The 2022 Year In Review

Here’s a look at the highlights, themes and key moments from the 2022 year in food:

Concept Shift – with the pre-pandemic closure of Five Fifty-Five and the 2022 shuttering of Back Bay Grill and Hugo’s, Portland’s fine dining ranks have thinned quite a bit. Twelve is the new standard bearer for white table cloth dining in Portland. In the meantime, daytime cafes and combination restaurant/markets are increasing in number. Smalls and Friends & Family are a prime examples, and coming online in 2023 are the Bread and Friends bakery/cafe, The Ugly Duckling in the West End, the Night Moves/Lambs collaboration, and the new LB Kitchen.

National Recognition – while none of the nominees came home with the gold in June, the 2022 James Beard Awards season saw Maine honored with 10 semifinalists (just shy of the record 11 set in 2020) and a record 5 finalist nominees—a confirmation of the strength of the Maine restaurant industry and hopefully an indication of what’s to come (watch for the 2023 semifinalists list in February). National recognition came in other forms as well this year: Bon Appetit included Regards on their list of the Best New Restaurants in America, the NY Times identified Leeward and Twelve as two of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” Food & Wine and CN Traveler shared their love of Biddeford, and Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.

Maine Food Map –Biddeford will continue to be a hot spot, and new restaurants are opening in South Portland and the Portland suburbs. However, there’s also been a growing drumbeat of new and interesting food and beverages businesses opening outside the Portland area, and in 2022 that seemed to have gone into a higher gear…here are just a few examples from the past year: Table Bar in Gardiner, Aboslem Cider in Winthrop,  Nomad in Brunswick, Solo Pane in Bath, the new Dennett’s Wharf in Castine, The Alna Store in Alna, Sidereal Brewing in Vassalboro, Wolfpeach in Camden, Sophia in Belfast, Perch in Waldoboro, Hey Sailor in Searsport, and The Rooting Pig in Bristol.

Upcoming in 2023 – For a rundown of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the more exciting ones in the pipeline:

  • Bread and Friends – an elevated bakery/cafe located on Fore Street.
  • Lambs/Night Moves – Kerry Haines is bringing her bakery to South Portland and her partner Wade Ritchey is opening a bar in the adjoining space.
  • LB Kitchen – Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind are reopening LB Kitchen in an expanded space on the corner of Congress and Smith Streets.
  • Lenora – a taco bar focusing on Mexican-inspired street food from the creators of Lone Star in Boston.
  • Mr. Tuna – a new iteration of Mr. Tuna located on Middle Street is slated to open this summer.
  • Papi – a Puerto Rican-inspired bar and restaurant expected to open early in 2023.
  • Quanto Basta – a brick and mortar version of the popular Neapolitan pizza food truck which will be located in the original LB Kitchen space.
  • Room for Improvement – a modern dive bar being brought to life on Wharf Street by Arvid Brown and  Nick Coffin.
  • The Continental – European pub food meets cocktails and featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts in the Oakdale neighborhood.
  • The Ugly Duckling – Chaval owners Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti are launching this daytime cafe and bakeshop on Danforth Street in early 2023.
  • Vertical Harvest – a 70,000 square-foot hydroponic vertical greenhouse in Westbrook.

There are also several other exciting new projects that are currently under wraps but will go public soon. Check back later this year for details.

Top 10 Articles

The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.

  1. Eastern Prom Food Trucks – early report by the Portland Phoenix that the city was considering new rules to manage food trucks on the Eastern Prom (March 30th)
  2. Somebody Feed Phil – debut of the Somebody Feed Phil episode from Maine (April 7th)
  3. Sacred Profane Brewing – first report on Sacred Profane Brewing being under construction in Biddeford (February 21st)
  4. AC Moving to SoPo – first report on A&C Grocery moving to South Portland (March 2nd)
  5. The Danforth – interim report on The Danforth (February 15th)
  6. The Continental – first report on The Continental (April 14th)
  7. Indy’s Sandwich – first report on Indy’s (February 6th)
  8. Paper Tiger – first report on Paper Tiger (January 6th)
  9. Fish & Whistle – first report on Fish & Whistle in Biddeford (February 1st)
  10. Tobi Open – report on the opening of Tobi (June 3rd)

Notable Events of 2022


For an additional perspective on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram Best of 2022 article.

This is the 13th year running that Portland Food Map has published a year in review article. Take a walk down memory lane by checking out these past editions that covered 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Old Port Tavern Closing

The Press Herald reports that the Old Port Tavern is closing. New Year’s Eve will be their last day in business.

The Old Port Tavern on Moulton Street will close its doors on Saturday night, New Year’s Eve, ending a 50-year stay in the heart of a waterfront district known for its lively nightlife and plethora of dining options.

Housed in the basement of the historic Mariners Church Building, the Old Port Tavern opened as a restaurant and bar in 1973. Richard Herrera, 71, and his business partner, Charlie McGee, 75, have operated the tavern for five decades, but have decided to retire after the business serves its last round of drinks Saturday night.

Thompson’s Point Rosemont Closing

Rosemont Market has announced plans to close their Thopmson’s Point location in January.

Come January, our Market and Wine Bar on Thompson’s Point will close its doors permanently, allowing us to allocate our resources from this location toward our seven other neighborhood markets. We have enjoyed our 1.5 years on Thompson’s Point spent sharing space with winemakers, distributors, visitors, and friends. Working with the team at Thompson’s Point, as well as the exemplary businesses on campus, has been a wonderful experience that has fostered growth, creativity, and partnership. We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with them all. So, we’re moving out, but we’re not going anywhere!

Rosemont opened the Thompson’s Point winebar and market on August 18, 2021.

Hilltop Coffee Closing

Owners Guy and Stella Hernandez have announced they’ll be closing Hilltop Coffee later this year.

Apparently, 2022 had a different idea for us. At one point, a potential new building owner indicated we would no longer have a home here as they would not be renewing our lease. (Cue a mad search for a new location, sigh…) Many twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows later, we find that the demands of this corner of Munjoy Hill and the demands of our lives beyond it mean our time here at 100 Congress is over.
Our lease runs out at the end of the year and we have decided that it is time to see what new adventures await us.
We’re sure some of you may have questions. We may or may not have all the answers for you, but feel to stop by to say hello/goodbye, we’ll be around through the start of December.
The coffee will be strong. The food will be good.

Guy and Stella previously owned and operated Lolita and before that Bar Lola.

Updated: for additional reporting see this article in the Press Herald.

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.