Eaux, Oxbow & Hardshore

Oxbow Brewing and Hardshore Distilling have leased the former Maine Mead Works space on Washington Ave. The move provides both with an opportunity to expand their production capacity and rework their tasting rooms (see floor plan below).

Hardshore will be moving their bar into the new space and expanding seating in their current service area. Similarly, Oxbow is moving their tasting room to their section of the former meadery with the current Oxbow tasting room will be available for events and for overflow capacity.  Construction of the new Oxbow and Hardshore tasting rooms are already underway and both business hope to open later this summer.

Seasonal outdoor seating will be available at the front of the building along Washington Ave with a food truck from Eaux (website, instagram) center stage in the new development. Owner Evan Richardson will be serving Eaux’s famed chicken and waffles along with a vegetarian Hen of the Woods mushroom and waffles option and other dishes from the former Eaux menu. The food truck will be launching in early June and will be open Thursday though Monday, 4 – 9ish.

Oxbow was an anchor tenant for the former Nissen Bakery building when the brewery launched their Portland location in 2014. Hardshore launched their distillery on Washington Ave in 2016. Eaux was in operation at 90 Exchange Street from 2018 to 2020. Maine Mead Works went out of business in January.

Upcoming Events

MondayWilson County Barbecue is holding a pig roast, and chefs Cara Stadler and Leon Vuong are collaborating on a Memorial Day Brunch at Tao Yuan.

Tuesday – GMRI is leading an Alewife Migration Walk at the Mill Brook Preserve, and Vena’s is leading a Tiki Cocktail Workshop at Liquid Riot.

WednesdayRose Foods is reopening their dining room for indoor dining.

Thursday – A new weekly farmers market is being launched this week by the Friends of Woodfords Corner. The market will be held 3 to 7 pm on Thursdays and will be located at the Woodfords Congregational Church parking lot. 10 to 12 vendors will be in rotation each week. In addition to the vendors there will be games and activities for kids and a “spotlight table” to showcase neighborhood organizations and businesses. The market will be accepting Snap and EBT.

FridayLiquid Riot is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and Full Plates is holding a Haute Lunch event at the Yarmouth High School.

Sunday – the Casco Bay Seafood Festival is taking place in Brunswick.

June 5 – The James Beard Awards ceremony will take place. Nezinscot Farm will receive an American Classics award and The Quarry in Monson will learn if they have won in the Outstanding Hospitality category.

June 9 – Chef Josh Berry and Mast Landing are collaborating on a 4-course beer dinner at The Maker’s Galley.

June 11Big Tree Hospitality is holding a farm to table dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

June 12-18Portland Wine Week is taking place with events at restaurants all over the Portland area.

June 22-24 – The Holy Trinity Church is holding their annual Greek Festival.

June 24Lauren Radel will be the guest chef at a 5-course Peruvian dinner at Nina June in Rockport.

July 6 – Author and cooking teacher Viola Buitoni will be the guest chef at a 5-course Italisn dinner at Nina June in Rockport.

July 15 – Cook, author, and immigrant rights activist Louisa Shafia will be the guest chef for a Persian dinner at Nina June in Rockport. Shafia will also be teaching a pair of cooking classes at Nina July on July 9th and 10th.

July 23Maine Open Farm Day is taking place, and Maine Bakers for a Cause are holding an event at Ugly Duckling.

August 23 – An Outstanding in the Field dinner is taking place at Dandelion Spring Farm with guest chef Neil Zabriskie from Regards.

September 10Maine Cheese Festival.

September 24The Saltyard is holding a cocktail brunch at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

September 30Tender Table is holding their 3rd annual food and art fair in Congress Square Park.

October 8Maine Open Creamery Day is taking place.

November 5Chaval is holding a late harvest dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

Soft Serve Ice Cream & Review of Paper Tiger

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Paper Tiger, and

Rattan, neon signs, graphic wallpaper, cozy booths, dark lighting, balanced cocktails and a menu of well-executed, Asian-inspired small plates – what’s not to love? Paper Tiger might have opened just one year ago, but this Fore Street lounge and restaurant already feels like an established hangout for Portland’s cool kids…Paper Tiger is an under-the-radar charmer.

a feature article about soft serve ice cream.

Now, a new era in soft serve has arrived in Maine. A growing number of chef-created, scratch-made soft serve options in worldly flavors with leveled-up toppings are as likely to put a period on your restaurant meal (make that an exclamation point!) as to be seasonal beachside or after-the-game treats.

Auction, Closure, Sale

Here are updates on three businesses that are in transition:

Boston on Biddeford

Boston Magazine has published A Day Tripper’s Guide to Biddeford.

Over the past decade, Portland, Maine, has cemented itself as one of the foodie capitals of America. But it’s only recently that its neighbor to the south, Biddeford, has blossomed into a destination in its own right. Towering brick buildings once home to busy mills now house award-winning bars, restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. Throw in a hip new hotel, and you’ve got yourself a delicious treat in the form of a weekend getaway.

Khmer Kitchen in Public Market

A new Cambodian restaurant called Khmer Kitchen (facebook) is under construction on the second floor of the Public Market House. Khmer Kitchen is moving into the two spaces that were formerly occupied by Dila’s Kitchen and Pho Huong.

Owner Khanya Mimande plan to serve “a variety of authentic Cambodian/Khmer food, fresh, delicious, flavorful meals, appetizers, and drinks.” The draft menu includes a wide variety of rice dishes like Cha Kroeung (stir fry lemongrass with red and green peppers, onion and Thai basil), rice noodle based soups, wings, ribs, and Khmer egg rolls.

Mimande is in the final stages of launching Khmer Kitchen, and also plans to open a Laotian restaurant.

Eastern Prom Food Trucks

The Portland Phoenix has published an update on the Eastern Prom food truck situation.

This summer will mark the second season that food trucks parking near the Eastern Promenade will be restricted to the Cutter Street parking lot, a move many owners at the time criticized and protested. This year, just seven food trucks will be permitted in the lot, down from the 14 that were permitted last year.

The Great Lost Bear

The beer bar and restaurant we know today as The Great Lost Bear was founded in 1979 by Dave Evans, Weslie Evans and Chip MacConnell. Now after more than four decades in business, ownership of The Bear is being handed off to the next generation. Longtime managers Michael Dickson, Mary Dickson and Andrew Pillsbury signed paperwork Monday and became the new owners of the iconic Forest Ave establishment.

The Great Lost Bear launched in the pre-craft beer era in Maine. Geary’s was Maine’s first modern craft brewery and it sold its first beer in 1986. Gritty’s opened in 1988, and Shipyard and Allagash didn’t launch until the middle of the next decade. A very early beer list at the Bear consisted of Heineken, Saint Pauli Girl, Molson, Bass, Ballantine, Michelob, Miller Lite, Guiness, Miller and Budwiser and few draft beers. Now clocking in at ~70 taps of craft beer, the original Great Lost Bear draft line consisted of just four taps.

As the local brewing industry has developed, The Great Lost Bear has been a witness and essential supporter of the Maine craft beer industry. Here are some thoughts from Allagash founder Rob Tod,

The folks at the Great Lost Bear were the first to take a chance and put my beer, Allagash White, on tap. And since then, they’ve been institutional in supporting and expanding the popularity of the beer scene here in Maine. I’m glad to see that I’ll be able to enjoy a pint at the Bear for many years to come.

Weslie and Dave Evans moved to Portland from North Conway where they worked in the restaurant industry—Dave as a cook and Weslie in the front of house. When they decided to launch their own business they moved to Portland and eventually found a location on Forest Ave in what had been the Bottoms Up rock club. At the time the back half of the building was home to Nappi’s Bakery. The Evans’s and MacConnell leased their half of the building for $800/month.

Dave Evans was the first chef of the restaurant and over the years the menu has grown from a four page list to the behemoth it is today. While a lot has changed over the years, there a few dishes—and Weslie Evans’ wonderful illustrations and lettering—that have been constants including the French Onion Gratinee, Spinach Salad, and the I’ve Never Haddock Like This.  The vegetarian section (Carnivore’s Beware!) made it’s appearance in 1981.

See below for a look at the cover art (cropped to fit) of GLB menus from the very early days through the version in use today. You’ll notice the first in the series uses the name The Grizzly Bear which was the original name of the business. It was changed, after a legal challenge from an pre-existing West coast operation called Grizzly Bear Pizza in 1981 to the new (and much better) moniker we use today.

Best of luck to the new owners as they steer The Great Lost Bear forward in the years to come.