Streets to Dining Rooms

Two more streets in Portland have been turned into outdoor dining space for local restaurants.

  • The stretch of Middle Street from India to Franklin has been turned into a one way street with areas in front of Eventide and The Honey Paw, and in front of East Ender, Duckfat and Ribolita blocked off for tables.
  • Boothly Square businesses have gotten the approval to close off and use the streets and green space in the square for outdoor dining.

There’s a growing list of restaurants offering outdoor dining in addition to takeout and delivery.

Pic-nic-ette Series

Thompson’s Point has launched a series of outdoor events called Pic-nic-ette. Each one features a different set of mobile food business. The upcoming Pic-nic-ette taking place this Saturday June 13th and features food from Bog’s Bakery, Mainely Hot Dogs, and the Brulee Bike.

A $5 ticket on Eventbrite “gets you a soft drink at the bar, your own picnic space on the water” and a chance to try some of Maine’s mobile food vendors.

Interview with Cherie Scott from Mumbai to Maine

For their latest podcast, Femidish interviewed Cherie Scott, the founder of Mumbai to Maine.

Listen for the distant windchimes in this episode with Cherie Scott of Mumbai to Maine, a culinary blog and podcast, and known for her cooking classes featuring Indian cuisine. From pulling sachets of garam masala out of her college suitcase, to hosting the Maine Bicentennial Food Podcast, Cherie shares her lived experiences with Sandy and Hope on how food connects people across cultures.

License to Change

The Press Herald reports that some businesses are taking the opportunity to change their business license in order to offer outdoor dining.

Novare Res, Sagamore Hill Lounge, Tomaso’s Canteen and Rising Tide Brewing, which were all previously licensed as Class A lounges, have been issued restaurant licenses, allowing them to reopen before other bars and brew pubs. Bars, pubs and tasting rooms will be allowed to open as soon as July 1 unless the reopening plan is changed.

Little Woodfords Moving to Congress Street

Little Woodfords (websiteinstagramtwitterfacebook) announced that they’ll be moving their coffee shop from Woodfords Corner to 316A Congress Street by the end of the month.

that being said, our lease expires at the end of june and after trying wholeheartedly (and tirelessly) to negotiate with our landlords for months, there is simply no way we can afford the significant increase in rent and other costs they are requiring to occupy this space. please know we tried our very best to make this work, and that if we agreed to the new terms, we wouldn’t have lasted the summer.

now for the good news: over the past couple of weeks, when it seemed like we were going to have to close our doors forever, we found a space where little woodfords can call home. it is not in our current neighborhood, but you have our word we will create an additional coffee shop back in woodfords corner when the opportunity presents itself. we are excited, nervous, caffeinated and optimistic about what tomorrow will bring!

Little Woodfords was founded by Andrew and TJ Zarro in 2017.

New York Fried Chicken

A new restaurant called New York Fried Chicken has leased the former Bob’s Clam Hut space on Washington Ave. The signage indicates they’ll be selling a menu of fried chicken, kebabs, gyro, seafood, subs and ice cream. New York Fried Chicken will be a halal restaurant.

There are restaurants by the same name according to Wikipedia they are not a chain or a franchise despite operating a very similar concept.

Little Lad’s at 25

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a profile of Little Lad’s.

In 1995, Little Lad’s opened for business as a cafe and bakery on Route 1 in Woolwich, and it was there that its famous popcorn was developed as an alternative to corn chips. The company began making its Herbal Corn and many other food products by hand in Corinth in 1999, after relocating from its home in Woolwich. Over the years, Little Lad’s evolved — among other changes, the cafes are gone now — but its roots remain in that first Woolwich restaurant and its food.

Support for Me Lon Togo (Updated)

A Go Fund Me campaign has been set-up for Mé Lon Togo, a West African restaurant with locations in Waterville and Searsport. The money will help owner Jordan Benissan in relocating his Waterville restaurant.

Here’s the project background share on the site:

Jordan Benissan is the proud owner and chef of Mé Lon Togo (translated to I love Togo)—two West African inspired restaurants in Searsport and Waterville, Maine. Unfortunately due to the current challenging economic and social landscape, he was recently forced to close his Waterville location. We’re hoping to help Jordan keep his business going by giving him the chance to re-open his Waterville restaurant and share his Togolese cuisine and his experience once again with the local community. Jordan himself is a long-time community member of Maine, and while food may be his passion, he is also an accomplished musician having taught African drumming professionally for decades at colleges across Maine, including Colby and Bowdoin, as well as across the United States. -from Jake, Eating Through the Seacoast (Instagram: eatingthroughtheseacoast)

For more information on Mé Lon Togo visit their website, follow them on facebook and instagram, or read these articles from the Kennebec Journal and Down East magazine., and watch this video about Benissan and Mé Lon Togo.

Donate to the campaign on

Update: The Go Fund Me campaign raised $16k and Me Lon Togo is in the process of re-opening the restaurant in Camden.

Burundi Star Coffee Has Opened

A new  coffee shop called Burundi Star Coffee (facebook) opened earlier this week at 261 Saint John Street. In addition to drip coffee and espresso-based drinks, Burundi Star also sells baked goods from Norimoto Bakery.

As the name suggests, Burundi Star will feature coffee from Burundi. Their first coffee, Burundi Mutambu is a medium roast with tasting notes of “green apple, honey, and toffee”.

Stadlers to Open Zao Ze Cafe and Market

Chef Cara Stadler and her business partner/mother Cecile Stadler have announced plans to launch Zao Ze Cafe and Market (instgram) in Brunswick. Zao Ze will be located in the first floor of the Stadler’s aquaponics greenhouse just across the parking lot from Tao Yuan.

Zao Ze will feature “Asian street foods, with a focus on breakfast and lunch”. Their will be an open air seating area, and the Tao Yuan kitchen will be used for Zao Ze while the remaining renovations of the market and cafe space are being completed.

The Stadlers plan to continue serving takeout from Lio and Bao Bao, as well as open the deck at Lio for outdoor seating. Tao Yuan is expected to remain closed until this fall.