Brea Lu Cafe Moving to 511 Main Street

Brea Lu Cafe (websitefacebookinstagram) had planned to move from their current spot to 100 Larrabee Road, but that location fell through earlier this year. Owner Christian DeLuca has now leased a large space at 511 Main Street in Westbrook which he is building out into a new home for his popular breakfast and lunch spot.

DeLuca plans to launch with a menu that includes classic dishes served when Brea Lu was in its longtime home on Forest Ave in Portland. The new dining room will seat 100 people—up from 44 at their current location—and there will be seasonal outdoor seating as well. The kitchen will double in size, and DeLuca hopes to eventually add an in-house bakery. The cafe is also slated to have a private room for events and meetings that will seat 30+ people.

Construction on the site is already underway. DeLuca will be closing down Brea Lu on Cumberland Street on at the end of April and hopes to reopen at the Maine Street location in early June. Brea Lu will be expanding its hours to stay open until 2 pm, and will be available in the evenings for events, pop-ups, and for use by food trucks.

Logan Abbey the owner of the George’s North Shore food truck is taking over the current Brea Lu building where he plans to open a restaurant called George + Leon’s Famous Roast Beef.

4 Re/Openings

Full Turn (websiteinstagram) just completed a kitchen expansion and reopened Friday night with their latest menu theme. This time around the concept is Italian Sunday Dinner. They’re located in East Bayside in the former Baharat location, and are open Thursday through Saturday  4 – 9 pm.

Thai Esaan (facebookinstagram) opened on Saturday at their new location on Portland Street in the former Back Bay Grill building. Their hours are 11am to 9 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. See photos below for a look at their menu and the Krah Pow Moo Grob (crispy pork, spicy Thai basil, green beans, onions, red pepper with rice) dish.

The bar Room for Improvement (instagram) will be open to the public on Thursday, April 13th. Owners Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin have completely renovated 41 Wharf Street into a 36-seat venue with bar along the left wall, circular booths along the right and additional seating out back. The hours of operation will initially be Thursday through Monday, 5 pm to 1 am.

The well-loved bar Maps (instagram) on Market Street has been closed since the start of the year. The space has undergone a extenive renovation in the last few months and is slated to open this Thursday at 5 pm. Their regular hours of operation will be Tuesday and Wednesday 4 pm to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday 4 pm  1 am.

Every week there’s word of some new business under development. To get caught up visit our Under Construction List.

Upcoming Events

March 27Batson River in Portland is hosting ChopTails bartender competition featuring Rob Roy from Primo,  Jake Bosma from Cocktail Mary, LyAnna Sanabria from Papi, Sylvi Roy from Twelve, and Bailey White from The Danforth.

March 29 – the James Beard Foundation will release the list of nominees for this year’s awards. There are 11 semifinalists from Maine under consideration.

March 30Maps (instagram) on Market Street is scheduled to reopen after completing an extensive renovation.

April 3Scratch Baking is teaching a bagel baking class.

April 4Roma is holding a Central Italian wine dinner.

April 12Evo is serving a 5-course Italian wine dinner.

April 13Room for Improvement (instagram) will be opening.

April 16Turamali will be serving two seatings of an 8-course Mexican dinner at the Knotted Apron (tickets go on sale on March 24th).

April 17 – there will be a meeting of the Portland Restaurant Sustainability Council.

April 18Avery Yale Kamila will be giving a talk on the 300 year history of vegetarianism in Maine in Buxton.

April 20 – The April Fun With Ferments meet-up is taking place at Mast Landing.

April 20-22 – chef Johnny Spero from the Michelin-starred Reverie in Washington DC will be serving a 9-course dinner at Hugo’s.

April 21 – The Good Food Awards will take place, there are 12 finalists from Maine in the running this year.

May 20Maine Wild Wine Fest is taking place in Freeport.

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

July 23Open Farm Day.

August 23 – an Outstanding in the Field dinner is taking place at Dandelion Spring Farm. Tickets go on sale March 20th.

September 10Maine Cheese Festival.

October 8Maine Open Creamery Day.

Cuppa Jo’s in Yarmouth

A new cafe called Cuppa Jo’s (instagram) is under construction at 305 Route 1 in Yarmouth. It’s located in the same building at Otto Pizza.

Owner Jo Miller plans to serve espresso-based and brewed coffee as well as teas from Marriage des Freres. as well as “pastries, sandwiches, soups and more!” Cuppa Jo’s will be roasting their own coffee.

Miller hopes to open Cuppa Jo’s on April 10th and be open 6 am to 2 pm daily.

Review of Taco Trio

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of Taco Trio.

Owner and original chef Manny Peña’s family recipes still form the basis for most of the menu’s dishes, like puffy sopes, soft tacos and well-balanced aguas frescas (cantaloupe and hibiscus, in particular). In its new home, Taco Trio makes more of a feature of its Mexican liquors without losing a step in the kitchen. The space can get noisy on weekends, but takeout meals are nearly as good as dine-in meals at Taco Trio. Just down that Tequila Honey Bee before you head home with your designated driver.

Bissell Expanding on Thompson’s Point

Bissell Brothers Brewing (website, instagram) is expanding their footprint on Thompson’s Point. They’ve leased the former Rosemont market and wine bar space and are renovating it to provide additional kitchen capacity and dining space for customers.

The larger kitchen will enable the launch of an in-house bakery program to support the breads needed for their existing menu and to expand their food offerings. Co-owner Peter Bissell shared they are excited to explore the common yeast-driven fermentation space bread and beer both occupy. The new space will also enable the launch of a full service bar with some differentiated options in addition to their existing menu. A brass Lukr tap system is being installed at the bar.

The former Rosemont Market and Bar on Thompson’s Point opened in August 2021 and closed in January of this year.

Bull Feeney’s Closing Sunday

According to reports from the Bangor Daily News and Press Herald Bull Feeney’s will be permanently closing this Sunday.

In a letter sent out on Wednesday, the owner and operator Douglas Fuss wrote that the bar will officially close on Sunday, March 26. He did not cite any particular reasons for stepping away from the business on Wednesday evening.

Fuss opened his two-story Irish-themed bar and restaurant in 2001. He named it after famed Hollywood director — and Portland native — John Ford.

Tandem’s Buttermilk Biscuits

The New York Times has published an article about baker Briana Holt’s buttermilk biscuits at Tandem Coffee entitled “The Best Biscuits Outside of the South“.

Whenever Briana Holt is baking at home, her rescue dog, Gravy, is usually close by waiting for a treat. She named him after Wavy Gravy, the Woodstock-era peace activist and the former official clown of the Grateful Dead, one of Holt’s favorite bands. Her dog’s name, she says, has nothing to do with the fact that she happens to make the best biscuits I’ve ever tasted outside the South. Holt is an owner and the head baker at Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine, which has a line out the door more often than not. I met her for the first time at the front of that line. As I was ordering my third biscuit of the week, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. “Eric?”


Evolving Business Models for Breweries

Today’s Press Herald reports on how a maturing craft brewing industry is adding food service to evolve their business model and better address their customer’s needs.

“What we’re seeing at the highest level is the next move in a maturing marketplace,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, a trade group.

Tasting rooms still draw visitors who want to try the latest beers. But the market has changed since the heyday of specialty can releases, when people would line up outside breweries to get the newest creation before it sold out.

The beer makers have also changed. Craft breweries are outgrowing their first tasting rooms, adding second or third locations in new towns, building in-house kitchens and expanding their food menus.

For a recent example read about Battery Steele’s plans to open a pub in Wells.

Maples Closing in Yarmouth

Maples owner Robin Ray has announced plans to close and sell the original Yarmouth location. March 29 is tentatively slated to be the last day of business.

There is big stuff happening and I have been struggling to find the words that will ring true and sound like me but also finding a balance of reality and emotion. I am selling the Maples Yarmouth location. I intended to keep two locations open but as the reality of New Gloucester opening came closer I realized that I could not physically and emotionally keep up with the demands that they both would require.

Ray is in the of launching a new/second Maples location in New Gloucester which is located at 1055 Lewiston Road. in the building formerly occupied by Rosanna’s.