Indoor Dining Allowed Starting Wednesday

Update: A combined outdoor/indoor dining list has been published. This page is no longer being kept up to date.

The Governor’s office has announced that restaurants can resume indoor dining in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties as of Wednesday.

The Mills Administration announced today that indoor dining in Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York counties can voluntarily resume on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 with added health and safety protocols outlined in the COVID-19 Prevention Checklist. The decision to allow inside dining in these three counties follows a plateauing of new cases in recent weeks, based on the 14-day moving average, as well as the stabilization of hospital rates in the same counties. Previously, only outside dining, takeaway, and delivery services were permitted at restaurants in these three counties. With this change, restaurants statewide will now be open to both inside and outside dining with added health and safety precautions.

Restaurants have started announcing plans to restart indoor dining:

  • Blue Spoon – June 19th
  • CBG – June 18th
  • Evo Kitchen + Bar – June 24th
  • Fore Street – June 24th
  • Hot Suppa – June 19th
  • Knitting Nook – June 18th
  • Nura – June 19th
  • Old Port Sea Grill – June 18th
  • Petite Jacqueline – June 20th
  • Rosie’s – June 17th
  • Scales – June 17th
  • Street & Co – June 22nd
  • The Roma Cafe – June 17th
  • Three Dollar Deweys – June 17th
  • Union – June 19th

More Participate in Bakers Against Racism

In addition to the (now sold out) multi-baker cookie box Bakers Against Racism initiative, several other Portland area bakers have announced their own Bakers Against Racism efforts:

Bakers Against Racism is taking place in Mid-June in cities all around the world with thousands of  bakers from hundreds of cities taking part.

Zao Ze Now Open

Chef Cara Stadler and her business partner/mother Cecile Stadler opened Zao Ze Cafe and Market (instgram) yesterdsy in Brunswick.

Zao Ze serves “Asian street foods, with a focus on breakfast and lunch”. You can see the menu and order online. It has an open air seating area in the Tao Yuan parking lot.

Shown here is the Drunken Lamb Rou Jia Mo sandwich made with Shaoxing and Baiju braised lamb and kimchi on a sesame bun.

Reviewing and Retaining

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article by Andrew Ross on the factors impacting his decision on when to start reviewing restaurants again,

But I confess, I miss writing about restaurants … maybe even more than I miss eating in them. I miss pulling out my phone and scrolling through photos of the dishes I ate and zooming in to puzzle out what made them succeed (or not). I even miss deciphering the notes I took surreptitiously during a meal. These are typed under the table, so they frequently read as if they were tapped out by someone with 10 thumbs.

and an article about which of the changes brought about by the pandemic are likely to persist after things return to normal.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a whole menu of changes to Maine’s restaurant industry. Some innovations, like the temporary approval of cocktails to go, have excited both restaurant owners and diners. Others changes, they say, should be 86’d as soon as possible, restaurant lingo for “no longer available.” Here’s our look at some of the adjustments that have been made this spring, and the odds that they’ll stick around after the pandemic is over…

Food Industry Action

A new initiative called Food Industry Action launched on Thursday. As part of the program participating restaurants are raising money on June 27th for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund by donating “5% of sales…on behalf of a united food community”.

Portland area restaurants that so far have announced plans to take part include: A&C Grocery, Bresca and the Honey Bee, LB Kitchen, Market Street Eats, Palace Diner, Parlor Ice Cream, Ramona’s, Rose Foods, Tandem Coffee.

Black Dinah Chocolatiers to Change Name

Black Dinah Chocolates has announced plans to change the name of the company.

I’ve just plain been thinking a lot, period, these past two and a half weeks. About racism, antiracism, racial justice, and the powerful movement that is in play in our country at this moment. About what it takes for change to happen: murder, outrage, collective grief. And my place in it all. My company’s place in it all. And how it relates to you.

The company was named for Black Dinah Mountain on Isle au Haut where the company got its start before moving to Westbrook.

Several years after we moved our company to the mainland and south to the Greater Portland area, we noticed, to our dismay, that not everyone had the same good associations with our company name. And as our customer base grew, so did our perspective. Last fall, we began, as a team, to make a plan to transition to a new name.

The new name will be announced in July.

For additional information see articles in the Bangor Daily News and MaineBiz.

Evo X to Open Today

Evo X (instagram) the new waterfront food truck from Evo Kitchen + Bar is launching today at noon. The mobile kitchen is located adjacent the Eastern Prom walking trail near the former Portland Company Complex.

The concept for Evo X is of a waterfront seafood shack serving a menu of on-concept dishes and a few options (e.g. chickpea fries) carried over from the regular Evo menu.  There will be outdoor picnic table seating, counter service and drinks will be available from the Fore Points Marina bar which is also currently under development. The menu is a collaboration between chefs Matt Ginn and John Glover.

Bakers Against Racism

A growing number of bakers are teaming up to sell cookie boxes with all proceeds being donated to Black Lives Matter Portland. The response has been so strong that the cookie boxes sold out in about 24 hours, even after more than doubling the production.

Participating bakers and restaurants include Chaval, Tandem, Gross Confection Bar, Parlor Ice Cream, Primo, The Purple House, Central Provisions, Other Side Diner, Kim Rodgers, Rosemont, Big Tree Hospitality, Twist, A Little Suga, Leeward, Bixby Chocolates, Dutch’s, Mill Cove Baking, Sur Lie, Juliette Riscia, and Donuts & Hibiscus.

Place an order and make a donation on the Chaval e-commerce site. Pick-up is schedule for June 20th.

Bakers Against Racism is taking place in Mid-June in cities all around the world. As of Wednesday there are 2,400 participating chefs from 42 states, over 170 US cities & 15 countries taking part.

Update: The cookie boxes raised over $8,000 dollars for Black Lives Matter.