Luna & Salt Yard

The indoor/outdoor rooftop bar Luna (instagram)  and street-level restaurant and coffee bar Salt Yard (instagram) will be opening with the launch of the new Canopy Portland Waterfront (websitefacebookinstagram) hotel on Commercial Street at noon on Wednesday.

Located on the sixth floor overlooking Commercial Street, the 88-seat Luna features indoor and outdoor seating areas with views along Commercial Street and across the Old Port (see below). The menu includes a set of house cocktails and mocktails, wines and draft beers as well as small plate such as duck wings, burrata, spicy crab rolls and a selection of desserts. Luna will be open 4 – 11 pm seven days a week.

The 53-seat street level restaurant and coffee bar Salt Yard will initially open for breakfast and lunch (7 am – 2 pm) with dinner service to be added to the line-up later. Salt Yard will be serving coffee from Rwanda Bean along with house made baked goods and a menu that includes flatbread pizza, salads, soups and sandwiches and breakfast items.


A Tale of Two Portlands

The Press Herald has all the details on an errant dumpling machine ordered by Little Brother from China.

“We saw that it was headed for Tacoma, Washington, and then Portland, Oregon.” Lee said. “We called them and they said, ‘It’s already in the water. We can’t do anything about it now.’”

Guyer, laughing, recalled the company’s suggestion: “Can’t you just go to Oregon and pick it up?”

Crispy Gai to Open on Wednesday

Crispy Gai (website, instagram) is scheduled to open their new restaurant on Wednesday June 30th. Jordan Rubin (aka Mr Tuna) and Cyle Reynolds originally launched Crispy Gai as a pop-up takeout business last November. Now with its own full kitchen Crispy Gai will offer an expanded menu with dishes like wok fried water spinach, grilled lobster, grilled pork neck, and oysters served with fried shallot and Nam Jim seafood sauce.

The cocktail program will be led by bartender Arvid Brown with “tropical-leaning” drinks that riff off of the ingredients used in kitchen. The menu includes drinks   like the Bermuda Love Triangle (a tropical take on a gimlet that incorporates a lime leaf and lemongrass infused citrus cordial and a local coconut gin) and the Wave of Mutilation—a reference to a Pixies song from the 1980s—which is a Mai Tai-like drink that uses over proof rye whiskey, banana liquor and cashew orgeat.

The new Crispy Gai is located at 90 Exchange Street in the space formerly occupied by Eaux. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 4 – 10 pm.


Strata Opening Saturday

The new and expanded Strata (websiteinstagram) culinary knife and kitchen store is scheduled to open this Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm.

Strata was founded by Evan Atwell in 2018, and was among the first wave of businesses that took up residence in the Black Box container retail spaces on Washington Ave. The new shop is located at 67 Washington Ave in the former Nissen Bakery Building.

Atwell will keep knives at the center of what Strata sells but will have a more diverse product selection including glassware, cookbooks, pasta making tools, traditional handmade Japanese ceramics and lacquerware, aprons, kitchen towels, etc.

Atwell also plans to offer in-person classes for knife sharpening, knife skills, and other topics in the future.

Pigeons Closing

The owners of Pigeons have announced they plan to close the Washington Ave restaurant. This Saturday will be their last day in business. Pigeons opened on May 12th of this year.

Hi, friends. This will be our last week of service at PIGEONS. Life is certainly not a straight path… but that’s the pain and beauty of it. Thank you to the team behind PIGEONS who created something truly magical. A team full of talent, professionalism, charm, wit and heart.

The owners plan to expand their wine shop, Maine & Loire, into the full space of the restaurant.

Falafel Time

Qutaiba Hassoon has leased the right hand side of 1053 Forest Ave where he plans to open Falafel Time a bakery and takeout restaurant serving vegetarian Middle Eastern food. Hassoon hopes to open Falafel Guys this September after completing renovations of the former Papa John’s space.

Hassoon is a second generation restauranteur. His parents owned Haggarty’s restaurant 2012-2014.

Summer Sampler Series

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an article on Fork Food Lab’s Summer Sampler Series.

Tickets for the Summer Sampler Series are $10 for one event or $25 to attend all three. Included in the admission price is a complimentary beer, wine, or seltzer, and a Fork Food Lab tote bag to carry the evening’s goodies.

“It was our hope that people would come to sip, sample and shop,” Sinclair said. “Then they would come to have a drink but then will also buy something to support (the members).”

The Summer Sampler Series is taking place June 23rd, July 21st and August 18th. Tickets are available on the Fork website.

Hospitality Jobs and Pay

Today’s Press Herald reports on an effort by six local restaurants to “join a national movement to improve food service jobs and get rid of subminimum wages some workers are paid”

RAISE: High Road Restaurants, a national association of business owners, joined Ruby’s West End, Bao Bao Dumpling House, Central Provisions, Chaval, and Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, all in Portland, and Magnus on Water in Biddeford, for a hiring event and media conference Thursday to outline their efforts to improve jobs prone to exploitation, harassment and low pay.

“The age of looking at kitchen work and service work as ‘less than’ is over,” said Corrinna Stum, owner of Ruby’s. “It is good, steady work. You can make a living at it. It is a trade.”

Hope Hushion, 44

Former Fore Street sous chef Hope Hushion passed away this week at the age of 44.

Sam Hayward, chef-partner at Fore Street, released a statement Tuesday saying Hushion’s death shocked everyone who knew and worked with her. He said she was a force of nature and a powerful cooking professional.

“She was an essential member of our kitchen’s leadership, a sous chef capable of accomplishing anything we threw at her, running any station, and training any novice cook,” Hayward wrote in an email. “Her death has left many of her former colleagues and close friends crushed. My condolences go out to all of them. Hope will be deeply missed.”