Bissell Brothers Kitchen

Bissell Brothers is in the process of renovating their Thompson’s Point tasting room with plans to relaunch it in late May or early June. As reported back in January, they have leased the adjacent restaurant space (formerly Locally Sauced Burritos) to launch Bissell Brothers Kitchen as part of their growing business.

Benjamin Martinkovic (linkedin) has been hired as the chef for Bissell Brothers. Martinkovic is a graduate of Johnson & Wales and in his 24-year career has been on staff at Central Provisions, Alinea, Benu, Chez Panisse, Atelier Crenn, and several other establishments in both restaurant and hotel settings.

At Bissell Brothers Kitchen Martinkovic will serve a menu of elevated pub fare with a strong Latin American influence but also with a degree of flexibility to explore other cuisines. BBK will be operating a counter service model—customers will place their food and beer orders and pick-up their meals from the kitchen takeout window.

Caribbean Taste

A new restaurant called Caribbean Taste opened late last week in South Portland in the Cash Corner neighborhood.

Caribbean Taste serves a menu of oxtail, curry goat, fried chicken and jerk chicken with a variety of side dishes and daily specials. They’re open Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 pm.

Food Trucks

More reporting on this year’s big expansion in the number of Maine food trucks:

Maine Calling on Maine Public radio aired a program late last week with a panel of food truck owners and other related professionals weighing in.

Maine’s food truck scene is booming, with new offerings appearing all over the state. We’ll find out how the pandemic affected business for food trucks, and how they are preparing for the busy summer season. We’ll also learn about the variety of offerings, and what the challenges and opportunities are of operating a food truck.

Mainebiz has published an article on what’s driving the expansion and the work involved in launching a mobile food business.

Welcome to the wild and wacky world of food businesses on wheels, a segment that took off in Maine — and elsewhere — during the pandemic when traditional restaurants were closed to in-person dining or forced out of business entirely. That’s opened up opportunities for newcomers like Kehoe hungry to start a business at a fraction of the cost — and hassle — of a bricks-and-mortar setup as well as new revenue streams for existing businesses.

La Fritanga

La Fritanga (instagram), the new food truck from the team at Maiz quietly launched on Thursday.

Their menu when we caught up with them on Friday included carimañola, buñuelo, empanada, chicharon con yuca, arepas, and a beet salad. The overall concept for the truck is modeled after  the street food carts in Cartagena.

Taco Trio Moving

The Press Herald reports that Taco Trio will be moving from their current location on Ocean Street to the building formerly occupied by Big Babe’s.

The new South Portland location, which she does not expect to open for at least another four weeks, will eventually serve breakfast, Rasmussen said. The old Taco Trio space will be used as a prep kitchen.

Resiliency and Community Series

News Center Maine has published the first three parts of their Resiliency and Community series examining how restaurants are being impacted by the pandemic by talking to chef and owners at some of Portland’s leading restaurants:

Part 1 – Matt Ginn about Evo and its sister restaurants

Part 2 – Ilma Lopez, Damian Sansonetti and Kirby Sholl at Chaval

Part 3 – Chris and Paige Gould at Central Provisions and Tipo

Pigeons Now Open

Here’s a look at Pigeons (websiteinstagram) the new restaurant from Maine & Loire owners Peter and Orenda Hale that opened Wednesday. Pigeons is located in the former Drifters Wife space on Washington Ave.

Pigeons is a day bar (open noon to 6 pm, Wednesday through Saturday) and restaurant serving a menu of French bistro fare (crudite, mussels, bavette steak, nicoise salad, etc), cocktails and natural wines as well as ciders, beers, spritzes and other drinks.

Pigeons has both indoor and outdoor seating.


Opening This Week: Pigeons and Buzz

Two more businesses are launching this week:

Pigeons (website, instagram) the new concept being launched by Peter and Orenda Hale in the space formerly home to Drifters Wife, is opening on Wednesday. The daytime bar and French bistro will be open noon to 6 pm Wednesday through Saturday. Reservations for Pigeons can be made online.

Buzz Coffee (instagram) is launching their new coffee cart this Saturday at the Eastern Promenade 8 am to 1 pm. Corey Koch and Christopher Weiss will be serving cold brew prepared with coffee from Rwanda Bean.