Under Construction: Ada’s Kitchen

The Bangor Daily News has published an update on Ada’s Kitchen, which is under construction at 642 Congress Street.

The talents of Ada’s Kitchen executive chef Siddharta Rumma is something Rockwell believes will also help set the restaurant apart. Rumma, who is from Rome, helped start the pasta department for Eataly, an expansive Italian market with locations across the county.

The article reports that the Portland Ada’s is likely to open in late Summer.

Location, Location, Location March 2019

Welcome to the March edition of the PFM restaurant and food retail commercial real estate listings. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place current and soon to be available spaces in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers to locate their next business. Finding just the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new restaurant, bar, bakery, coffee shop or food retail business and hopefully this new resource will make it a little bit easier.

The retail and restaurant spaces are organized by neighborhood, and contains square footage, cost, location, background info on prior usage, whether for lease or sale, and a link to the full listing online where you can see all the details. Storefronts that were formerly a restaurant are indicated in the description and those likely already have a hood and grease traps.

Listings that are new or have been updated since last month are flagged with an asterisks (*).

Feel free to post a comment below or email me at anestes@portlandfoodmap.com if you know of a good one that may have been overlooked.

West End

785 Congress St – a newly renovated 1,378 sq ft space near Bramhall Square is available for lease at $17.42 per sq ft (MG). It’s located on the same side of the street as Roma Cafe and Flood’s, the restaurant Greg Mitchell is developing at The Francis.

207 Danforth St – the former Eco-Laundry space on Danforth Street next to Little Giant has been unoccupied for a couple years and is for lease directly by the business owner.

*64 Pine St – the former Aurora Provisions building sold at Auction in early January. The 4,629 sq ft building is now available for lease for $7,000/month (MG).

*101 York St – a 5,249 sq ft sub-dividable space in the new building on the corner of York and High Street is available for $20/sq ft (NNN). The space already has a hood vent and grease traps installed.

Arts District

477 Congress St – The first floor mall in the Time & Temperature Building was the longtime home of Whip’s Right Time Cafe. The Cafe closed a few years a go and now this 1,750 sq ft space is available for $13/sq ft (MG).

480 Congress St – 3,513 – 7,213 sq ft space available for $26/sq ft (NNN). This space had been slated be a BBQ restaurant that that project is not moving forward in this space.

482 Congress St – a 1,675 sq ft space near Monument Square is available for $6-16/sq ft (MG).

561 Congress St – the 6,668 square foot former Salt Institute space on Congress Street is available for $11/sq ft (MG).

600 Congress St – The Schwartz Building has been under construction for a while now, and during that time a number of restaurateurs have checked out the space. As one of the best positioned, most visible corners in the city it seems destined to become a restaurant some day. The property owner is Geoffrey Rice.

*645 Congress St – 1,200 sq ft former market space is available for $2,500/month (MG).

654 Congress St – the former Ocho Burrito in the Lafayette Apartment Building has remained vacant since 2016.

*660 Congress St – a potential food retail space is available in the renovated Queen Anne style building in Longfellow Square. The 1,575 sq ft space is for lease at $24/sq ft (MG).


*148 Anderson St – this 9,600 sq ft building in East Bayside is located next Tandem Coffee. The building is zoned for light industrial so a brewery or distillery with a tasting room would fit the zoning parameters but a restaurant would not. The building is available for $12/sq ft (NNN). The building has a drive-in door and comes with 15-20 parking spaces.

166 Cumberland Ave – this had been slated to become the reincarnation of Uncle Billy’s Barbecue. The project never came to fruition and the storefront, formerly Bayside Variety, remains in the hands of the business partner of Uncle Billy and my understanding is he’s looking for a new partner to work with on a restaurant in the space.

*171 Cumberland Ave – Ten Ten Pié closed earlier this month and their 1,100 sq ft space is now available for lease direct from the owner for $2,000/month (MG).

82 Hanover St – there are a number of spaces available in the redevelopment of this former Department of Public Works building ranging in size from 1,488 to 7,050 sq ft at $16 – 20/sq ft (NNN). A country western bar called The Whiskey Barrel is already slated to be one of the businesses in this building.

195 Lancaster St – this 3,008 sq ft building is located at the intersection of Lancaster and Elm Streets. It is available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

191 Marginal Way – 2,206 – 4,406 sq ft of space in this new building at $29.95/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

5 Commercial St – the former Rosemont Market at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 1,914 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

100 Commercial St – the 3,688 sq ft space formerly occupied by K Colette is available for lease at $37.50/sq ft (MG). It is located in the Thomas Block building which is also home to Solo Italiano.

305 Commercial St – a 1,987 sq ft space in the Baxter Place building is available for $25/sq ft (MG). The space is immediately adjacent to the Courtyard Marriott.

229 Congress St – Ramen Suzukiya went out of business in late 2018. the 900 sq ft space is now available for lease at $35/sq ft (MG).

*98 Cross St – A 2,000 sq ft on the back side of the building that’s the Free St Arabica Coffee is available to lease for $19.75 per square foot (MG).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

75 Market/157 Middle St – Portland Trading Company has moved around the corner to 83 Market Street which will free up their 2,025 sq ft space for $27.95/sq ft (MG). It’s one of 4 spaces available at this address. In total there’s 1,071 – 6,356 sq ft for lease.

1 Monument Square – The owners of 1 Monument Square have a large first floor space available for a restaurant. 4,385 sq ft for lease at $25/sq ft (NNN). You can see some artist sketches of what a restaurant in this spot could look like in the full listing.

47-51 Wharf St – 2 different spaces are available across Wharf Street from the Independent Ice Company, 1,170 and 2,070 sq ft, both for lease at $25-30/sq ft (MG).

1 Union Wharf – a 5,608 sq ft space on the first floor of a new building slated for Commercial Street is available for $20.95/sq ft (NNN).

India Street

100 Fore St – 2 spaces available in a new building planned for Fore Street. 1,245 and 2,056 sq ft respectively, $27 – 30/sq ft (NNN).

*170 Fore St – 5,000 sq ft of retail space at $24/sq ft (NNN).

1 Hancock St – the first floor of the new WEX building will have a 5,138 sq ft first floor space available for lease at $27/sq ft (NNN).

*16-18 Thames St – Two spaces, both 1,800 sq ft, are available for lease just off India Street for $24/sq ft (NNN).

Forest Ave

301 Forest Ave – 4,000 sq ft space adjacent to the Bier Cellar for $15/sq ft (NNN).

561 Forest Ave – the Portland branch of Juiced closed late in 2018. 561 Forest Ave is diagonally across the intersection with Ashmont Street from The Great Lost Bear. The 2,760 sq ft space is not yet listed but presumably available.

1053 Forest Ave – the 1,200 sq ft former Papa John’s building on Forest Ave is available at $18/sq ft (NNN).

1207 Forest Ave – the 4,296 sq ft former Wok Inn in Morrill’s Corner is for lease at $16.29/sq ft (NNN).


502 Stevens Ave – Ice It Bakery recently shut down the retail side of their business and as a result their store front on Stevens Ave is available. 772 sq ft for lease at $22.50/sq ft (NNN).

170 Brighton Ave – the former 7-11 building at the corner of Brighton and Saint John Street is for sale for $550,000. The building is 2,173 sq ft in size and comes with onsite parking spaces.

1335 Congress St – the longtime home of Espo’s Trattoria is for sale at $899,000. The 5,500 sq ft building comes with 10 parking spaces.

*280 Saint John St – 2 spaces are available in the Union Station Plaza. The 4,400 and 2,600 sq ft spaces are available for $8/sq ft (NNN) and $12/sq ft (NNN) respectively.

377 Saint John St – the former Aunt Dee’s Cafe is for sale. The asking price is $400,000.

*46 Veranda St – the 600 sq ft building that currently is home to the East Deering location of Union Bagel is for sale for $500,000.

1363 Washington Ave – the former Sala Thai building which was converted to a Taco Bell in 2016 is for sale for $1,250,000, and can be leased for $96,000 per year (NNN).


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.

Dizzy Bird Opens Thursday

Dizzy Birds Rotisserie (website, facebook, instagram) is scheduled to officially open for business on Thursday, 11am – 8pm. They’re located in Biddeford at 65 Main Street.

The menu consists of rotisserie items like whole chicken, prime rib, turkey breasts and lamb, as well as soups, salads and sides (Brussels sprouts, herbed grains, mashed potatoes, etc). The menu includes a Prime Rib Shepherd’s Pie and daily vegan entree. Be sure to save room for dessert.

This Week’s Events: Blossom Bar, Farmer Appreciation, Maine Maple Sunday, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis

Wednesday – the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club is hosting a pop-up by bartenders from Blossom Bar, and there will be a wine tasting at the RSVP.

ThursdaySolo Italiano is holding their 3rd Annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner, the Great Lost Bear is showcasing beer from Liquid Riot, Austin Street will be at Bao Bao for a tap takeover and a la carte beer dinner.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – it’s Maine Maple Sunday, Bow Street is holding a Chateau Musar wine seminar, and it’s the first of a 2-night restaurant takeover of Cong Tu Bot by Lil’ Deb’s Oasis. Both restaurants are semifinalists in the Best Chef Northeast category in this year’s James Beard Awards. The event is  purely on a walk-in basis.

A Look Ahead – here are a couple events happening a little further out that you may want to check out.

  • Found and Foraged is a collaboration between Big Tree Hospitality and Portland Flea-for-All. The night includes a 5-course plant-based dinner and pre-opening opportunity to explore Flea-for-All’s finds for the week. The event is taking place March 28th.
  • LB Kitchen is hosting a Magnus on Water pop-up dinner on April 19th. The 3-course natural wine paired menu also includes two low ABV cocktails by bartender Brian Catapang.

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.

Strata & Vegan Cakes

The Food & Dining section in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles on the Strata cutlery shop on Washington Ave,

Strata, which opened Feb. 1, is located in one of the shipping containers that entrepreneurs are renting for retail space on Portland’s East End, a busy neighborhood of restaurants and bars. Knife shopping there is an education and an experience unlike anything you’ll get at Williams-Sonoma or other big stores that sell knives by the block. Atwell trades in artisanal Japanese and French knives, but also knives crafted here in Maine – beautiful handmade pieces that look as if they belong in a museum. “I try to stay away from machine-built stuff as much as possible,” he said.

and one on the availability of vegan cakes in Maine.

But vegan cakes aren’t just a Portland thing. They are coming out of the oven at bakeries across the state. It’s a trend fueled by two factors: more people eating vegan, and more people avoiding dairy products and eggs due to allergies and intolerances. This availability of vegan cakes is a marked change from even a few years ago.

Under Construction: 2nd Po’ Boys

Po’ Boys & Pickles on Forest Ave is opening a 2nd “on the peninsula” – owner Chris Bettera is keeping the exact address under wraps until he finalizes the lease.

Bettera tells me that the new space is smaller than the current Po’ Boys and as a result he’ll initially be dialing back the menu a bit and focusing on take-out. He plans to apply for a liquor license for the new location and will be adding beer to the menu.

Pending signing the lease and renovations proceeding on schedule, Bettera hopes to open in May.

The original was Po’ Boys & Pickles opened in February 2010 by Peter Zinn, and Chris Bettera bought the restaurant from Zinn in 2015. Bettera is a 3rd generation restaurateur. His grandfather owned 5 restaurants in the Hartford Connecticut area, and his parents ran La Trattoria Restaurant in Canton, CT for over 40 years.