JP’s Bistro Moving to Falmouth

The Press Herald reports that JP’s Bistro is moving to Falmouth.

Chef/owner John Paul Gagnon says he’ll be closing his namesake Portland restaurant on Oct. 12 and hopes to re-open the first week of November at 204 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth. That’s the former location of Hugs Italian Restaurant. (The Hugs restaurant at Sugarloaf remains open.) Gagnon says the new space will have more room, more and better equipment, and — he hopes — more customers. 

Kitchen to Cannabis

The Bangor Daily News reports that some Maine restaurant workers are making the transition to working in the new cannabis industry lured by better pay and hours.

As it turns out, he’s not. As restaurant owners in Portland and beyond struggle with a back-of-house labor shortage that they say threatens their business model, Bishop and a wave of other cooks responsible for elevating the Maine food scene over the last decade are finding better wages, less stressful work environments and greater opportunities for advancement in cannabis. Equipped with years of training, cooks are becoming caregivers, bartenders are now “budtenders” and pastry chefs make better livings as specialized cannabis chocolatiers and candymakers.

This Week’s Events: Cocktails by the Trail, Piccolo Farm Dinner, Apple Preservation Workshop

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

Saturday – UFF is continuing their Cocktails by the Trail series which gives local bartenders the tasting room stage to feature a cocktail that makes use of the UFF greenhouse and product line, and the Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

SundayPiccolo will be cooking a farm dinner in the Mallet Barn at the Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Campground.

Apple Preservation Workshop – My good friends Kate McCarty (The Blueberry Files) and Sean Turley (The Righteous Russet) are teaming up to teach an apple preservation workshop at Fork Food Lab. The event takes place on October 22nd. Kate will teach how to preserve apples by canning, freezing, and drying, and Sean will talk about the heritage varieties of apples in Maine and what the best uses are for them. Apples for the event are being provided by MOFGA’s orchards, and participants will get to take some of what is made in the class. Tickets are on sale now.

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.

Review of Maiz

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Maiz.

On the whole, the food impresses. Kitchen manager/co-owner Niky Watler’s staff has been able to exploit the extra square footage, allowing for an expanded (completely gluten-free) menu, including appetizers like crusty, cheesy pan de bono and simple, deep-fried corn empanadas filled with sweet threads of pulled pork. Maiz’s arepas – especially the Basico with chicken and the pork-and-chicken Upgrade – are also a good bet, although if you’re not a fan of eating all your fillings in sequence, you’ll want to do a little manipulation of the griddled corn pocket before you eat.

9-Seat Ramen Bar Coming to Washington Ave

A new 9-seat BYOB ramen shop is under development. Named Ishi Ishi Ramen (instagram) it will be located on Washington Ave in The Black Box space that will be vacated when The Cheese Shop moves to larger quarter—filling the gap in the East End line-up of restaurant left when Ramen Suzukiya closed in 2018.

Owners Matthew De Fio and Andrew Doolittle hope to open in November/December when they will serve three different ramens to start with, and offer both gluten-free noodle and CBD options on the menu. Ishi Ishi will also have prepared ramen ready to go. The owners are planning for the shop to be a cellphone-free zone.

De Fio spent 3 years working at Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin Texas and has worked in Maine at Enoteca Athena and Vessel and Vine in Brunswick and running his own fresh pasta enterprise Il Dono. Doolittle is the owner of Pot and Pan Kitchen.

Osteria Radici Moving to Portland

New Jersey Monthly reports that Randy and Ally Forrester are moving their restaurant, Osteria Radici (website, facebook, instagram), from Allentown to Portland, Maine. The 24-seat Osteria Radici has been a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef in the Midatlantic both years they’ve been in business and on the New Jersey Monthly list of the 30 best restaurants in the state.

The Forresters shared that they’ve found “lot to love about Portland” but  what they “look forward to most is getting to engage with guests who are excited to eat” and always eager to learn more. They were taken by the “energy we saw there, every time we ate whether it was Cong Tu Bot, Central provisions, Fore Street, Lio or places like Maine and Loire and Maiz”. Growing their business in that environment is the reason they decided to move their lives and their business to Portland.

Chef Forrester  is focused on “hyper-regional Italian food from the north to the south” to “highlight these regions in a more modern light” that lets Radici “showcase what Italian food is right now, not generations ago.” With Osteria Radici in Portland the couple wants to deliver thoughtful food and drink in an approachable comfortable environment.

The Forresters are currently looking for the right location and hope to open to their new Portland restaurant this coming spring.

Post Guide to Portland

The Washington Post has published A Local’s Guide to Portland, Maine.

Some may call it the “other Portland,” but to Mainers, this is the big city. With its highly regarded restaurants, abundant craft breweries, and world-class artists and writers, Portland is a hot spot of American creativity. And while the locals love these attractions, it’s the cozy feel and sense of community that truly make it home. Portlanders have their bartenders, their coffee shops and their booksellers, but they also love welcoming new people as much as they like seeing a familiar face.

Mast Landing Expands in Westbrook

Mast Landing (websitefacebookinstagram) has expanded with a new 20,000 square foot facility located on Saco Street in Westbrook that has begun production this month. The new brewery will more than double their production capacity from 4,500 to 11,000 barrels of beer.

…outfitted with a 30bbl brewhouse and a set of 13 fermentation vessels of varying sizes. Mast Landing’s new production-only location sits on Saco St. in Westbrook, just over a mile away from their HQ on Main Street. The brewery’s original location will continue to house their popular tasting room as well as specialized mixed fermentation and wild ale projects, while the bulk of the brewing and packaging heads down the street.

The new building won’t immediately be open to the public, “but down the road it could open up opportunities for tours, tastings, and other unique experiences.” In addition to the new building, Mast Landing also plans a renovation of the tasting room at their original location on Maine Street in Westbrook in the future.

Whiskey Blending Workshop

Man & Oak is organizing a set of Whiskey Blending workshops taking place at multiple dates this fall in collaboration with New England Distilling and Stroudwater Distillery.

With the goal of deconstructing and reconstructing a blended whiskey, Man & Oak will guide participants through four whiskey blending exercises. Outfitted with beakers, graduated cylinders, and droppers each participant will become their own master blender.

Learn how to use blending tools and blending methods, in this all access, hands-on, whiskey blending workshop!