Fire Temporarily Closes Restaurants

According to a report from the Press Herald, a fire on Sunday has temporarily closed Flatbread and Ri-Ra.

[Fire Chief] Gautreau said both businesses had to close Sunday following the fire, which was concentrated in a roof line hood vent, and won’t be able to reopen until the owners meet with the city’s code enforcement officer on Monday to develop a repair plan. A portion of the roof had to be opened up and there was some water damage, but Gautreau said the building’s sprinkler system worked well to contain the fire.

This Week’s Events: Cherry Bombe, Truffle Shuffle, Bayside Block Party

MondayCherry Bombe will be recording a panel discussion podcast among Erin French of The Lost Kitchen, Leigh Kellis of Holy Donut, Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee Roasters, Jacqueline Dole of Parlor Ice Cream, Cara Stadler of BaoBao and Lio, Rebecca Charles of Pearl Kennebunk Beach and Spat Oyster Cellar, and Briana Warner of Atlantic Sea Farms at The Press Hotel (sold out), and Eaux and Oxbow are collaborating on a burger night at the brewery tasting room on Washington Ave.

Wednesday – the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Thursday – it is the opening day for The Garrison (websitefacebookinstagram).

Friday – it’s the opening night of the Truffle Shuffle Weekend, and there will be a wine tasting at the Munjoy Hill Rosemont.

Saturday – the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayFork Food Lab is throwing a West Bayside Block Party.

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.

Truffle Shuffle

Bay Area truffle purveyor Truffle Shuffle (website, facebook, instagram) is coordinating with Maine Beer Company, and with chefs from a variety of restaurants to showcase their truffles:

  • Central Provisions
  • Chaval
  • Duckfat
  • Gross Confection Bar
  • Izakaya Minato
  • Mr. Tuna
  • Piccolo
  • The Highroller Lobster Co.
  • Tipo
  • the Bitter End in Wells

Chefs from participating restaurants will all feature truffle-based dishes on their menus this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Maine Beer Company’s pizza chef, Parker Auger, will have 2 “truffle-ized” items on the menu on Saturday and staff from Truffle Shuffle will be onsite to talk about their products.

Restaurants that want to join in should DM Truffle Shuffle on instagram.

Location, Location, Location: July 2019

Welcome to the July edition of the PFM restaurant and food retail commercial real estate listings. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/retailers 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 listings 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, Quiero and Flood’s.

953 Congress St – the former Rosanna’s at the corner of Saint John and Congress Streets has remained vacant since the ice cream shop closed at the end of February. My understanding is that Dogfish Bar and Grille owner Ted Arcand is the owner of the building.

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 from the owner – see the sign in the window for contact information.

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

114 Center St –this 10,000 sq ft space off Free Street is for lease at $8/sq ft (NNN).

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, and that project is not moving forward so the space is back on the market.

511 Congress St – a 6,100 sq ft first floor space is available in the Ocean Gate Plaza for $18/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 – a 1,200 sq ft former market space is available for $2,500/month (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.

82 Hanover St – there are a number of units 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).

*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).

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.

*266 Commercial St – 6,689 sq ft of new construction retail space will be available for $20-22/sq ft (NNN).

98 Cross St – The former Rhum space (Suite A) is 3,800 sq ft is available to lease at $22.50 (MG).

*10 Exchange St – a 750 sq ft  retail space is available on lower Exchange St for $40/sq ft (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).

*64 Market St – Maps Cafe is for sale. $159,000 gets the Maps name as well as furniture, fixtures and equipment. Details on the 4 year lease can be found in the brochure for the property.

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.

*1 Monument Way – Scattaloni Bakery is moving to Biddeford which is leaving this 2,000 sq ft space in Monument Square available for $25/sq ft (NNN).

2 Portland Square – Walter’s closed May 31st and is for sale. The business and equipment are listed for $250k or just the furniture, fixtures and equipment are available for $175k. The current lease which runs through March 2020 is $24.98/sq ft (NNN).

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 are 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).

20 Thames St – a 1,800 sq ft is available for lease just off India Street for $24/sq ft (NNN). Speckled Ax Coffee has leased 1,800 sq ft in this building already.

Forest Ave

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

*509 Forest Ave – 6,000 sq ft of space near Bow Street Beverage is available for $12.75/sf ft (MG).

951 Forest Ave – the owner of Maelily Ryleigh is retiring and this 4,185 sq ft restaurant space is for sale for $750,000.

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


431 Congress St – the Mainely Wraps on Congress Street closed earlier this year. I can’t locate an official property listing but it remains vacant so is likely available for lease.

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).

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

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.

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.

*Confidential Space – a 4,300 sq ft restaurant space in Portland is available. Details require a signed confidentiality agreement with the realtor.


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.

Where To Get a Table in Portland

The Boston Globe has recommended a set of restaurants in Portland that “you can actually get into”.

None of that, however, is any reason to eschew the city and its extraordinary feasts all summer. Instead, it’s a perfect excuse to branch out and try some spots that may not currently be on the hot list, but are spectacular nonetheless. Whether it’s because they’re new and not yet discovered, older and no longer the flavor of the month, a local secret, or off the beaten path, these are some of the best places you can actually get into right now. And yes, some of them even have parking.

Highlighted in the article are Baharat, Flood’s, Isa, Otto, Pai Men Miyake, Piccolo, Tipo and Union.

This Week’s Events: Best Thing I Ever Ate, Book Signing, Welcome Feast, Full Plates Event

Monday – An episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate which includes Krista Kern Desjarlais from The Purple House will be airing on the Cooking Channel at 9 pm.

Tuesday – Print bookstore will be hosting the release party and book signing for the new edition of Portland Maine Chef’s Table.

Wednesday – there will be a South African wine tasting at the Old Port Wine Merchants, the July edition of the Tempo Welcome Feast is taking place, and the Monument Square Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Friday – they’ll be a wine tasting at the Brighton Ave Rosemont, and a pop-up bar at Grace.

Saturday – the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

Sunday – a Full Plates Full Potential event is taking place at Oxbow featuring food and drink by Oxbow, Duckfat, Chaval, Piccolo, Slab, The Honey Paw, Terlingua, Bob’s Clam Hut, O Oysters, Bresca & The Honey Bee, The Holy Donut.

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.

Kitchen Apprenticeship Program

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article on the HospitalityMaine kitchen apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship is mostly hands-on training – 2,000 hours’ worth –  plus 145-290 hours of academic work that covers topics such as nutrition and food safety. Apprentices receive raises as they attain certain milestones, and when they complete the program they get a certificate from the Maine Department of Labor.