Dok Mali Opens Tuesday

The new Thai restaurant Dok Mali (website, instagram) is scheduled to open Tuesday for lunch and dinner 11:30 – 8:30. Dok Mali is located in the former Lois’ Market space at 47 India Street which chef/owner Nonglack Thanephonesy has completely renovated into a 32-seat restaurant.

The menu includes the option of a flight of all seven types of dumplings, grilled okra, corn fritters, six different types of noodle soup,  and main courses like Crying Tiger (marinated ribeye, served with sticky rice, veggie skewers and roasted tomato dip) and La La Pork (braised pork belly, bok choi + egg served with ginger rice).

In addition to Dok Mali, Thanephonesy is also the owner of Capital Thai Kitchen and Bar in Exeter, NH. She grew up in Portland and is excited to bring to life a new Thai restaurant in her home town.

Dok Mali will be open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner opening at 11:30 am.

Upcoming Events/Thanksgiving List

Tuesday Dok Mali is scheduled to open at 11:30 am.

November 7 – French author and cider producer  Claude Jolicoeur will be giving a talk at Urban Farm Fermentory.

November 11-13 – the 5th Annual Downeast Cider and Cheese Festival is taking place in Ellsworth.

November 14 – Cera is hosting a meeting “to start a dialog amongst Portland’s chefs/restauranteurs about sustainability in food systems.”

November 16Broken Arrow is serving a 4-course cider dinner, and Evo is holding a 5-course Rhone wine dinner.

November 19Lorne is holding their 2nd annual La Fête du Beaujolais.

Thanksgiving – here’s the start of our 2022 Thanksgiving dining and takeout list. Drop us a line if you know of a Thanksgiving-themed offering not yet on the list.

Fruit Bat Cider Distribution

A new distribution company called Fruit Bat Distribution (instagram) has launched. Fruit Bat will exclusively focus on the distribution of hard cider. Owners Jessie Robb and Josh Lemay have a strong passion for cider as well as deep ties in the restaurant industry. Their goal is to create a bridge that helps the growing cider industry thrive.

The first two producers that Fruit Bat are representing in Maine are Sundstrom Cider and Metal House Cider, both located in the Hudson Valley. Lemay and Robb expect to be expanding their portfolio as they build demand for quality ciders and build relationships with restaurants.

Fruit Bat is collaborating with local restaurants on some cider-centric meals. Here are the first two on the schedule:

Twin Swirls Opens Saturday

The Twin Swirls (instagram) ice cream shop is slated to open this Saturday. They’ll be serving a limited menu on Saturday but will eventually have on offer hard serve and soft serve cones and dishes, milkshakes, sundaes and coffee.

The name Twin Swirls is inspired by owner Sarah Palmer’s twin six year old girls, Alex and Sage.

The shop is located at 865 Brighton Ave in the Nason’s Corner neighborhood, and their regular hours will be Thursday through Sunday, noon to 8 pm.

Zu Bakery Pop-ups

Zu Bakery (websiteinstagram) owner Barak Olins is aiming to launch his new West End location in early November.

In the coming two weeks he’ll be holding a series of pop-ups from his bakery at 81 Clark Street on Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 – 5 pm. Stop by to try some of the the breads and baked goods he’ll be featuring in his shop.

When Zu Bakery is fully open Olins and his team will be serving pastries and coffee at the start of the day and with baguettes and other breads going on sale as they come out of the oven and offering two types of pizza alla Romana at the end of the day.

Olins plans to make most of his bakery products with Maine grown grains he mills in-house. In addition to morning pastries and breads, Zu Bakery will also sell biscotti, granola, seasonal pastries and a small selection of bottled wine.

Olins originally launched Zu Bakery in 2000. Previously he was a co-founder/chef of the highly regarded Cafe Uffa, which was located in Longfellow Square and opened in 1995.

Upcoming Events: Harvest on the Harbor, Grimm & Gore, Veg Fest, Halloween Fest

Thursday – Saturday – Harvest on the Harbor is taking place. Also, the SMCC culinary and hospitality students are putting on the Grimm & Gore Storybook Dinner.

Saturday – the 17th Annual Veg Fest is taking place, as is the 2022 East Bayside Halloween Fest.

November 19Lorne is holding their 2nd annual La Fête du Beaujolais.

Thanksgiving – here’s the start of our 2022 Thanksgiving dining and takeout list. Drop us a line if you know of a Thanksgiving-themed offering not yet on the list.

  • Hanks – is taking pre-orders for turkey, sides and desserts; order deadline on November 16th for pick-up on November 23rd.
  • Harraseeket Inn – is serving their Grand Buffet (menu); $139/adult, children 6-12 are $49/child, children 5 & under are free.
  • Petite Jacqueline – is serving a 3-course dinner (menu TBD); reservations available on Resy.
  • Rosemont Market – is taking preorders for turkeys, baked goods, prepared dishes and more.
  • Ruby’s West End – is taking preorders for sides and desserts; order deadline on November 20th for pick-up on Thanksgiving morning.
  • Saltwater Grille – a 3-course dinner for $55-65/person.

Hugo’s Will Not Reopen

Big Tree Hospitality owners Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith announced that they will not be reopening Hugo’s their fine dining restaurant on Middle Street.

Portland, you made Hugo’s such a special place to dine and gather since 1988. We will always be grateful for the love and community that these walls have created. While Hugo’s closed over two years ago due to COVID, we are finally ready to announce that Hugo’s will not be reopening in its previous form as a fine dining restaurant.

Hugo’s was where the Big Tree Hospitality story began, and it will always be one of the most important parts of our history. First opened in 1988 as a bistro and piano-lounge by Johnny Robinson as a tribute to his son, Hugo, the restaurant underwent many iterations over the years. Bought in 2000 by Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh, Hugo’s quickly became one of the most avant garde restaurants in the country, earning Rob Evans significant national accolades such as Food and Wine Best New Chef 2005 and James Beard Best Chef Northeast 2008. Big Tree Hospitality founders Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith, and Mike Wiley worked together under their mentors Rob and Nancy for four years prior to purchasing the restaurant in 2012. The Big Tree trio renovated the space in 2015 where it thrived until the COVID closure in March 2020.

Future plans for the space are still TBD but it’s available for private parties and small events.

Update: The Press Herald has also published an article on what the closure of Hugo’s says about the state of fine dining in Portland.

Vena’s Fizz House

Vena’s Fizz House (website, facebookinstagram) is making good progress in renovating their new location at 867 Congress Street in Parkside and the owners hope to launch in December.

The former church will be home to the expanded Vena’s cocktail/mocktail bar and mixology shop which will eventually span three floors with seating for 129 people. The main floor with bar and mixology shop and the mezzanine seating area will be open for the relaunch of Vena’s.

The mixology shop will offer a similar mix of products as the old Vena’s with bar tools, books, bitters, mixers, and glassware as well as Vena’s branded products. Vena’s will also be hosting their mixology classes on Congress Street and the space will be available for private events.

The draft menu supplied with their liquor license application includes drinks like the Sea Rose (gin, rose petals, apple, hibiscus, tonic, lime, Vena’s meadow bitters), Mezcalcillin (mezcal, drambuie, ancho chili liquer, ginger, sfumato, Vena’s fiesta bitters) and a the Maine Maple Fire mocktail (maple syrup, apple cider syrup, lemon, ghost pepper, Vena’s aromatic bitters).

Vena’s Fizz House was founded in 2013 and was originally located at the corner of Silver and Fore Streets in the Old Port.

Saint Joe Restobar

Joe Fournier has relaunched the former Dirty Dove cocktail bar with a new name and concept as the Saint Joe Restobar (instagram).

The restaurant will be serving  “pan-continental fare” prepared by “Executive Cheftender” Ezra Dunn. Locally Dunn has worked at Evo and Black Cow. Before moving to Portland from the Hudson Valley he led the kitchen at The Stagecoach Inn.

The Saint Joe Restobar—named after Joe Strummer from The Clash—is located at 229 Congress Street. It is open noon to 9 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Separately, Fournier and Matt Moran are opening A & C Soda Shop in South Portland as a successor to Fournier’s popular business A & C Grocery which closed on Washington Ave last year.