Coco Cones Closing

Chef/owner MuhammadCasey’ Jabrawi has decided to close Coco Cones, his chicken and waffle eatery located on the second floor of the Public Market House. Jabrawi will be directing his full energies to his other business Paella Seafood on  Forest Ave.

Anyone interested in taking over the Coco Cones space can reach Jabrawi at (813) 998-4433 or, or contact the Market manager at (207) 939-0980.

Cong Tu Bot Opens Saturday


Cong Tu Bot (websiteinstagram) will officially reopen Saturday morning at 8 am. The highly regarded Vietnamese restaurant is transitioning into a counter service daytime cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

On Saturday Cong Tu Bot will be serving a limited breakfast menu (see below) that includes a breakfast sandwich, coconut yogurt parfait, and pandan cake, along with coffee, tea and other drinks. Over the next few weeks perennial favorites such as the phở gà and bún chả as well as a range of new breakfast and lunch items will make it onto the menu.

Cong Tu Bot has a new outdoor seating area—indoor seating is not available at this time. Hours will be: Thursday and Friday 7 am – 1 pm, Saturday and Sunday 8 am – 2 pm.

Frying Dutchman

A new business is under construction on the 2nd floor of the Public Market House. The Frying Dutchman (instagram) plans to serve cones of Dutch-style fries with a variety of toppings. Owners Leon Vuong and Cody Leland plan to open in September.

This is a second business for Vuong and Leland who also launched a pop-up business called Seven Seas Food & Co (website, instagram) at the Fork Food Lab back in June. In June and July they sold natural plant-dyed raviolis and cannolis.

Vuong was recently one of 13 chefs participating in the 2021 Great American Seafood Cook-Off which took place last week in New Orleans.

Proof of Vaccination

The Press Herald reports that the Hunt & Alpine Club is a “one week into enforcing its new vaccine requirement for indoor dining”.

“We’re a bar. We card people all the time. This is just another way of carding,” [co-owner Briana] Volk said. “It’s really not a big deal. No one in person has been upset about it.” She said the restaurant has taken some criticism online about the move, but most people are supportive.

Hunt & Alpine is the first food business in Portland to require proof of vaccination. Both Little Giant and Crown Jewel both have taken steps to discourage unvaccinated people from dining indoors at their restaurants but have not yet required proof of vaccination status.


A new Italian restaurant called Topolina is under development by chef Michael Bergin.

I started working in restaurants as a dishwasher 23 years ago and have been working feverishly on building my craft ever since. I believe my time has come to tell my story and I am eager to express my passion for Italian cuisine to Portland and beyond. I’m earnest in my belief that what I have to tell through food, and the experience I want to curate, is something unique and considerable. The fundamental lessons I learned as a dishwasher, and eventually working in Michelin-rated restaurants, as well as my memories of sharing meals with my Grandfather have all made me who I am today. I can’t imagine a better way to pay it forward than to share similar feelings of nostalgia, simplicity, and warmth with my neighbors. More than ever, I want this restaurant to bring friends and families back to the dinner table. What is a better facilitator for that than a house-made bowl of pasta? I hope that our humble, sincere Italian restaurant will be this escape for people.

Bergin grew up in Massachusetts where he got introduced to the culinary world while working with his grandfather at the family business Noe & Sons Produce. He’s worked in Washington DC, Boston and New York at a number of highly regarded restaurants including L’Espalier, Del Posto, and Coppa. Prior to moving to Portland he was the executive chef at The Fat Hen and at The Salty Pig in Boston. Bergin is currently part of the team at the Big Tree Hospitality group in Portland.

A launch date for Topolina (which means ‘little mouse’ in Italian) is still TBD. Bergin has set-up a $10k crowdfunding campaign to help defray some of the development costs for the restaurant.

Six Degrees at Back Bay Grill

Back Bay Grill has announced a significant shift in concept and direction. Starting in mid-September Back Bay Grill will be under new leadership operating under the name Six Degrees at Back Bay Grill.

Adrian Stratton, BBG’s well known general manager will be leaving Back Bay Grill at the end of August to pursue a new career direction in the retail wine industry. Under the ongoing ownership of and with oversight and guidance by chef/owner Larry Matthews a new team will be leading the kitchen and overall operation of Six Degrees.

Don Purdy along with Mariah and Matt Dyer will be managing the new business with chef Nick Gratton taking the lead in the kitchen. Gratton has worked in Maine at Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, and for chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier. He has also had experience working in China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Back Bay Grill will be serving a 3-course prix fixe menu grounded in their well loved current approach during the remainder of the month on August 6-7, 19-21 and 26-28.

Back Bay Grill was founded in 1988 and has been owned and operated by chef Larry Matthews for the last 19 years. The restaurant has been a James Beard Awards semifinalist for Outstanding Service in 2018 and 2019.

Restaurant Real Estate: August 2021

Welcome to the August 2021 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/retailers to locate their next business.

Even in these tough times for the hospitality industry some people are pursuing their dreams and opening new food businesses. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this new resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End

722 Congress St – the building that’s home to Yordprom Coffee and the now closed Figgy’s is for sale for $650,000.

101 York St – a 15,000 sq ft sub-dividable space in the new building on the corner of York and High Street is available for $15-20/sq ft (NNN). The space already has a hood vent and grease traps installed.

Arts District

555 Congress St – the former Five Fifty-Five building is for sale for $2,400,000.

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft on first and basement floors for $30/sq ft (MG).


148 Anderson St – 3,000 sq ft in East Bayside located next to Tandem Coffee available for $17/sq ft (NNN).

170 Anderson St – 2,000 – 3,500 sq ft in East Bayside available for $15/sq ft (NNN).

15 Chestnut St – the 14,000 sq ft building that was the former home of Grace is for sale for $3,730,000.

360 Cumberland Ave – two spaces (900 sq ft on Cumberland Ave and a 1,000 sq ft space in a building set back from the street) are available for $24-25/sq ft (NNN).

31 Diamond St – this 2,800 – 22,034 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $16/sq ft (NNN).

25 Portland St – 2 spaces in the Flat Iron Block (600 and 725 sq ft) are available for $1,300 and $1,500/month respectively.

34 Portland St – the 4,256 sq ft building that was formerly occupied by Candy’s is available for $3,500/month.

24 Preble St – the 2,800 sq ft former home of Arcadia is available for $20/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

30 Danforth St – 3 units (1,800, 1,881, 2,900 sq ft) are for lease at $2,475 – $3,950/month (MG).

88 Danforth St – a 1,231 sq ft free standing building on Danforth Street is for sale for $320,000.

18 Exchange St – 1,800 sq ft of retail space for lease at $6,950/month (MG).

19 Exchange St – 1,000 sq ft of basement space formerly occupied by Blake Orchard for $1,100/month (MG).

446 Fore St – 1,600 – 3,400 sq ft in the former Pearl space with entrances on Wharf and Fore Streets is available for $30-40/sq ft (MG).

505 Fore St – The 2,996 sq ft former Pizzarino space is available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

40 Free St – A new building is under construction on Free Street by JB Brown. The first floor will have 4/5 storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft. The construction is expected to be completed in 2021. The rate is $30/sq ft (NNN).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

111 Middle St – this 1,600 sq ft space has a storied past as the former location of Piccolo and before that Bresca. It’s available for $3,500/month (NNN), the building is also for sale.

28 Monument Square – the former Maine Squeeze juice bar in the Public Market House is for lease. Contact for more information. Also, the second floor space formerly occupied by Sichuan Kitchen is available, call (207) 939-0980 for information.

2 Portland Square – the turnkey former Walter’s is on the market. 3,219 sq ft for $28/sq ft (MG).

3 Portland Square – This new building will include 2,500 – 20,000 square feet of retail space for$28.50/sq ft.

3 Spring St – the 2,554 – 3,500 sq ft former Lio space is available at $19/sq ft (NNN).

India/Washington Ave

47 India St – the former Lois’ Market; 1,000 – 3,300 sq ft for $3,000 – $8,200/month (NNN).

100 Fore St – 2 retail spaces are available in a new building planned for Fore Street. 1,141 and 1,914 sq ft respectively, $27 – 30/sq ft (NNN).

Forest Ave

333 Forest Ave – a 2,468 retail space is available for $16/sq ft (MG).

701 Forest Ave – this former Rite Aid building is being converted and has 4 retail spaces available for $20-25/sq ft (NNN).

1190 Forest Ave – located right in the center of Morrill’s Corner. 3,000 – 5,082 sq ft at $12 – 20/sq ft (NNN).

1569 Forest Ave – a 1,400 sq ft “soon to be completed restaurant/retail building” is available on outer Forest Ave.


865 Brighton Ave – a 1,232 sq ft former gas station/quick market is for sale for $400,000.

1041 Brighton Ave – 1,500 -7,000 sq ft of space available in the strip mall that’s the longtime location of Panda Garden. The space is available for $10-13/sq ft (NNN).

441 Congress St – The 2,400 sq ft former home of Guitar Grave across the street from 1 Monument Square is available for $20/sq ft.

240 Saint John St – 1,600 – 10,000 sq ft in Union Station Plaza for $12-14/sq ft (NNN)

Westgate Shopping Center – two spaces are for least at $17-37/sq ft (NNN).

23 Lincoln St, Biddeford – a 12,600 sq ft space divided equally on two floors, each floor has a kitchen with hoods is available for $11/sq ft (NNN). Contact Tony Delois for more information at

Other Spaces – some vacated restaurant spaces haven’t yet been formerly listed for by the owner. Check the closing announcements for the latest information.


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.

‘Adult-Vaccination Restaurant’

Little Giant has announced a new policy for their West End restaurant,

We are now an “adult-vaccination restaurant.” This means that if you are an adult who has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you are welcome to dine at Little Giant. If you have not been vaccinated, please make alternate dining arrangements.

Vaccine ineligible children and vaccinated adults are welcome to dine at Little Giant in our outdoor dining options only. If you are dining with children, please select outdoor dining when booking or call us at 207-747-5045 to discuss dining options.

Masks are required when not eating or drinking. Our bar seats are currently unavailable.

While this may be the first Portland restuarant to implement this approach, a growing number of restaurants in NYC are taking the additional step of requiring diners to show proof of vaccination to eat indoors.

Update: The Hunt + Alpine Club is also asking their customers to be fully vaccinated to be seated indoors at their bar, and Crown Jewel on Great Diamond Island has announced that indoor seating is only for vaccinated customers.

For more reporting on this subject read this article by the Press Herald.