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.

Dogfish Bar and Grille

Dogfish Bar and Grille has announced they’re temporarily closing with hopes to “bring the Dogfish family back together soon”. This Friday will be their last day in business for the time being.

In over 20 years, there are so many people that have had the love of being able to call Dogfish their home. If it was for an Open Mic, a Trivia Night, the unbelievable live music acts that have crossed our stage or just sitting at the bar with friends, we like to think you are part of our family. Over that time period, we as a staff have seen so many things. Through so many changes and many movements. We have seen relationships flourish into marriage and children. We have felt loss and hardship with people we cared so much about. The best thing about Dogfish in that respect, is it will never go away, but for now, we must close our doors down.

This comes shortly after the recent news that Katahdin is also temporarily closing while they find a spot to relocate to.

Baharat Closing at End of September

Baharat has announced they will permanently close as of the end of September.

To our friends and community, it has been a wild ride and it is time to turn the page and announce the permanent closure of Baharat. We will continue to operate on Fridays and Saturdays from 4-9 until the end of September and hope to see you all before we permanently close. It has been an incredible experience serving you and we look forward to sharing our new project when the time comes. Thank you so much for joining us on our journey. We have been so lucky to have the support and love from this amazing community.

Parker’s and Buxton Common Closing

The Buxton Common has announced plans to close as of this Friday,

This Friday we celebrate our 4th anniversary and it is with bittersweet emotions that we announce that this Friday will also be our last night of dinner service. Though, in the future, we will continue some limited catering, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our regular dinner and take away service.

We have much gratitude and appreciation for the people through the years who have helped to make The Buxton Common a special place for our workers and guests. And a deep thank you goes to all the people who run town hall, the transfer station and safety departments who have helped to welcome us to town.

Parker’s in North Deering has announced they are closing this Saturday after 33 years in business.

Please be advised that some menu items may not be available due to our closing on June 25.

We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your patronage over these past 33 years.

It is difficult to call you customers and patrons when we truly consider you friends and, in many cases, family.

The decision to close was extremely difficult and bitter sweet. Again, thank you all so much for making us a part of your lives.

Casa Novello Indefinitely Closed

Casa Novello in Westbrook has closed indefinitely, and perhaps finally. According to a facebook post on Sunday,

We are sad to say that the legacy of Casa Novello has ended. We appreciate all of your support and will miss you all. We are closed due to staffing issues.

They followed up with a second post that read,

We appreciate all of your comments we have been trying to find staff for over 8 months. I have called schools, friends, told customers tried everything. We are hoping for a miracle.

In total the two posts have received more than 400 comments.

Back Bay Grill

Chef/owner Larry Matthews has announced his decision to permanently close Back Bay Grill.

I have come to the conclusion that it is time to close the doors to Back Bay Grill and say goodbye. This was not easy, but it is time for me to step out of the kitchen, and move on.

Thank you for sharing your lives with me. Your laughter, and stories. Your special occasions, and family milestones. Thank you for the years. It’s been wonderful in so many ways. You became part of my family, and I loved cooking for you, and seeing the joy Back Bay Grill added to your day.

I was fortunate to have such incredible staff over the years, and they too are part of my family.

I’d like to thin k we did Joel proud. He was a constant presence and a guide for me.

I will be emptying the restaurant over the next few weeks, and selling equipment and other items. Feel free to reach out to me if there is something you’d like to purchase, or ask about.

Back Bay Grill will live on in my memory, as I hope it does in yours.

I wish you all the very best,

Larry Matthews, Jr.

Back Bay Grill was founded in 1988 by Steve Quatrucci who sold the business to Joel Freund two years later. Larry Mathews joined the Back Bay Grill team as its chef in 1996 and became the owner in 2002. The announcement yesterday has triggered a wave of comments on the facebook post from customers and former staff sharing memories and thanks to Mathews.

For additional reporting see these articles from the Bangor Daily News and the Press Herald.

Nom Cafe/Yobo on Forest Ave

The owners of Yobo announced on Thursday that they’re closing their Forest Ave Korean restaurant. Their plans are to fully direct their efforts into their Brunswick restaurant Maine St. Steak & Oyster.

The Press Herald reports that Som Mantasut and Genko Stanilov are taking over the former Yobo space where they plan to open Nom Cafe (instagram) this April.

Mantasut, who is taking the lead on Nom Cafe, already owns Orchid, a Thai restaurant in Lewiston, and works as a server at Yosaku in Portland. She grew up in Thailand and came to Maine for college, where she studied business. At Nom, she plans to offer coffee, breakfast and lunch food with touches of Thai and Bulgarian cuisine, “so a little bit of everything,” she said; her partner, Stanilov, is from Bulgaria.

Sebago Brewing Closing Fore Street

Sebago Brewing is closing their Fore Street location as of January 29th, reports the Press Herald and Mainebiz.

The company said it plans to put the money into upgrading its three other brewpubs and improve the canning line at its Gorham brewery.

The company said its workers in Portland were notified of the decision and the company is looking to relocate them to the other locations or other positions with the company. The Portland location will close Jan. 29.