Most Anticipated Openings: Twelve

Vogue magazine has included Twelve (website, instagram) in their list of the America’s Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2022.

Twelve is being launched by the Prentice Hospitality Group—owners of Evo Kitchen + Bar, Evo X, and the Chebeague Island Inn—and will be located in the historic Pattern Storehouse building at the Portland Foreside development. The storehouse is building #12 and hence the name of the restaurant.

Good Beer Hunting Portland Visit

Good Beer Hunting has published a report on a recent visit to Portland.

If I have a problem, it’s time: There’s not enough of it, and I can’t eat and drink everywhere I want to. On the drive up to the city, soundtracked by Taylor Swift’s “Folklore,” I kept doing mental Tetris, unsure of how I would fit everything in. And so I stand on the corner of a crowded street, the smell of Thai-style fried chicken in the air, my feet angled in the direction of my last stop—one of the best beer bars in the world. In an alternate reality, this is how I would spend every Friday night. “I could live here,” I think, for perhaps the thousandth time.

The article highlights: Allagash, Eventide, Bissell Brothers, Crispy Gai, and Novare Res.

Supporting The Sinful Kitchen

The American Journal has published a report on a fundraising event run by Brea Lu in Westbrook to support The Sinful Kitchen. The event raised more than $4,000.

Staff at Brea Lu Cafe in Westbrook worked an extra, unusual shift Tuesday and raised more than $4,000 for the employees of The Sinful Kitchen in Portland, who lost wages when a fire forced that restaurant to temporarily close just before the holidays.

Brea Lu owner Christian DeLuca said he and his staff pulled a nearly 20-hour day to offer their breakfast menu during dinnertime, when they are normally closed. The total money made during the special hours will go to the 14 Sinful Kitchen employees down the street, on Brighton Avenue at Nason’s Corner.

Q&A with CarHop’s Thomas Brems

Mainebiz has published an interview with CarHop founder Thomas Brems.

MB: How does your business model work?
TB: We have an app and a website we collect requests through. We purchase everything from the restaurant or retailer at full retail price. There’s no contractual relationship with any restaurant or retailer. One thing that’s important to us is that we don’t work with a company that doesn’t want to be listed through us. We respect their consent.

Investing in the Local Food System

An editorial in today’s paper makes the case for investing in the local food system to balance against risk of future supply chain disruptions.

This vision has Maine supplying half the food to the region by 2060. In another effort, Maine’s diet would be made up of 30% locally sourced foods by 2030.

Both are difficult goals to meet — Maine only consumes about 10% local food now, and that may be high.

But they are worth pursuing in order to make sure food is there when we need it, and to support local producers and their communities, and the wider Maine economy.

Upcoming Events: Cooking Party, Wine Dinners, Dueling Pianos

WednesdayMaker’s Galley is holding a winter cooking party.

ThursdayRoma is holding a 5-course Piedmont wine dinner., and Judy Gibson is holding a 4-course Croatian and Slovenian wine dinner–both wine dinners are priced at $75 per person.

January 18Fork Food Lab is kicking off their food business webinar series.

February 10The Yard is hold a pre-Valentine’s Day Dueling Pianos event.

Valentine’s Day

  • Bravo Maine – is holding a French Bistro cooking class

Responding to Covid

The Bangor Daily News and Press Herald have both taken a look at how restaurants are responding to the challenge of operating during the pandemic.

The emerging omicron variant is the latest stumbling block for restaurants, with cases expected to skyrocket soon in Maine. The spreading virus, occasional restaurant closures and ongoing staffing shortages are adding more financial stress on top of already reduced business hours, supply chain issues and rising costs.

The Portland City Council recently reinstituted a mask mandate for indoor spaces including restaurants, and a small but growing number of restaurants and bars are opting to put in place proof of vaccination policies (see list).

Paper Tiger on Fore Street

A new cocktail/oyster bar and restaurant called Paper Tiger (facebook, instagram) is under construction at 425 Fore Street in the space formerly occupied by the Maine Lobster Shack. Co-owners Michael Fraser, Nace Cohen and Marcus Alcantara are currently renovating and reconfiguring the space with hopes to open by early spring. When construction is complete Paper Tiger will have a 12-14 seat bar, counter seating along the front window facing Fore Street, as well as some small and large booths and outdoor seating.

The menu and concept draw on a wide variety of influences,

Inspired partly by traditional fast food, partly by oyster bars, and partly by late night Chinese restaurants, Paper Tiger’s food offerings are eclectic, but the central theme here is bold flavors executed with locally sourced, seasonally appropriate seafood, meats, and veggies. The intense tastes of Polynesian dishes, the smack of umami from Japanese street food, the richness of American burgers and wings, whole grilled fish, noodle dishes, lobster fried rice, simple vegetable dishes, and a killer raw bar with oysters and crudo… Exotic flavors, American flair, New England products, and crazy creativity come together at Paper Tiger.

Similarly the cocktail menu will incorporate a variety of concepts with an emphasis on island-style classic cocktails and rum-based drinks. Alcantara will be developing three different house rum blends and is planning to stock a large selection of rums, mezcals, and tequilas. Local craft beer as well as wine will also be part of the bar program.

Fraser got his start in the industry working first at Cinque Terre and then as a server at Fore Street; he is the co/owner of Congress Bar and Grill as well as Bramhall and Roma Cafe. Alcantara who will be the bar manager and front of house manager, and Cohen who will be the chef, have both been part of the team at Bramhall and Roma. Cohen’s resume includes time working at Central Provision, the Gramercy Tavern in New York (2014 – 2016) and Tail Up Goat in DC (2016 – 2018).  Alcantara has managed cocktail bars in Tennessee, North Carolina, Seattle and Washington.

The partners hope to open Paper Tiger by early spring.

Upcoming Events: Smalls, Wine Dinners, Good Food Awards

Wednesday – it’s the official opening day of Smalls.

January 13Roma is holding a 5-course Piedmont wine dinner., and Judy Gibson is holding a 4-course Croatian and Slovenian wine dinner–both wine dinners are priced at $75 per person.

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.

Sebago Brewing Closing Fore Street

Sebago Brewing is closing their Fore Street location as of January 29th, reports the Press Herald and Mainebiz.

The company said it plans to put the money into upgrading its three other brewpubs and improve the canning line at its Gorham brewery.

The company said its workers in Portland were notified of the decision and the company is looking to relocate them to the other locations or other positions with the company. The Portland location will close Jan. 29.