaching a pasta making class at Solo Italiano.

Thursday – Petite Jacqueline will be holding an Alsatian wine dinner, and The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Definitive Brewing Co.

Friday – there will be a wine tasting at the Brighton Ave Rosemont.

SaturdayCentral Provisions is celebrating their 5th anniversary with a special menu with guest chef Brandon Rice from Rich Table in San Francisco and an Allagash tap takeover, and the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

The Philly Underground

The West End News has published an article about The 5 Spot’s basement bar, the Philly Underground.

Costello’s newest establishment, a Philadelphia themed watering hole dubbed The Philly Underground, opened on September 6th in the basement below The 5 Spot. It’s a genuine no frills, homie bar where the prices of the drinks won’t break the bank.

“It’s about trying to hold this together as a community,” said Costello. “Because what I think and what a lot of people see across town in Portland is that the small-town feel is being squeezed out.”

Review of the Maine Oyster Company

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Maine Oyster Co.

While the local oysters it serves are indeed excellent – especially the Bar Harbor MDIs and Eros from Georgetown – much of the rest of the extremely limited menu is lackluster, and little of it homemade. If you visit, stick with the lemon-and-dill-dressed lobster roll and a plate of the pickled crudité. Then, if you’re still hungry, try the C. Love Cookie Project ice cream sandwich, or better yet: another dozen local oysters.

Austin Street

The Blueberry Files has published an article about Austin Street’s new East Bayside tasting room.

We had the latter when we headed to check out the new Austin Street—G’s boyfriend was visiting from the other Portland (oh, how we’re trying to win him over with our cloudy New England IPAs!). And although Austin Street certainly has those, it also offers other styles that are less popular like the smoked brown ale and a Belgian strong ale. 

Nonalcoholic Bars

Vena’s was featured in an article on Eater about nonalcoholic bars.

Born out of a love for seltzer, Vena’s Fizz House in Downtown Portland, Maine is made to feel like a old-fashioned soda fountain spot. Bartenders shake up fizzy specialty mixed drinks like “The Pear Drop” (pear purée, pear shrub, lime, rosemary, and bitters) and “The Bangladesh Express” (coconut crème, blood orange, lime, ghost pepper, bitters). Downstairs, there’s a mixology shop, where owners, Johanna and Steve Corman sell homemade bitters and syrups, allowing attendees to make fun for themselves at home, too. The catch? When the bar opened in 2013, all of its drinks were zero proof.

The artcle also shares potential plans for a second Vena’s in Utah,

And while she’s not Mormon herself, she’s also seriously considering opening a second location of Vena’s Fizz House in Utah, because many tourists have come in saying nothing like it exists for the Mormon community there.

Under Construction: Maiz

Maiz (websitefacebookinstagram) owners Martha Leonard and Niky Walter have submitted their liquor license application for their new Woodfords Corner location. Their cover letter indicates they’ll be open 3 – 10 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. They included a draft menu with the materials submitted to the City Council.

The 1,200 square foot restaurant will be located at 621 Forest Ave. Maiz opened their original location in the Public Market House July 2, 2017.