Beer and Beards

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles on the stickiness of new curbside beer pick-up and beer delivery services post-pandemic,

Though curbside pick-up and delivery were forced upon brewers by the pandemic, many have discovered how much customers like these services and may keep the systems in place for the foreseeable future. Sullivan surveyed more than 70 breweries about these services and found that 35 percent were interested in keeping some sort of curbside pickup available even after their tasting rooms re-open, while more than 21 percent said they’d be interested in continuing delivery.

and a look at the impact of being a Beard Award nominee during the pandemic.

Desjarlais knows this better than most. Between The Purple House and her much-missed Portland restaurant, Bresca, she has made the semifinal round seven times and the finals twice.

“Every time, it’s great for you personally,” she said. “And it also great for your staff and team, because obviously they’re doing a great job, but it gives them a kick in the pants because the nomination brings a new burst of business and things get can get really busy. But now there’s no chance for that.”

LB Kitchen West Closing

LB Kitchen has made the decision not to re-open their West End location on York Street. Here’s part of their announcement on instagram:

More than being devastated that we’re closing LB West, we feel gratitude and optimism. We’d rather use this space to say thank you to the West End community for supporting us. We learned there is a lot of room for us to grow here in Portland, and we have big plans to continue to do that. We have been fortunate to keep our original location on Congress St open and are so grateful for every single person who orders take out every day. For now, we go back to our roots and become just LB Kitchen again. We’re gonna keep doing our thing, making sure you’re all staying healthy, eating real food and trying to make it all a little easier and brighter right now. Thank you west end. Thank you Portland. Thank you Good Medicine. We are totally inspired by you.

Fore Street, Street & Co, Scales Re-Opening June 8th

June 1st, the day restaurants in Portland can re-open for indoor dining, is fast approaching. Restaurants are individually making decisions about when they’ll feel ready to open their doors to customers, and customers are starting to think about when they’ll be ready to dine out.

Today Fore Street, Street & Co and Scales made the call to re-open starting on June 8th. All three restaurants will be starting service at 4 pm. Reservations are required and you can book a table by calling their reservation line (207-775-2717) or online via OpenTable:

Restaurant Re-openings in 12 Counties

Restaurants in  12 of 16 Maine counties could re-open yesterday. Both the Press Herald and Kennebec Journal caught up with restaurant owners to hear what their thoughts and plans were. Some definitely are re-opening and others are sticking with takeout for now.

Chef/proprietor Sara Jenkins didn’t have to think long and hard about whether or not to open Nina June’s dining room to customers on Monday. Her upscale Italian restaurant, which overlooks Rockport’s picturesque harbor, has been serving takeout all spring. Located in one of the 12 counties cleared by Gov. Janet Mills for dine-in service this week, it was eligible to open its doors.

“I am not reopening,” Jenkins said on Friday, having weighed the regulations and the risks and done the financial math. “No friggin way.”[PPH]

The Bangor Daily News checked in with some restaurant workers on their perspective.

In contrast, Landyn Severino is ready to return to work. The bar manager at Sportsman’s Kitchen and Keg, a bistro her family owns in Sebago, has been helping out with the restaurant’s limited takeout capacity, but is ready to return to full operations come June.

Maine Calling on Maine Public Radio dedicated yesterday’s 1-hour show to taking calls from industry staff and the general public about re-opening. There’s also additional report on WGME, and on WMTW.

This Week’s Events: Maine Calling, Making It Work, Leeward, India St CBD, Memorial Day Weekend

Monday – this week’s edition of Maine Calling on Maine Public Radio will take a look at how restaurants are reacting to the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Wednesday – Krista Cole from Sure Lie, Andrew Volk from Hunt & Alpine, and Vanessa Santarelli from Your Maine Concierge will be part of a panel discussion on Restaurants in Flux, the India Street Coffee by Design will re-open for takeout, the Maine Juice Company is opening for takeout, and the weekday Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

ThursdayLeeward, the last restaurant to open right before the crisis shut down restaurants, will launch their pre-order takeout service.

FridayCBG is launching their takeout service, It’s the start of the Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

Saturday – The weekend Deering Oaks Farmers’ Market is taking place.

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.

Restaurant Customer Survey Results

Mainebiz has published the results of a restaurant customer survey conducted by Eat Drink Lucky which asked about their perspectives on eating at home and dining out post-reopening.

In terms of going back to dining in restaurants when restrictions are lifted, 23.2% said they would do so immediately, while 17% said they would wait two months or longer.

Eat Drink Lucky publisher Gillian Britt told Mainebiz that she was surprised by those findings, saying: “Considering how frightening COVID-19 is, we expected that number to be higher. We were encouraged to see that 23% said they would return immediately, and another 42% said they’ll be back within a month.”

C4C and Save Our Shifts

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published an article about Cooking for Community, a new organization that’s feeding people and supporting restaurants and farms.

The result has been staggering. In five weeks, Cooking for Community has raised over $215,000 in donations, growing from two restaurants to nine and serving meals to people from eight different social networks. It went from serving 450 meals the first week to 2,215 last week. On Thursday alone, the initiative provided 665 meals from four restaurants.

and the Bangor Daily News has published an article about Save Our Shifts, a new media initiative that enables bartenders with a new way to engage in their profession.

Last week, Pomerleau and a cohort of hospitality industry workers launched a campaign to benefit bartenders statewide who have lost work due to the pandemic. The campaign, called Save Our Shifts, offers a glimpse of the future of the profession during a public health crisis, mounting a platform for barkeeps to present mixology tutorials for people drinking at home.