Trevin Hutchins

Former Portland bartended Trevin Hutchins graces the cover of the new edition of Imbibe magazine. He’s profiled in their annual Imbibe 75 features which highlights the “people and places shaping the way we drink”.

Hutchins is now the bar manager at Aphotic in San Francisco. which has its own distillation license which enables Hutchins and his team to develop custom spirits, liquors and distillates for the drinks on the Aphotic menu.

Looking Back at 2023 and Forward to 2024

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a look at twelve bars and restaurants that are set to open next year.

But the batch of new restaurants coming in 2024 helps take the sting out of the losses and will enrich a drinking and dining scene that already feels like a treasure trove. We can look forward to big, bold bars going into Thompson’s Point and Bayside; new brewpubs and daytime cafes in Biddeford; old faves like Brea Lu relaunching in new Westbrook digs; fine dining in far-flung locales; and New York-style slices in the Old Port. If all goes according to plans, expect Cambodian express takeout, a chicken sandwich palace and a cheesesteak mecca.

It also includes restaurant critic Andrew Ross’s picks for the Best of 2023.

Yosaku Outdoor Seating

Yosaku (website, facebook, instagram) is building a new outdoor seating structure. When it’s finished Yosaku plans to use the 50-seat post and beam structure to extend their outdoor seating season.

Yosaku was founded in 2003 by Takahiro and Susan Sato. They retired in 2022 and sold the restaurant to Rattanak Tray and Hope MacVane-Tray. Rattanak Tray had been a sushi chef at Yosaku since it opened for business.

Buttermilk Kitchen in Camden

Chef Suzanne Vizethann (website, instagram) has purchased the Marriner’s Restaurant in Camden where she plans to open a new restaurant that blends elements of Marriner’s and her Atlanta restaurant Buttermilk Kitchen.

Marriner’s has been in business for 82 years and its been owned and operated since 1982 by Dan and Becki Gabriele. Vizethann will temporarily close Marriner’s in January for renovation with plans to re-open it as Buttermilk Kitchen at Marriner’s (instagram) by the end of April.

Some of the Atlanta Buttermilk Kitchen staff will be visiting Maine in the spring to help with the launch. Brandon Muggy will be moving permanently from Atlanta to Maine to be the general manager.

Vizethann is the author of Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen and founded Buttermilk Kitchen (instagram) in 2012. She was a James Beard Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow in 2022. She has appeared on Food Network shows Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. She’s also a Chopped champion. Her food has been described as having a “whimsical and modernistic approach to the typical American breakfast”.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Vizethann

Citrus Closing

The owners of Citrus have announced plans to close the  dance club and cocktail bar at the end of the year.

We are sad to announce that this will be Citrus’ last weekend open. We wanted to send a thank you to all who came and filled this space with love, laughter and dance. We’d love to see you for one last hurrah before the lease ends. Please join us for our last few nights this weekend, plus our NYE bash on Sunday! And as always, a big thank you to our committed staff, hard working DJs and loving regulars who make it all possible!

Citrus launched in July 2021. Co-owner Mark Ohlson had previously operated MJ’s Wine Bar out of the same location in One City Center.

Linden + Front in Bath

A new restaurant called Linden + Front (instagram) is under construction in Bath in the former Relish/Salt Pine Social building at 244 Front Street. Owners Zac and Khristine Leeman are renovating the 3,535 sq ft building and hope to launch the 85-seat restaurant in February.

The Linden + Front menu is still under development but the overall plan is to serve modern takes on classic comfort food with a wide selection of small plates and entrees including woodfire dishes, steak and chop, and dishes for vegetarian and vegan diners. The bar program will offer local draft beers, wine and L+F takes on classic cocktails. Linden + Front will initially be open for dinner but they do hope to eventually add brunch/lunch service too. They’ll have a 20-seat patio open seasonally.

Zac Leeman grew up on nearby Orrs Island and is a graduate of Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. The Leemans met in Minnesota where they were both worked in the restaurant industry.

They opened their first Maine restaurant, Sundrenched, on Bailey Island in 2022. Sundrenched will reopen for the season in May.

Upcoming Events & NYE List

Monday – the restaurant at the Inn by the Sea is serving a 4-course dinner; $90/adult, $35/children (4-12).

ThursdayBrowne Trading is holding a caviar and champagne tasting.

New Year’s Eve – we’ll add special NYE dinners here as restaurants announce their plans.

  • Bao Bao – is serving an Around the World with Dumplings prix fixe dinner; $58.88 per person.
  • Bar Futo – will be serving an NYE enhanced menu including waygu, caviar, truffles and uni.
  • Central Provisions – will be serving a 5-course dinner; $300 per couple.
  • Crispy Gai – will be serving a 7-course dinner that’s billed as a “ballered up version of our convenience store faves”. $100 per person.
  • Evo – will be serving a 6-course dinner; $160 per person.
  • Helm – will be serving a 4-course dinner; $100 per person.
  • Isa – will be serving a 3-course dinner; $110 per person.
  • Knotted Apron – will be serving a 6-course dinner; $130 per person.
  • Ore Nells (Biddeford) – will be serving a BBQ buffet (4-9 pm).
  • Regards – will be serving a multi-course dinner; $95 per person.
  • Salt Yard/Luna – the ground floor and rooftop venues at the Canopy are running a combination NYE program; $159 per person.
  • Tao Yuan (Brunswick) – is serving a prix fixe 10-course Peking Duck Dinner; $98.88 per person.
  • The Garrison (Yarmouth) – will be serving a 4-couse dinner; $130 per person.
  • Thistle & Grouse – will be serving a 3-course dinner; $90 per person.
  • Other restaurants may also be open serving their regular menu. Check with your favorite spots for hours on Sunday, December 31st, or take a look at reservation availability on Resy or OpenTable.
  • Mr. Tuna – has some sushi party boxes.
  • Zao Ze (Brunswick) – has  a ready-to-eat party kit that feeds 4; $88.88 per person.

January 1Shay’s is holding a New Year’s Day brunch.

January 5/6Roma Cafe is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the restaurant with a 5-course dinner with optional wine pairings.

January 8Marilou Ranta, the chef/owner of the Beard Award-winning restaurant The Quarry in Monson will be speaking at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta.

January 20 – Flanagan’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 10 – The Portland On Tap beer festival is taking place at the Cross Insurance Arena. Flanagan’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.

May 11CiderFeast, an “all-inclusive tasting event celebrates craft ciders from some of the top cider makers in New England and beyond” is taking place.

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.

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:

  • Maine’s newest cidery, Sea Hag Cider (instagram) recently opened their tasting room. They’re located at 315 Commercial Street in Rockport. They’re open Fridays through Sunday. Sea Hag ciders are made from Macintosh and Paula Red apples from Randall’s in Standish.
  • Edelweiss (instagram) is opening a pastry and chocolate shop in the building that’s been under construction this year at 5 Alfred Street. The new shop is expected to open in January.
  • Costa Media (instagram)—the new Camden outpost of Cafe Louis (websitefacebookinstagram) in South Portland—held their soft opening Thursday night. Moving forward they’ll be open Friday through Tuesday, noon – 9 pm. Costa Media is located at 50 Elm Street in the former Wolf Peach building.
  • The Holy Donut has announced plans to open a new donut shop in Brunswick this spring. It will be located on Route 1 in a building formerly occupied by a Tim Horton’s.
  • The Pen Bay Pilot published an article about Albatross, the new restaurant set to open soon in Camden.
  • The storm earlier in the week impacted numerous restaurants in its path. This report from Maine Public about the Augusta/Hallowell/Gardiner area, and this one from the Bangor Daily News provide some insight into the issues restaurants are dealing with as they recover.