Slurpfest 2019

This weekend (Friday – Sunday) the Maine Oyster Company on Portland Street will be holding Spring Slurpfest 2019.

The oyster festival will include, “Free oyster schwag from growers,  daily prize giveaways including private farm tours, club memberships & oysters, free shucking demonstrations, speciality oyster dishes” and on Sunday they’ll be holding the first of four Slurp Madness (an oyster eating contest) qualifying events.


Other Side Diner Opening

Owners Peter and Jessica Sueltenfuss plan to open the Other Side Diner (facebook, instagram) Wednesday morning. The OSD is located at 500 Washington Ave, the space formerly occupied by Hella Good Tacos and Steve and Renee’s Diner. You can see a draft copy of the menu here.

The diner will have the same focus on using local product and in-house production as the East Deering and West End Other Side Delicatessens. Other Side will serve traditional breakfast and lunch diner fare with some Greek influences such as baklava and Greek donuts. Jessica Sueltenfuss will be managing the diner.

Hours for the diner are 7:30 – 3:00.

This Week’s Events: Greek Wines, MaineVoices, Chocolate Lovers’ Fling, Deering Oaks Market, Coolship la Mûre

MondayChaval is featuring ciders from ANXO and serving some additional menu items to pair with them.

Tuesday – Chefs Matt Ginn and Christian Hayes will be at One Longfellow Square for an onstage MaineVoices conversation,  and Chaval is featuring wines from Greek winemaker 14/27 and serving some additional menu to pair with them.

ThursdayMary Ann Esposito will be at Solo Italiano for a wine dinner, GMRI is holding their annual Seafood Celebration, and the 33rd Annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling is taking place.

FridaySeaweed Week kick’s off, and there will be a wine tasting at the West End Rosemont.

Saturday – the 1st Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market of the year is taking place, Allagash is releasing their Coolship la Mûre, and both Blue Lobster Wines and Eighteen Twenty Wines are opening in their new digs on Anderson Street (they swapped spaces).

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

    • Nine Maine restaurants are collaborating with Winebow/Leonardo Locasio Selections to hold Italian wine dinners on May 8th: Enoteca Athena, Evo Kitchn + Bar, Inn by the Sea, Lolita, Paciarino, Solo Italiano, Tipo, Union, Varano’s.
    • Hop Culture is holding their Juicy Brews Craft Beer Festival to Mast Landing Brewing Company in Westbrook on June 29th.

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.

Under Construction: Cocktail Mary

A new cocktail bar called Cocktail Mary (instagram) is under development in the former Ramen Suzukiya space located at 229 Congress Street.

Owner Isaac MacDougal grew up in Portland where his family owned and operated Vaughan Street Variety. MacDougal has worked as a general manager or bartender in a number of restaurants in New York City including at WD-50. He’s currently the head bartender at Izakaya Minato.

MacDougal hopes to open the 21-seat establishment later this Summer.

Under Construction: Flood’s

Flood’s (instagram) Greg Mitchell’s new 50-seat restaurant at 747 Congress Street is currently undergoing renovations and anticipating a late Spring opening.

On the personnel front Mitchell has made some key hires for for the new West End restaurant:

Billy Hager will be the Head Chef and lead BOH operations for Flood’s. He’s moving to Portland from California where he worked at Homestead in Oakland. Mitchell and Hager will be collaborating to develop the menu for Flood’s.
Caroline Richter has been hired as the Bar Manager, and is moving to Portland from New Orleans where she worked at Turkey and the Wolf. She’s also the co-founder of Shift Change which is “a not-for-profit organization engaged in sexual violence prevention, response, and education for hospitality professionals and patrons”.

Location, Location, Location: April 2019

Welcome to the April 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 red asterisks (*).

Feel free to post a comment below or email me at 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.

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 to 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).

*757 Forest Ave – a 2-story 3,450 sq ft building is for sale for $407,000.

*767 Forest Ave – a 1,216 sq ft building is for sale for $204,000.

*785 Forest Ave – a 630 sq ft building is for sale for $364,100.

*865 Forest Ave – this 11,362 sq ft building has had a long history as a restaurant and music venue (who remember’s Raoul’s). The building and .84 acres of land are for sale for $1,210,000.

1207 Forest Ave – the 4,296 sq ft former Wok Inn in Morrill’s Corner is for lease at $16.29/sq ft (NNN). The 1.32 acre property has its own parking.


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.

*439 Congress St – the former home of sandwich shop and a cafe, this 1,000 sq ft space is available for $20/sq ft (MG).

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.

*132 Marginal Way – this 2,300 sq ft space is located across the street from Trader Joe’s. It’s available for $23/sq ft (NNN).

*25 Portland St – this 550 sq ft retail space is located down the street from Isa and Back Bay Grill. It’s available for $1,100 (MG).

*34 Portland St – this 3,724 3-story building is adjacent to the Maine Oyster Company. It’s available for $3,500 (NNN). According to the listing, “Currently a glass blowing operation, the building currently has hood systems in place on various levels.”

*100 Portland St – this 500 sq ft retail space is adjacent to Bayside American Cafe. It’s available for $1,200 per month (MG).

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.


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.

Under Construction: White Fox Taverna

Emilitsa chef Niko Regas has leased space in Farmington where he plans to open the White Fox Taverna (instagram) serving a menu of Mediterranean cuisine. The small 12-seat space has additional outdoor patio seating for 40 where White Fox will host live music.

Regas hopes to open White Fox in May, and so it sounds like a Summer road trip to Farmington is in order.

Regas has been with Emilitsa for 10 years. He shared that it’s been a great experience which he will miss even as he’s excited to move forward with the challenge of launching his own restaurant. Regas and his family live on a farm in Farmington which they hope to turn into a working farm and orchard in the coming years.

This Week’s Events: Ripka, Pickling Workshop, Magnus Pop-up

Monday – Piccolo is hosting a Ripka pop-up dinner (menu).

Wednesday – there will be wine tastings at RSVP and the Old Port Wine Merchants, and a Kate McCarty (aka The Blueberry Files) is teaching a Pickling Workshop at UFF.

Thursday – The Great Lost Bear will be showcasing beer from Bunker Brewing.

Fridayfuture Biddeford cocktail bar Magnus on Water will be collaborating with LB Kitchen on a pop-up dinner, and there will be a wine tasting at the East End Rosemont.

Saturday – the Winter Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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

    • Chaval will be serving a special menu and featuring ANXO Ciders on April 22nd.
    • Seaweed Week is taking place April 26 – May 4. You can see a full list of restaurants planning to add seaweed-based dishes to the menu on

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.