Sarah’s Farmstand Kitchen

A new market cafe and catering business called Sarah’s Farmstand Kitchen (facebook) is under development and owner Rachel Chiasson hopes to launch the business later this month.

For the initial menu Chiasson will be serving a takeout menu of rice bowls. Options will include Autumn Harvest (marinated kale crisp apple, charred root vegetables, nuts, maple dijon) and Three Bean (garlic black beans, fried chickpeas, edamame, roast corn, charred peppers, spicy cilantro sauce). All bowls come with a choice of shredded chicken, sliced beef, chopped shrimp or sticky tofu.

In addition to meals to go Chiasson plans to sell produce from the farms she buys from and in doing so expand the market for locally grown foods. The launch of Sarah’s Farmstand Kitchen is the culmination of Chiasson’s long term ambition to run her own business after working for many years in the hospitality industry.

Sarah’s will be located at the Urban Farm Fermentory in East Bayside. It will be open Thursday through Saturday, 3 to 8 pm.


Brewer of the Year

Allagash was named the 2021 Brewery and Brewer of the Year by the Great American Beer Festival in the 15k – 100k barrels segment of the industry.

In a statement to the Press Herald founder Rob Tod shared his thoughts on the award,

“We love what we do and care deeply about the quality of the beers we make, and we’re honored and humbled to be recognized for that,” Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash, said in a written statement. “It’s been a particularly challenging and enlightening year and a half. But we’ve been able to weather the storm and, from our perspective, come out on the other side even stronger. Being honored at GABF feels like validation for all of the hard work we’ve put in.”

Old Port Flores Now Open

Flores (website, facebook, instagram) opened their new restaurant on Congress Street on Saturday. The newly renovated space is located at 431 Congress Street adjacent to the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church at the head of Temple Street. The restaurant seats 30+ people and features a bar and full liquor license.

Flores in the Old Port is open Monday 5 – 11 pm, Thursday and Friday 5 pm – 1 am, Saturday 2 pm – 1 am, and Sunday 9 am – 9 pm. The Flores in Parkside will remain open for takeout.

Here’s a look at the menu.

Restaurant Design, Olfactory Portland

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article on the changing olfactory nature of Portland, and

The smorgasbord of scents Lausier recounted hasn’t existed since the late 1990s, when the J.J. Nissen Bakery on Washington Avenue shut down. Jordan’s Meats, on India Street in the East End, stopped cooking up hot dogs and deli meats in 2005. The B&M Baked Beans plant, where Lausier worked for 42 years, will stop production by the end of this year, the owners announced in late August.

an article about contemporary restaurant design in our city.

The 1920s glam bar at the Time & Temperature will be the latest in a slew of restaurants and bar/lounges in the city that have been amping up their interior design game. The city’s image as a down-to-earth, no-fuss, mostly rustic farm-to-table culinary scene is changing. Some attribute it, at least in part, to the Restaurant City of the Year accolade Bon Appétit magazine bestowed in 2018.

Norimoto Bakery on Stevens Ave

Atsuko Fujimoto has leased 469 Stevens Ave where she plans to relocate Norimoto Bakery (website, instagram) from South Portland. The new location is in the building formerly occupied by Simply Scandinavian Foods in Deering Center which is also home to Quality Shop, Rwanda Bean Coffee, Pat’s Meat Market, The Honey Exchange, Elsmere, and other businesses.

Fujimoto is looking forward to having more space for her growing business and to creating a work space uniquely tuned to her way of working and that provides room for her and a growing team to work.

Fujimoto hopes to be fully moved in and open for business in time for the holidays. She’ll be closing down her current location later this month (September 18-19 are the last takeout days) and then opening the new bakery as soon as the build out is complete. The new Norimoto will have a takeout window inspired by old tabako-ya corner tobacco kiosks in Japan.

Gin & Luck Buys Little Giant

Ian and Kate Malin have announced the sale of Little Giant to the Gin & Luck hospitality group. Gin & Luck is best know for their Death & Co cocktail bars in New York City, Los Angeles and Denver.

“This is the latest example of how Portland has developed a national reputation in the food and beverage world,” said Ian Malin, who started Little Giant with his wife Kate and partners in 2017 .

“COVID was a blow to the entire restaurant industry,” Kate Malin said. “But we changed and adapted—first with paper plates and takeout out cocktails and then with an all-season outdoor space and a vaccine requirement. Our customers responded enthusiastically and 2021 has been our best year ever. We couldn’t be prouder of the team at Little Giant, and we’re very sad to say goodbye.”

Gin & Luck are still working out the details of the unique name and concept (not a Death & Co branded location) for their location in the West End so stay tuned for updates in the next few weeks. Gin & Luck COO and partner Alex P. Day moved to Portland 2 years ago.

The team’s attraction to Portland is a deeply personal one. Gin & Luck partner and COO, Alex Day, has been a resident of Portland for over two years. “Moving to Portland was transformative for me, both personally and professionally,” says Day. “I’ve found myself not only inspired by the beauty of Maine and all it has to offer, but also by a F&B community that has been incredibly welcoming every step of the way. They’ve blown me away by their deep love of hospitality, culinary creativity and enlightened business practices, and I’m thrilled by the chance to contribute in a small way – to create an establishment unique to Portland and a new F&B expression for our company, and above all, to play a meaningful part in what makes this city such an amazing place to live and visit.” The Gin & Luck team plans to release more information about their vision and timeline in the coming weeks.

“The fact that Gin & Luck chose Little Giant and Portland for their next project says a lot about the food scene in our city,” Ian Malin said. “We are excited to see this commitment from such a well-known and well-respected brand.”

Maine Cheese Industry

This week’s Portland Phoenix has a report on the Maine Cheese industry.

Donahue said she is fortunate because her farm now processes all of its milk on-site, meaning it makes cheese and yogurt without having to ship or bottle it.

And unlike many other states, she added, Maine allows farmers to bottle their raw milk and sell it either at the farm or at farmer’s markets or retail stores.

Maine is also unique because of the way it allows cheesemakers to make their cheese, which Donahue said has helped open the door for smaller and new cheesemakers to make higher volumes of cheese to sell.

A Charcuterie Food Truck

A new food truck called The Portland Board (website, facebook, instagram) is set to launch in September by owner Graham Young. The Portland Board will be operating out of a vintage baby blue 1979 Volkswagon bus.

Young plans to offer both medium and larger sized boards for groups as well as smaller “bites” of pairs of chacuterie options. He also hopes to collaborate with local business with one-off menus that expand beyond The Portland Board’s focus on chacuterie.

Young started working in restaurants when he was 11-years-old and “quickly developed a love for the fast pace and hard work which always stayed with me”. He’s worked in the cannabis industry for the last decade in Maine and California. Since he’s moved back to Maine has been inspired by the food community here and the food truck is a way of connecting with it.

Apples & Cheese This Sunday

The Maine Pomological Society is celebrating Maine Apple Sunday this weekend. 17 orchards across the state from Wells to Mercer will be taking part. Check the MPS website for a full list of participating orchards and specials being offered.

The Maine State Pomological Society will hold the 21th annual Maine Apple Sunday on September 12, 2021 with participating orchards around the state. Maine Apple Sunday starts the peak of the apple harvest when summer apples are still available but the main crop is ready for its first pick. Apple orchards from Wells to Caribou will celebrate by offering special activities and free samples of apple products.

The Maine Cheese Guild is holding their Maine Cheese Festival this Sunday in Pittsfield. There are two sessions  11 am – 2 pm and 3  – 6 pm. Tickets are available online.

We are pleased to announce the return of the Maine Cheese Festival, our annual showcase of the best artisan cheeses made in Maine. Manson Park is a large and open park along the Sebasticook River – a beautiful setting for festival attendees to taste the vast array of superb Maine cheeses crafted from cow, goat, water buffalo and sheep milk. This Festival is the largest gathering of Maine cheese makers in the state and a great opportunity to learn about the craft right from the makers.

For those of you who may be wanting to participate in both The Apple Farm in Fairfield is just a few towns over from Pittsfield.

Newly Opened: Sushi & Mobile Coffee

Another two food businesses have launched:

Tokyo Sushi Ramen (website, instagram) opened on Monday. They’re located in the former BRGR Bar space at 11 Brown Street. The menu includes an extensive list of offerings including sushi, ramen, pad thai, tempura, teriyaki, poke bowls and more.

A new mobile coffee cart called La Mega (instagram) launched last week. Owner Joe Radano is serving a menu of coffee and espresso based drinks as well as baked goods from Standard Baking. You can find La Mega Friday on Spring Street, in Deering Oaks on Saturday, and in Congress Square Park on Sunday.