Solo Cucina Market for Sale

Owners of the Solo Cucina Market in South Portland have announced that the market is for sale. The announcement on instagram reads in part,

To our dear community: we have some challenging news to share. After a very positive year for Solo Cucina, we have had to make a difficult choice of putting the market up for sale. This is not because the market and what it offers is not deeply valued. To the contrary, and we have been honored by the community’s enthusiasm for the market’s offerings and your ongoing support and patronage…

And goes on to share that,

…This was our first year seeing tangible growth and progress, but building the market came with some legacy liabilities that we have been unable to sufficiently overcome. We also feel that we are a bit stretched thin and don’t want to do a disservice to the concept or to you, the community. A market as locally relevant and specialized as Solo Cucina that supports a dedicated year round community deserves full attention on behalf of its visionaries…

The market opened on March 25, 2020. A final day in business has not been set yet. See the announcement for whom interested parties should contact for details on a purchase.

Solo Cucina is part of a family of businesses that also include Solo Italiano in Portland and Solo Pane e Pasticceria in Bath.

Maine Chef at White House Event

Joseph Robbins, the chef at Bissell Brothers Three Rivers in Milo, has been invited to cook at the White House Tribal Nations Summit taking place on December 6th and 7th.

Robbins is one of a small team of Indigenous American chefs participating in the event. His draft menu includes a turkey roulade made with squash and cranberries served over a wild rice and apple salad with a pumpkin pipian sauce. In addition to representing Indigenous American cuisine Robbins shared he also appreciates the opportunity to showcase produce and meats from Maine farms.

Robbins is Penobscot and has been one of a growing cadre of chefs raising the visibility of Indigenous American cooking traditions. A visitor to Bissell Brothers in Milo will find a menu grounded in local foods and featuring some dishes that make use of indigenous ingredients and food traditions.

Artist Tea Towel Series

Eat Drink Lucky
is working with women artists from Maine to offer the Artist Tea Towel Subscription Series. Now in its fourth year, the series features twelve unique designs. Mid-month throughout 2024 subscribers will receive individually wrapped tea towels accompanied by a note introducing the artist. Shown above is an orchid design created by Molly Thompson from Pretty Flours which will kick off the series in January – Read More

Ruth Reichl is a fan of the tea towel series and just recommended it as a 2023 holiday gift, “One of the easiest ways to add color to your kitchen is by hanging up a few pretty dish towels. Which is why I like the idea of Eat Lucky’s annual artist tea towel series. The towels are all designed by Maine artists, and a new one appears each month. You can order a towel a month for an entire year – or for just a few months.”

Subscribe to the Series


Broadway Bowl is Now Open

Broadway Bowl (instagram) opened Tuesday. The pub and bowling alley is located at 725 Broadway in South Portland and is an outpost of Bayside Bowl in Portland.

The 220-seat facility includes a 10-lane bowling alley, a bar serving beer, wine and house cocktails, a private dining area and a heated and semi-enclosed outdoor seating area (lower left photo) with a view over the water of Portland. Broadway Bowl will be open 3 – 10 Monday through Thursday, 11 – 11 on Friday/Saturday and 11 – 9 on Sunday.

The kitchen is open nightly until 9 pm serving (see menu below) pizza, soup, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, wings and other pub standards. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available.

Two Biddeford Closings

Two businesses in Biddeford are closing:

Sublime Taco announced that Saturday is their last day on Washington Street but added that they are taking the business “in a different direction”. They’re keeping a tight lid on what that means so stay tuned for more information.

Part & Parcel has announced that after more than five years in business they’ll be closing down their Alfred Road market and cafe on December 23rd. However, owners Danielle O’Neill and Ali Preble go on to say that they’ve “been working hard to find the perfect folks to replace P&P, and we’re happy to say that we think we’ve done just that! While it may look and feel different, the mission is the same – to provide great food and a welcoming atmosphere for the local community. Stay tuned over the coming weeks for the details!”

Thistle & Grouse Opens Friday

Thistle & Grouse (website, facebook, instagram) will open Friday at 4 pm. The restaurant is located at 10 Cotton Street. The newly renovated space features a 2-story dining room with a bar on the first floor.

The menu (see below) includes raw bar options, cheese and charcuterie boards as well as small plates like a Maplebrook Farm Burrata plated with apple, celery and walnuts and entrees like the Seafood Cassoulet and Sunday Roast Prime Rib.

Thistle & Grouse serves custom cocktails and mocktails, wines by the glass, beers, and ciders (Norumbega and Freedom’s Edge). The bar is stocked with a wide selection of spirits including 14 bourbons, 10 ryes, 19 Scotches as well as whiskeys from Ireland and Japan.

The restaurant is being launched by Kimberly Kraus and chef Bobby Will. Will has worked at restaurants run by well known chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Ken Oringer, and Jamie Bissonette. He was the executive chef at Saltaire Oyster Bar in Port Chester when the New York Times gave it a rating of Excellent in 2015. Also on the team are general manager Julia Mcinnis and bar manager Corey Schallek. All four worked together at Kraus’ and Will’s former restaurant Salt and Steel in Bar Harbor.

Thistle & Grouse will be open Tuesday through Saturday starting at 4 pm with late night hours on the weekends and happy hour each day they’re open, 4 – 5 pm. Reservations are available on

Upcoming Food & Dining Events

Tuesday – Bayside Bowl’s South Portland outpost Broadway Bowl is scheduled to open. Thistle & Grouse is scheduled to open on Cotton Street. The Falmouth Memorial Library is hosting a talk entitled The Indian Kitchen: A Crossroads of Many Cultures.

WednesdayJoshua Miranda will be giving a presentation about “the challenges of opening and maintaining restaurants” organized by the Portland Regional Chamber of Business

Thursday – deadline for the public and industry professionals to submit recommendations to the James Beard Foundation to consideration for the 2024 Awards program.

FridayChocolate Passion is opening their new location at 175 Spring Street (the former Mercy Hospital building). Cabana is holding a Noche Buena 4-course dinner. Good Wine Bar is opening for business in Saco at 4 pm.

Saturday – Porttown Public House is holding their grand opening. The first indoor winter farmers’ market of the season is taking place (631 Stevens Ave, 9 am – 1 pm). It’s the last day of business for Sublime Taco restaurant in Biddeford.

Sunday – A George and Leons x Great Wave Sushi collaboration pop-up dinner is taking place.

December 6Chaval will be serving a vegan wine dinner. The 5-course (4 savory courses and 1 dessert course) will feature wines from Chateau Cosme & Chateau Rouanne in the southern Rhone Valley; $88 plus tax and gratuity. Email or call (207) 772-1110 for reservations.

December 7 – Secret Supper is holding a (sold out) holiday dinner in the Portland area.

December 17Helm is holding a Prime Rib dinner.

January 20Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Adrian Arvizu from Big Tree Catering.

January 27 – Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Christian Hayes from The Garrison.

February 10Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca and The Purple House.

February 18Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti from Chaval and Devin Finigan from Aragosta.

March 28Ballast will be hosting a murder mystery dinner.

June 10-16Portland Wine Week is taking place.

June 26 – Secret Supper (instagram) is holding a dinner in the Portland area.

June 29 – The 3rd Annual Mast Landing Wavy Days Festival is taking place.

August 30 – September 1Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

Dos Gatos Gastropub in Belfast

Adam Roberson and Jesse Soto have leased the former Perennial Cider Bar space at 84 Main Street in Belfast where they plan to open Dos Gatos Gastropub (instagram).

Dos Gatos will serve a taco-centric menu prepared with house-made tortillas. They plan to offer traditional standards as well as some taco combos of their own design (e.g. duck confit, crab, etc).  The bar program will include classic cocktails and specialize in margarita variations with an extended selection of mezcals and tequilas.

Soto and Roberson have been thoroughly renovating and redesigning the space with the aim of creating a venue that “combines vintage charm with a mischievously playful approach.” Overall Dos Gatos will seat 30 with a pair of lounge areas, a 14-seat bar and table seating.

The Dos Gatos experience will be informed by Roberson’s and Soto’s global travel and experience with and within the restaurant industry. Their aim is to create an “overall ambiance that captures the essence of a memorable dining journey”.

Dos Gatos is slated to open in December. Stay tuned to their instagram account for updates and an announcement on an opening day.

Chef Marilou Ranta, Maine Street Bistro, Brickyard Hollow

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article about Marilou Ranta who is the chef and owner of The Quarry in Monson. The Restaurant won the James Beard award for Outstanding Hospitality in 2023.

In the dining room, there are unforced smiles all around. Regulars get big bear hugs. Newcomers get hugs, too. “She’s a great hugger,” said Martha Lerman, a hug recipient who was dining at The Quarry for her first time on a Thursday evening in mid-September. Ranta was especially delighted to meet a Filipino couple who had driven from Massachusetts to check out The Quarry. Word about the 5-year-old restaurant “in the boonies,” as Ranta puts it, is getting around.

The Sunday Telegram also includes a 3½ star review of Maine Street Bistro in Brunswick,

Lean into Maine Street Bistro’s French menu and you’ll be rewarded. Co-owners and co-chefs John Holm and Brandon Franklin built their impressive skillsets of classic French techniques separately, but together in Brunswick, they’ve come up with a largely traditional menu that holds promise.

and an article about the rapid expansion of Brickyard Hollow Brewing which has added five locations in the last 12 months.

As Moll and his partner were first launching Brickyard Hollow in 2018, they realized the significance of the winter carnival photo. “We were trying to create a craft brewery that was a gathering place for this little community, and that picture really helped present that,” Moll said.

Maine Food & Dining News

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know on what’s going on:

  • The King Ro Market in Round Pond is under new ownership and expected to reopen before the end of the year. The new owner Steve Brackett also plans to eventually install a bar in the dining area for a pub and open a pub within the market.
  • Mason’s Brewing is laying the groundwork to open a distillery in Bangor. The Bangor Daily News reports that Mason’s is “likely start with gin and ready-to-drink gin-based canned beverages, then branch into vodka and moonshine by the end of 2024.”
  • Gail Ciampa from The Providence Journal recently visited Warren for the Absolem Cider dinner at Black Goat Test Kitchen  (websitefacebookinstagram). In her report Ciampa praises chef Ronspieres for the way he “he layers his dishes with a variety of flavors and textures that all combine to create the happiest party on your palate” and provides a play-by-play of the 5-course dinner.
  • The Blair Hill Inn in Greenville has hired chef Max Snyder to helm the kitchen at their in-house restaurant Slate. Snyder is moving to Maine from his hometown of Austin, Texas where he had launched Pitchfork Pretty in 2017. Prior to Austin, Snyder spent a “decade in New York and San Francisco working under chefs Daniel Patterson at Coi, Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, and Joshua Skenes at Saison.” Slate will be reopening on December 7th, Thursday through Sunday from 4 – 8 pm.