Mainebiz: Burundi Star Coffee

Burundi Star Coffee owner Jocelyne Kamikazi and her husband André Nzeyimana grace the cover of the latest issue of Mainebiz. They’re featured in an article about a microloan program that is helping immigrant owned businesses in Maine.

The loan she secured from Portland-based cPort Credit Union is underwritten by the Indus Fund, a new microloan program for small business owners in Maine’s growing immigrant community. Kamikazi was able to borrow the money at a much lower interest rate than the $44,000 bank loan she used to start her business and still has to repay, since all Indus Fund loans have a fixed rate of 3.5% and a maturity of five years.

With close to $300,000 raised from 14 individual and corporate investors, the Indus Fund is touted as Maine’s first and only immigrant-specific microfinance loan program connected to the existing banking system. The goal is to break down barriers for immigrants who might otherwise be shut out of traditional bank financing.

Other Portland food businesses featured in the article are Mimio’s Boutique owned by Mimie Mobesha from the Congo, and Maiz co-owned by Niky Watler from Colombia.

Andrew Zimmern’s Portland List

Andrew Zimmern has shared a round-up of his favorite Portland food spots on his substack email newsletter site, Spilled Milk.

It’s the pearl of New England. Great food, an incredible art scene, a small-town vibe with big-city amenities. My dad, who passed away in 2015, called Portland home for the last 10 years of his life. I’d spend a lot of time visiting him and my stepdad Andre Laporte, and through their eyes I watched the city transform into the food destination it is today.

Mentioned in the article: Tandem, Standard, The Holy Donut, The Porthole, Becky’s, Duckfat, Fore Street, Eventide, Crown Jewel, Boda, Terlingua, Slab, Via Vecchia, Pai Men, Scales, Chaval and Gorgeous Gelato.

Food Truck Petition

Nearly 2,300 people have signed a petition in support of local food trucks that have operated on the Eastern Prom for the last few years.

As Portland locals, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the city is to hang out on the Eastern Prom, eat from food trucks, and enjoy the beautiful views and historic park. Over the past several years, we have supported the various food trucks who consistently park on the Eastern Promenade road, and are saddened to hear that their ability to do business there may be in jeopardy. 

The city recently announced new rules that go into effect in June that would limit the number of trucks to 10 and relocate all of them to the mid-hill parking lot on Cutter St. With more than 10 trucks interested in the spots a lottery would be used to select who can do business on the Eastern Prom.

As local citizens, we are deeply concerned about the small Portland based companies who have built their businesses and livelihoods at this location. We fear that a lottery will exclude the businesses whose food has made Portland into New England’s premiere food truck scene. We worry that these changes will impact their ability to staff locals to whom they pay living wages.

Little Tandem Reopening


The long awaited reopening of Tandem’s Anderson Street location is taking place Tuesday May 24th. Little Tandem will be open Tuesday through Saturday 8 am – 1 pm to start.

The newly renovated space features additional counter and table seating including a spot that the architect has labeled “Kathleen’s Cozy Corner”. As you can see from the photo, the coffee bar has moved from the left side of the building to the section of the building where the original roastery was located.

The Little Tandem building in East Bayside is where Kathleen and Will Pratt first opened their coffee roastery and coffee bar back in 2012. Tandem’s Congress Street coffee shop and bakery opened in 2014.

The Yard Temporarily Closing

Owners of The Yard have announced they’re temporarily closing pending the sale of the business to a new owner.

Thank you for all loving messages and supporting our decision to spend more time with family. We are very happy and excited to take this opportunity. The business has been listed for sale and have some interest already.

We will be honoring our commitment @deejayonax so throw his private Memorial Day bash on Sunday May 29th.

Our last day to the public will be Saturday May 28th.

Upcoming Events: Wine Dinners, GF Dinner, Wild Wine Fest, Cider Dinner

MondayBroken Arrow is holding a farm dinner at Winter Hill Farm in Freeport.

Tuesday – a 10-course cider dinner featuring Absolem Cider taking place at Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford, Maine.

ThursdaySur Lie is hosting a gluten-free dinner in collaboration with Mrs. GeeFreeLiving. Judy Gibson is holding a 4-course Spanish wine dinner.

FridayChaval is holding a Spanish wine dinner with winemaker Fredi Torres who produces wines in Priorat, Montsant, and Conca de Barbera. Maine & Loire is holding a double wine tasting on Finger Lakes wines with Ian Barry Wines and on biodynamic champagne with Vinotas Selections.

Saturday – the inaugural Maine Wild Wine Fest is taking place in Freeport.

May 24 – the reopening of Little Tandem in East Bayside.

May 25 – the debut of Season 5 of the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil. Season 5 includes an episode shot in Portland, Biddeford and the Midcoast. Owners of Stars and Stripes Brewing and of Eighteen Twenty Wines will be among the honorees at the 2022 Maine Small Business Awards Ceremony.

June 13 – The 2022 Beard Foundation Awards gala is taking place in Chicago. Five Maine chefs and restaurants are contenders for this year’s awards.

June 13 – 19 – the 5th Annual Portland Wine Week will be taking place—see details on their Women in Wine Dinner.

June 18 – the grand opening of the Absolem Cider tasting room in Winthrop, Maine.

July 21Magnus on Water chef Ben Jackson will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb.

July 23Chaval chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Dandelion Spring Farm in Bowdoinham. The Wavy Days Beer Fest is taking place.

July 25 – 30 – the Kneading Conference is taking place.

September 3Tender Table is holding their 2nd Annual Food & Art Fair in Congress Square Park.

September 19 – 25Maine Lobster Week is taking place in Skowhegan.

September 23 – 25 – the Common Ground Fair is taking place in Unity.

October 9 – the Maine Cheese Guild is holding Maine Open Creamery Day.

New SweetCream Dairy

SweetCream Dairy (website, instagram) is moving into a new storefront in Biddeford. The new ice cream parlor will be located in the Polakewich building at 128 Main Street—not far from the location of their original spot in the mill building.

The 1,500 square (nearly 5 times the size of their starter spot) will enable owners Jon Denton and Jacqui DeFranca to serve an expanded menu. Ice cream will still be at the heart of what they do but the menu will also include house sodas on tap, ice cream floats, espresso drinks and ice pops (dairy free and some dairy options). Denton and DeFranca hope to have the new SweetCream open by July.

Rover’s new business Swell has moved into the former SweetCream space in the mill.

Chili Cook-Off

Bonobo is hosting a Chili Cook-off today, 2 – 6 pm.

Participating restaurants include Dila’s, The Frying Dutchman, Pho Huong, Ruby’s West End, and CBG.

2022 Portland Wine Week

The 2022 edition Portland Wine Week (websitefacebookinstagramtwitter) is taking place this summer June 13th to 19th at various locations across the city. There are nearly 50 events on the calendar and more are being added every week.

Here are some of the highlights. Visit the Portland Wine Week site to see  the full list of events.

  • A Women in Wine panel discussion featuring women working in all parts of the industry from export managers and wine importers to sommeliers and winemakers.
  • A 4-course Women Winemaker Luncheon, one of the courses will feature an Ukrainian sparkling wine from ArtWine.
  • Wine dinners at Mami, Isa, Broken Arrow, David’s Opus Ten and Helm.
  • Riedel Wine Glass Tasting to illustrate how the shape of the glass can influence the perception of the wine.
  • A (sold out) 5-course, 10-sommelier wine dinner that challenges pairs of sommeliers to some friendly competition on who comes up with the best pairing for each dish on the menu.
  • Chef Mimi Weissenborn and sommelier Cha McCoy are collaborating on a dinner at Sur Lie. McCoy has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as a “Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers” and by Wine & Spirits Magazine as a Rising Black Voice in Wine.
  • A 4-course Champagne Brunch at Chaval with a French-inspired menu utilizing local and regional ingredients, caviar, and heritage meats.
  • Wine Wise wine sails in Casco Bay Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Numerous other events and weeklong wine pour and food specials at restaurants around Portland.

Follow Portland Wine Week on instagram to keep in the loop on new events as they’re announced.

Also check out the Sponsorship page on for opportunities to support Portland Wine Week overall or specific events on the program.