City Asks Restaurants to Transition to Takeout/Delivery

The City has made an announcement to institute a partial curfew over the next few days,

Portland City Manager Jon Jennings announced today he is instituting a mandated curfew for establishments where groups gather from 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM on Tuesday, March 17-18 and then daily from 8:00 PM until 2:00 AM on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (March 18 – 22) in light of the need to practice social distancing in order to lessen the community spread and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The all day curfew on Tuesday is intended to curb St. Patrick’s Day events and festivities, but take-out and delivery of food is still permitted.

As part of that announcement the City has also

strongly recommending all restaurants close to dine-in customers, or dramatically limit the number of customers, and provide takeout or delivery options only for the foreseeable future. While this is the preferable option, the City understands that some restaurants may not be set up to do so. Additionally, the City recommends that all gyms and fitness studios close.

Reviews: Anoche, Ada’s, Three of Strong

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Anoche,

If a visit to Basque Country, with its tradition of locally pressed ciders and small-plates-centric snacking appeals to you, Anoche should be on your Portland dining itinerary. Owner/GM Erika Colby’s dimly lit, slightly retro-feeling pintxos restaurant evokes a casual, Iberian bar/restaurant while showcasing more than a dozen New England draft ciders. Ranging from funky and tannic to shimmering with tart fruit, the ciders are (appropriately) the star of the show at Anoche, supported by a line-up of complex, herbal gin-and-tonic cocktails, all of which are made with homemade tonic water.

the Press Herald has reviewed Ada’s, and

I had eaten about half of it when the Funghi Salsiccia was ready. Besides the crimini mushrooms and large, browned pieces of savory pork sausage, it had mozzarella, provolone cheese, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and garlic. There was no red sauce and the crust was thinner and a little crisper than the Margherita. Both were delicious.

the Press Herald has reviewed Three of Strong.

Great place to bring your rum-loving friends. But beware, they don’t sell any spirits other than rum, although they do have mocktails and soda.

Corona Virus Response

The Maine Sunday Telegram has taken a look at how the restaurant community is responding to the corona virus and people’s need to engage in social distancing.

As concern over coronavirus grows, Maine’s restaurants are taking preventive measures to ensure customers and employees feel safe shopping and dining. They’ve gotten aggressive about hand washing and sanitizing surfaces, and are reminding employees to stay home if they’re sick. Restaurants are reconsidering buffets, and flirting with offering takeout. Dining rooms are getting new footprints as tables and chairs are re-arranged or removed to give customers more “social distance.”

Hospitality Industry Responses Covid-19

Restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses in Portland are responding to Covid-19 in a variety of ways focused on enabling social distancing and supporting the health of their customers and staff. Here is an incomplete and growing list:

  • Seemingly nearly every business I track has posted some statement on social media in the last few days detailing the steps they’re taking to dial up cleaning procedures. including frequent sanitizing of surfaces, door knobs and menus.
  • Encouraging the use of self service credit card terminals and systems like Apple Pay over cash.
  • Removing some table and bar seats to provide greater personal distance between their customers.
  • Coffee shops have discontinued the refilling of reusable mugs.
  • Items like water stations, napkins and disposable utensils are now being dispensed by staff rather than being self serve.
  • Emphasizing or transitioning entirely to a food to-go model.
  • Instituting new curbside pick-up or delivery services to provide alternative ways to continue to serve their customers.
  • Reminding customers that their food is available via delivery services like 2DineIn.
  • While most restaurants are staying open a few are choosing to close for a period.

Check your favorite spot’s social media accounts for more details about what they’re individually doing to address the situations.

Please post a comment and let me know if you see additional approaches emerging that should be highlighted in this list.

Leeward Opening Today

Jake and Raquel Stevens will be opening their new restaurant Leeward (websiteinstagram) today at 5 pm. The 54-seat restaurant and bar is located in a newly built out space at 85 Free Street.

The Italian-inspired menu has a strong focus on house-made pasta such as Taglierini Nero with Rhode Island squid, pork brodo, chili, breadcrumbs, or the Bucatini with cured pork belly, tomato, chili, pecorino. Appetizers range from Braised Leeks with smoked burrata and Night Moves bread to Bangs Island mussels prepared with saffron cream, fennel and herbsaint. Desserts are the creation of pastry chef Kate Fisher Hamm.

Before moving to Portland in 2018 the Stevens lived and worked in restaurants on the West Coast where Jake Stevens was the former Chef de Cuisine at Beast in Portland, Oregon.

A & C Grocery Opening in West End Today

A & C Grocery is opening a second location today at 81 Clark Street. Their hours on opening day will be noon to 4 pm or sellout, which ever comes first.

The West End Location will launch serving their Famous Original “Real” Italian, pastrami on rye and “a few items exclusive to the the West End location”. The primary focus of the West End A & C will be “deli style sandwiches and regional favorites” and they eventually plan to open earlier in the morning, serving coffee and breakfast sandwiches.

Fournier shared that “Our mission, always, is to serve the community we’re in. So A&C West will evolve and adapt to the needs of the neighborhood just like we have done on Munjoy Hill.”

The opening of the West End location will not be resulting in any changes at the Washington Ave A & C. The kitchen on Washington Ave will be producing the cured and smoked meats as well as pickles and homemade sauces for both locations.

A&C West initially be open 11 am to 4 pm, Monday thru Saturday.

Thrillist Eating Guide to Portland

Thrillist has published an eating guide to Portland entitled Everywhere You Need to Eat in Portland, Maine Right Now.

Old-timers might tell you that it’s a shame that Grace or Silly’s are no longer around (and it is), traditionalists might come to the city looking for blueberry pie and fresh catches straight from the sea (of which there are plenty). But to rely too heavily on tradition would run the risk of overlooking the creative and wide-ranging work that’s been done in the city over the past decade or so, not to mention what’s happening right now. So read on and discover the best restaurants in Portland, Maine right now.

Highlighted in the article are: Candy’s, Central Provisions, Cong Tu Bot, Duckfat, Eventide, Fore Street, Hugo’s, Izakaya Minato, Local 188, Mr. Tuna, Rose Foods, Ruski’s, The Holy Donut.

Night Moves, Best Bread Bakeries in America

The Food Network has named Biddeford-based Night Moves Bread (website) to their list of the Best Bread Bakeries in America.

Though baker Kerry Hanney’s bread baking style is rooted in European tradition, the flours she uses are all from Maine-grown grains, particularly rye (Maine has the same growing zone as many European countries associated with rye.). Before opening Night Moves Bread in Bitteford, a coastal town about 25 minutes south of Portland, she made a name for herself with those rye-based loaves. Try the Baltic rye, a slowly fermented sourdough loaf made with 100% rye freshly milled in-house and sprouted rye berries as well as local ingredients such as blackstrap molasses, coffee grounds from Speckled Ax and beer from Banded Brewing Co. For another regional taste, opt for the Anadama, a New England-style cornmeal bread made with nixtamalized corn — Hanney uses buttery, sweet Abenaki flint corn — and black strap molasses. The bread is also served at top restaurants around Portland.

Haole Ice Launching This Spring

A new food cart selling Hawaiian shaved ice will be opening this spring. Haole Ice (instagram, facebook) is the creation of Julie and Don Martin who got inspired to open the cart while on a trip to Hawaii for a wedding. They plan to serve “the traditional pineapple, strawberry, lychee and mango to macha tea, sage and passion fruit, basil, sweet corn, and – in tribute to Maine – blueberry and maple.” according to a report in the Press Herald.