Upcoming Events: Free Street, New Year’s Eve, KitNA

Tuesdayopening day at Free Street (instagram), the new restaurant and bar at 77 Free Street located in the renovated space formerly occupied Binga’s Stadium. The menu includes a 25-tap draft beer list, house designed and classic cocktails, and a menu of casual appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees like chicken and waffles, fish and chips, and salt and pepper tofu.

Saturday – Christmas.

New Year’s Eve – Here’s a growing list of options for your New Year’s Eve celebrations–more will be added as restaurants announce their plans—send us a message if you see some place missing from the list.

  • Batson River – entertainment and “passed appetizers, food stations, late night snacks, and a sparkling toast at midnight”; $70 per person.
  • Broken Arrow – 5-course dinner ($95 per person) at 6 pm, and 7-course dinner ($145 per person) at 9 pm, both with optional pairings.
  • Crispy Gai –fried chicken and caviar.
  • Evo Kitchen + Bar – 6-course dinner with optional wine pairings; $150 per person.
  • Friends & Family – a Tour d’Alps tasting menu; $48 per person.
  • Judy Gibson – a 6-course tasting menu plus snacks; $100 per person with optional beverage pairing for $45 per person.
  • Knotted Apron – 4-course dinner with champagne toast; $79 per person.
  • Luna – entertainment, appetizers and sparkling wine toast; $100 per person.
  • Mr. Tuna – a range of sushi options for 2 – 10 people.
  • Roma – is offering a special menu, details TBD.
  • Verbena’s – 4-course takeout dinner; $52 per person.

New Year’s Day

January 2KitNA (instagram) will be releasing their first beer On Your Mark American Blonde at a variety of beer retail locations.

January 14 – The Good Food Foundation will be announcing the winners of the 2022 awards program; 10 Maine food producers are finalists this year, and Black Tie is kicking-off a spring cooking class series.


magazine has included the Microdose (recipe) on the menu at Magnus on Water in the list of the magazine’s Favorite Cocktails of 2021.

It’s most impressive to me when a drink achieves complexity in restraint. A prime example is Brian Catapang’s Microdose, served at Magnus on Water in Biddeford, Maine. The drink works from a simple concept—“salty watermelon on a patio”—executed with razor-sharp precision. Fresh watermelon juice is bolstered by the slight salinity of fino sherry, the fruit notes of pisco, the acid of lime and an added saline jolt from a tincture of habanero and dulse seaweed. Like all cocktails strive to be, it’s far greater than the sum of its parts.

Vena’s Fizz House

Mainer News has published an update on Vena’s Fizz House’s project to move their shop and bar into a former Portland church.

The Cormans hope to have the doors open next spring; they and Marquis are already planning several themed events for next year. And the old church will still be available for weddings — Steve Corman is a notary who’s already performed ceremonies as “The Marrying Bartender,” a much better nickname for such occasions than The Bitterest Man in the World.  

For more details, see this earlier announcement.

Charcuterie & Shaker Baking

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about the baking traditions of the Shaker community in New Gloucester, and

During the first weekend of December, Brother Arnold baked 800 biscuits and 200 cinnamon rolls, rolling dough out on the same marble slab that Shakers have used since the dwelling house was built in 1883. He has baked more than 80 fruitcakes so far this year, plus coffee-can and beer-batter breads.

“Food really is important to the Shakers. It always has been,” Brother Arnold says as he moves around the kitchen with the ease that comes from cooking here for more than four decades.

an article about the profusion of cheese and meat board options now available in Portland.

If the now-trendy boards appearing with increasing frequency on menus across southern Maine are any indication, what customers are getting is full. No matter what you call them, charcuterie boards are all about abundance. And in a phase of the pandemic where you might have to wait months for lumber, a new car or a snowblower, there is something reassuring in being presented with an edible, over-the-top display of bounty.

Cooking with Oasis

Are you still looking for a gift for an enthusiastic home cook or restaurant goer on your list? Then look no further than the Cooking With Oasis series taught by:

  • Acclaimed chef Sam Hayward – will demonstrate a dish made with Maine grains and winter seafood (January 15th)
  • Chef and food writer Christine Burns Rudalevige – will have sausage and fried plantain, a sirloin steak with Maine blue cheese and a warm salad on the menu (February 12th)
  • Vessel and Vine owner Nikaline Iacono – will teach a cocktail class focusing on shaken cocktails (March 12th)

The classes are raising funds for the Oasis Free Clinics which focus on “providing exceptional, patient-centered care to uninsured members of our community.”

Big Fin/Paper City BBQ

The American Journal reports that Big Fin Poke is moving to Rock Row, and that a new restaurant tentatively named Paper City Barbecue is taking its place.

Siblings Tom and Meg Minervino plan to open a barbecue restaurant, tentatively named “Paper City Barbecue,” at 855 Main St., this spring or summer.

The new restaurant’s vibe will be very different from the taproom’s, Tom Minervino said. It will have a family-friendly atmosphere, complete with some arcade games and things for young kids to do.

The Minervinos are also partners in Legends Rest in Westbrook, and Rathskeller on Wharf in Portland.

Preble Street Food Security Hub

Today’s Press Herald includes a report on the new Preble Street Food Security Hub in South Portland.

In the past three weeks, the agency has shifted kitchen work to its new Food Security Hub, the first facility of its kind in Maine focused on food insecurity. Preble Street leaders say that moving into the 30,000-square-foot building on Darling Avenue in South Portland will allow them to increase the number of meals prepared, improve nutrition and reduce waste by preserving more donated produce, and connect with anti-hunger and social justice organizations to address hunger in a more holistic and collaborative way.

You can learn more about Preble Street on their website www.preblestreet.org.

Hunt & Alpine in Thrillist List

Thrillist has recognized the Hunt & Alpine Club in their list 25 Food & Drink Innovators That Inspire Us. Hunt & Alpine is specifically highlighted for its personnel policies, initiatives and Covid rules to support their staff.

They wanted the Scandinavian-style bar to be a place where talented professionals feel taken care of while building a career, so they became the first bar in Maine to require proof of vaccination. Amid the pandemic, the Volks also raised the minimum wage, hosted trainings on combatting sexual harassment and assault, and offered benefits like health insurance and discounted CSA memberships, all in an effort to support staff as much as possible.

Bite Into Maine in East Bayside

Bite Into Maine (websitefacebooktwitterinstagram) has leased 3,400 sq ft of space in this building at 31 Diamond Street in East Bayside. Owners Sarah and Karl Sutton plan to use this new location as a commissary kitchen and takeout restaurant serving their lobster rolls, soups and sandwiches.

East Bayside is located centrally between where their two food trucks in Fort Williams Park and Allagash Brewing are located. The Suttons are hoping to open the new takeout service in late spring or early summer.