Nominations are now open for the 6th Annual Press Herald Source Awards. The awards recognize “Mainers’ most promising, innovative and successful efforts – large and small – to combat climate change, and to otherwise protect, sustain and conserve our beautiful state, its resources and waters”. Numerous food and agricultural businesses have been recognized in past years.
You can nominate a sustainable initiative you admire online now through March 1st.
The Press Herald has published an update on this year’s edition of Maine Restaurant Week which is taking place March 1 – 12.
Instead of offering the traditional Restaurant Week three-course menus, Maine restaurants – many of which are struggling financially – have simply been asked to come up with something creative to offer diners. And in another nod to the pandemic, Restaurant Week specials will be available for curbside takeout as well as indoor and outdoor dining.
Terlingua is launching a guest chef series that will start next week and run through the end of April. Each guest chef will be creating a dish that makes use of smoked meats from Terlingua.
Highroller Lobster is first up with a “BBQ Brisket Grilled cheese//bbq sauce//beer battered onion strings” sandwich.
Here’s the full schedule:
- January 26th – Highroller Lobster Co.
- February 9th – Mr.Tuna
- February 23rd – Chaval
- March 9th – Woodfords F&B
- March 23rd – Izikaya Minato
- April 9th – Central Provisions/Tipo
- April 20th – Ramonas
Small Axe is launching a guest chef series in February:
- Josh Sobel from Ramona’s and Small Axe are collaborating on a menu that will be available on February 5 – 6
- Atsuko Fujimoto from Norimoto Bakery will be working with Small Axe on a menu for February 19 – 20
Briana Holt from Tandem Bakery will be on the calendar in March, and Small Axe is working to schedule more chefs. Stay tuned for more details.
It’s been an extremely difficult year for restaurants and the entire world. No report can fully or adequately capture all that has happened and that we’ve experienced in the past 12 months. That said, here’s an attempt to provide a high level overview of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the rays of hope and sunshine that was the 2020 year in food for Portland:
- Covid-19 – The pandemic crashed into the restaurant industry in the week leading up to Friday the 13th of March. It’s been a tortuous year for employees and business owners ever since. Everyone experienced the uncertainty of those early days, the rapid growth of takeout options, the eventual loosening of restrictions in the early summer that paved the way for outdoor and on-street dining, and the contraction in business as cooler weather and darker days arrived. A number of restaurants have permanently closed—each and every one of the having a ripple effect through the lives of their staff and the communities they were part of. The vaccine(s) have provided a light that we can see at then end of a long tunnel. Here’s to hoping for a better year in 2021.
- Community – In response to Covid, the racial justice protests and hardship heightened by the recession we’ve seen the restaurant industry and the broader community work together and respond in new ways. In the spring efforts like Feeding the Frontline and Frontline Foods channeled donations from the public into free meals to medical staff who were working to respond to the pandemic. Cooking for Community was founded in Maine as a way to deliver meals to people in need while simultaneously supporting local restaurants, farms and fisheries. Thousands of Mainers took part in the Black Lives Matter protests. The restaurant industry showed its support by taking part in Bakers Against Racism, the Black is Beautiful collaboration beer project and Food Industry Action, and Mainers became new customers Black-owned restaurants, bars and other businesses informed by the list created by BlackOwnedMaine.com. Fork Food Lab established an entrepreneurial empowerment scholarship program and Mainers supported a Go Fund Me campaign to enable Me Lon Togo to move their shuttered Waterville restaurant to Camden. This list just scratches the surface…numerous efforts by individual restaurants and people have raised funds, created programs from scratch and otherwise stepped forward to help people in need.
- Most Notable Openings – Against all odds, new food business have launched both pre/post pandemic and managed to hold on throughout the year. The most notable opening for me have been Magnus on Water in January, Judy Gibson in February, Leeward in March, Via Vecchia and Zao Ze Cafe in June and Liu Bian Tan in September, and the fearless launch of Solo Cucina Market on March 22nd. See the monthly chronicle for details on all 2020 openings.
- Latin American and Caribbean – Options for Latin American and the Caribbean are on the upswing. Magnus on Water, Dos Naciones, Sal de la Tierra, Tacos y Tequila, Mi Pueblo Tacos y Tequila, and Pacifico all launched in the past year. In addition, Yardie Ting is planning to open a second location, Flores is building out a bigger second restaurant at 431 Congress Street, a new eatery called Caribbean Taste in under construction in South Portland, and a Costa Rican/Honduran inspired restaurant called Cafe Louis is under construction in South Portland.
- Upcoming in 2021 – There are a number of new businesses slated to open in 2021 and I expect additions to the list to accelerate as we head into spring. For the full list of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the current highlights:
- Cafe Louis – a Costa Rican/Honduran inspired restaurant being opened by Eaux owner Evan Richardson and business partner Ben Ferri in South Portland.
- Coveside Coffee – a new coffee shop in Woodfords Corner being launched by Andy Nesheim and Zara Bohan.
- Dandy’s Handy Store – a market being opened in Yarmouth by Garrison chef/owner Christian Hayes.
- Elda/Jack Rabbit – Bowman Brown will be re-opening Elda and launching a new bakery cafe in the mill building Biddeford.
- Helm – a new oyster bar and restaurant located in the WEX building on Thames Street.
- Papa – a new food truck being launched by Josh Amergian.
- Pigeons – Peter and Orenda Hale are opening “fly casual” daytime neighborhood bar/eatery and with a daily happy hour in the space where they formerly operated Drifters Wife.
- Sok Sabai – a new food truck being launched by Tina Nop that will serve Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese food.
- SoPo Seafood – a new oyster and wine bar and seafood shop in Knightville in South Portland.
Top 10 Articles
The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.
- Big Takeout List (March 14th)
- Indoor/Outdoor Dining List (June 21st)
- Pandemic Casualty List (May 4th)
- Black-owned Restaurants List (June 1st)
- Rise of the Restaumart (April 21st)
- Maine Hospitality Workers Resource Guide (March 23rd)
- Vertical Harvest Coming to Maine (July 28th)
- Food Truck Tracking Apps (June 26th)
- Maine Heirloom Apple Guide (August 31st)
- Opening of NewYork Fried Chicken (June 7th)
Notable Events of 2020
- January – 6 Maine businesses were winner at the Good Food Awards, Courtney Loreg from Woodfords F&B was the featured chef for the inaugural My Kitchen Their Table interview series, the Chef Summit took place, Mission Chinese chef Danny Bowien was the guest chef at Solo Italiano, Sean Turley from The Righteous Russet was interviewed by Malus, staff from Bard Coffee and Speckled Ax qualified for the US Coffee Championships. Magnus on Water, Ada’s, 207 Bar and Restaurant, The Knotted Apron, and Noodle Love opened.
- February – the Brew Bus merged with Dave’s Travel and Events from Australia, 11 chefs and restaurants from Maine were named James Beard semifinalists, the Portland Food Co-op taught a acorn workshop. Ishi Ishi and Dos Naciones opened.
- March – The Covid pandemic officially arrived in Maine and restaurants began adapting (we weren’t yet say pivot), the city asked restaurants to immediately transition to delivery and takeout, restaurants began preparing meals for school children and delivering meals to frontline workers, the governor ordered dining rooms to close statewide, Maine distillers began producing hand sanitizer, Andrew Ross wrote his last regular restaurant review of the year, Solo Cucina Market opened in South Portland. Portland Food Map began publishing a takeout and food delivery list, and in collaboration with Caroline Richter, a Hospitality Workers Resource Guide In the earlier pre-Covid part of March Five Fifty-Five had announced plans to close in mid-April, Sarah Jackson from the Hunt & Alpine Club and LyAnna Sanabria from Chaval came in first and second place at the Northeast regional Speedrack competition. Leeward, Judy Gibson, and Robin’s Table opened, and A&C opened a (short lived) second location in the West End. Bob’s Clam Hut closed their Portland location.
- April – there was a fire at Walker’s Maine and one at Browne Trading, Cooking for Community launched, a number of restaurant launched in-house takeout grocery services, the Portland Farmers’ Market opened for its 252nd season, it became legal for restaurants to sell to go cocktails and growlers of beer with their takeout meals. Ramona’s opened for takeout on Washington Ave. Blue Spoon Cafe and Catering closed.
- May – Chefs from four Maine restaurants were announced as 2020 Beard Awards nominees, a survey by Eat Drink Lucky found that only 23% of customers were planning to eat in restaurants as soon as they re-opened. The Commercial Street Arabica, the West End LB Kitchen, Wild Burritos, Pearl, Royale Lunch, Miller Brothers Seafood, and Uncle Andy’s went out of business.
- June – Restaurants in Cumberland County were allowed to re-open for outdoor dining on June 1st and indoor dining on June 17th. Black Lives Matter protests began taking place in Portland around the state which prompted a strong interest in black-owned food businesses. Restaurants began demonstrating support for the protests, bakers participated Bakers Against Racism, brewers took part in the Black is Beautiful collaboration beer, and restaurants took part in Food Industry Action. A number of streets in the Old Port were blocked off to provide space for restaurants to offer expanded outdoor dining, Black Dinah Chocolates announced plans to change the name of the company, Melissa Kelly chef/owner of Primo testified before Congress on PPP loans. The Somali Bantu Community Association in collaboration with the Agrarian Trust launched a $367k crowdfunding campaign to acquire a 107-acre farm in Wales, Maine. Several companies launched food truck tracking services. Burundi Star Coffee, Zao Ze Cafe, Via Vecchia, and Evo X opened. The Cider House, Woodhull and the Old Port Sandwich Shop went out of business.
- July – Vertical Harvest announced their plans to build a 70,000 square foot hydroponics greenhouse in downtown Westbrook. Radici, the Bard Coffee food truck, the new Little Woodfords, Je’s Neighborhood Store, Haole Ice, Actual Foods, opened. Piccolo, Sip of Europe and Drifters Wife closed.
- August – the Maine Sunday Telegram took a multifaceted look at how the pandemic was changing the restaurant industry in Maine, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Andrew and Briana Volk to their 2020 40 Under 40 list, the Somali Bantu Community Association successsfuly completed their $367k crowdfunding campaign. Joe Ricchio launched an online video cooking series called My Seventies Kitchen. NewYork [sic] Fried Chicken, Little Easy Snoballs, Paella Seafood, Jefe Juan’s, Halsted’s, Navis Cafe, George’s North Shore, and Sal de la Tierra opened. Vinland closed.
- September – Fork Food Lab announced plans for an entrepreneurial empowerment scholarship program, Anoche and Cornish Cider launched the Backyard Cider Project. The Thames Street Speckled Ax, Liu Bian Tan, Smokey & Brines, D Ajan’s Supermarket opened. Lio and Cellar Door on Thompson’s Point closed.
- October – Rabelais Books and its owner Don Lindgren were included in this year’s Saveur 100, Colleen Kelly opened a new version of Silly, Rover announced plans to re-open their bagel shop in Biddeford, Eaux announced plans to move to a new location. The Portland Banded Brewing tasting room, Rigby Yard, Roll Call and Fusillo opened. Flood’s, The Exchange Street Holy Donut, Brewery Extrava, Ameera Bread and the Old Port Po ‘Boys closed.
- November – Nine Maine food producers were named Good Food Awards finalists, Food & Wine named Night Moves one of the top ten best bakeries in America, Terlingua opened at their new location, Tina Nop was the first recipient of a Fork Food Lab Entrepreneurial Empowerment Scholarship, Vena’s announced plans to move to a new location, Central Provisions made temporary pivot in Central Sandwich and Provisions. Mount Desserts Pie Company, Tiny’s, Crispy Gai, and Jing Yan opened. Ernie’s went out of business.
- December – Governor Janet Mills has announced a $40M aid program for the hospitality industry, A&C and Woodfords began issuing restaurant bonds. XO Burgers and Wings, Kuno, Tacos y Tequila, and Batson River opened. Browne Trading re-opened their market. More & Co. went out of business.
- Nancy Whipple Lord – a co-founder of the Seamen’s Club restaurant in 1973.
- William M. “Bucky” Leighton, Jr., 70 – a teacher at the Culinary Institute in Portland and a chef at Roberts Restaurant in Portland as well as a food service instructor at Portland Regional Vocational Technical Center in Portland.
For additional perspectives on the past year in food see Andrew Ross’s 2020 Best of list in the Maine Sunday Telegram.
Here are links to the Portland Food Map year in review reports for 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.
35 options and counting on this year’s New Year’s list. Check back, we’ll be adding more as more restaurants announce their offerings. Don’t see your favorite restaurant on the list? Check with them directly. Some restaurants may be open on NYE with their regular takeout/menu options.
If you know of any restaurants offering special New Year’s Eve/Day options please email me or post a comment below with the details.
- Bao Bao – a special 4-course takeout menu celebrates the dumpling in its many forms from around the world. Order online.
- Broken Arrow – 6-course dinner with Champagne toast.
- Central Provisions – takeout caviar, foie gras, dinner and drinks. Order online.
- Chaval – has on offer a takeout 3-course prix fixe dinner as well as a flounder crudo appetizer and beef tenderloin on special on NYE. Order online.
- Cocktail Mary – Their NYE Kit includes “A bottle of Anton Ohlig Brut Rose, Cantina del Pioppa Lambrusco di Modena, Famille St. Laurent Saint-Pourçain and Quinto Do Infantado White Port. Sex work, Negroni, Maple Old fashioned and Bellini for two.” $99.99. Order online.
- Crispy Gai – fried chicken, caviar and Miller. Order online.
- Duckfat Friteshack – an a la carte menu of American Chinese food. Order online.
- Evo – a 5-course takeout meal which is a collaboration with Colin Wyatt former Executive Sous Chef at Eleven Madison Park. Order online.
- Fore Street – full takeout menu. (207) 775-2717.
- Highroller Lobster/Sun Oriental – a menu created in collaboration between Highroller and Sun Oriental Market available for takeout, on-site dining and delivery.
- Hunt & Alpine – NYE takeout party kits (2 servings of 4 cocktails plus olives, Hunt’s nut mix, pickles) for $75. Order online.
- Isa – a NYE takeout menu available for pre-order by calling (207) 808-8533.
- Izakaya Minato – Omakase for 2, $80. Order online.
- Judy Gibson – a snack pack for 2-4 people, “Smoked mussels, house made summer sausage, chicken liver pâté with elderflower-buttermilk jelly, spicy popcorn, mixed pickles and olives along with a bottle of bubbles for $60”. (207)808-8649.
- Little Giant – Burger boxes, “fancy hotdogs” and champagne available to order on New Year’s Eve.
- Luke’s – A takeout seafood tower and other options for New Year’s Eve. Order online.
- Mr. Tuna – a variety of sushi options (chirashi, part box, maki platters, etc) for takeout. Order online.
- North 43 Bistro – has a special NYE menu available for takeout of on-site dining.
- Other Side Diner – a takeout prime rib dinner for 2 $75. email@example.com.
- Petite Jacqueline – serving a 4-course dinner for $75 with optional wine pairings for takeout or on-site dining. They also have a canape basket for 4.
- Roma Cafe – has a special NYE menu for takeout or on-site dining.
- Round Turn Distilling – French 75 cocktail kits. Order online.
- Sebago Brewing Co. – has a NYE menu for takeout and on-site dining.
- Small Axe – will be serving a takeout brunch menu on New Year’s Day. See menu.
- Sur Lie – a takeout NYE differ for 2, $120 with options for add-ons wine or cocktails. Order online.
- Terlingua – outdoor seatings at 4:30pm, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm for parties of 2-6 people; reservations required. Also a BBQ and bubbles takeout meal for 2, $165. Order online.
- The Honey Paw – at-cost caviar: 30, 60 or 90 grams. Order online.
- Tipo – 3-course takeout dinner for $60/person. Order online.
- Top of the East – a NYE takeout Celebration Box that includes apps and dessert for 2, $60. Order online.
- Urban Farm Fermentory – will be launching their new brunch service in the UFF tasting room on New Year’s Day, 8am to 6pm.
- Verbena – a variety of takeout options for NYE and brunch the morning after.
- Wine Wise and Chaval –a virtual wine dinner for two (deliver included) for $250 – order online. Also a takeout New Year’s Day wine brunch for two for $125 – order online.
- Woodford F&B – three takeout hors d’ouevres options. (207) 200-8503.
Chefs Matt Ginn and Colin Wyatt are collaborating on an Evo New Year’s Eve takeout menu.
Ginn is the executive chef of the Prentice Hospitality Group and Wyatt is the former executive sous chef from Eleven Madison Park. Wyatt and his wife Selena Juneau-Vogel recently resettled to the Portland area—part of a longstanding plan to return to Maine (where Juneau-Vogel grew up) that was accelerated by the pandemic.
The friendship between Ginn and Wyatt dates back to 2007 when they both worked for Steve Corry at Five Fifty-Five. As a reference back to those earlier days, the NYE menu includes a black truffle lobster lasagna as a nod to the truffle lobster mac and cheese that was a signature item on the menu at Five Fifty-Five.
The 5-course menu includes:
- Caviar / Mini Pita Taramasalata / Everything Crumble / House Pickle
- Maine Root Vegetable / Winter Citrus / Local Maine Scallops
- Black Truffle Lobster Lasagna
- Braised Short Rib / Delicata Squash
- Petit Fours
- Main Dessert
- Celebratory Toast
You can pre-order Evo’s New Year’s Eve takeout dinner online, $130 per person.
Radici, the new pizzeria on Washington Ave, is planning a weekly collaboration series in January and February.
Working with Radici on the series are chefs from
- Mr. Tuna, January 6-10
- Chaval, January 13-17
- Mami, January 20-24
- Taverna Khione, January 27-31
- Bao Bao, February 3-7
Christmas is a little more than a week away. Here’s an evolving list of the takeout, dine in, or provisions options that I’ve learned of are. I’ll be adding to the list as restaurants and other food producers announce their plans:
- Ada’s – family sized pasta and dessert option, order deadline December 21st for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
- Belleville – cookies and baked goods. Pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
- Big Tree Hospitality – a wide range of dishes and provisions for pick-up on December 23rd. Order online.
- BlueFin – will be serving a special holiday menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Boone’s – sides, mains and dessert, order deadline December 21st for pick-up on December 24th.
- Botto’s – baked goods and breads. Pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Central Provisions – takeout sides, dinner, dessert, order deadline December 20th. Order online.
- Chaval – 4 different holiday cakes (call for gluten-free option) plus eggnog, order deadline December 20th. Pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Cheese Shop of Portland – baked good, and cheese and charcuterie platters, order deadline December 18th for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
- Dandelion Catering – has a Christmas menu, order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Dizzy Bird – meals for individuals and families as well as sides and desserts, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
- Evo – choice of five pound lamb or beef roast with a variety of sauces and roasted potatoes, $90 (includes tax). Order deadline December 22nd for pickup on December 23rd or 24th. Available cooked or marinated and ready to prepare at home. (207) 358-7830.
- Greeks of Peaks – 3-course Greek takeout dinner for $33/person. Pickup in Portland or on Peaks on December 23rd. Order online.
- Gross Confection Bar – Christmas desserts, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Lake & Co. – meals for 2 or 4 people along with side dishes and desserts, order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Leeward – holiday take n bake dinner kit, order deadline December 23rd for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Little Giant – Ribeye steak roast with all the sides and dessert for 2 ($160) for pick-up on December 24th. Also a bûche de noël log, $35 for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
- Luke’s – takeout Christmas Eve lobster dinner for four, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Mami – roast pork, ramen, dumplings and cookies, order deadline December 20th, pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Norimoto – a variety of baked goods for pick-up on December 24th. Email to order email@example.com.
- Other Side Deli – apps, sides, main dishes and desserts order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. (207) 761-9650 for Veranda St, (207) 874-7414 for Vaughan St.
- North 43 Bistro – has options for a breakfast, Christmas dinner and appetizers all sized for a group of 6 people. Order deadline December 18th for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th. (207) 747-4009.
- Prairie Baking Co. – bûche de noël log, cookies, and holiday cookie kit. Order online.
- Roll Call – Fully cooked 1/2 porchetta (feeds 10-15 people, $150) or 1/4 porchetta (feeds 5-8 people, $80) with reheating instructions. Order deadline December 15th for pick-up on December 22nd or 23rd. (207) 200-4050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
- Scratch Baking – has a range of baked available for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th.
- Sichuan Kitchen – has a family-sized Christmas menus for 3-4, 6-8, and 10-12 people. Order online.
- Sur Lie – prime rib or ham dinners for 2 or 4 people, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
- Sweet Woodruff Provisions – takeout pastry chef Kate Fisher Hamm is holding a pre-Christmas pop-up selling cakes, tarts and cookie boxes, order deadline December 18th. Order online.
- Tandem – has yule log cakes and cookie boxes. Call to order (207) 760-4440.
- Terlingua – 4-course dinner for 4 people, $165. Order online.
- Tipo – has menus for a Christmas Eve cocktail party, and Christmas morning breakfast. Order online.
- Two Fat Cats – cakes, pies and other desserts, pick-up December 22-24. Order online.
- Union – 3-course Christmas dinner at the restaurant for $79 per person (optional pairings for $13), or a family style takeout meal for 2 $100 for pick-up on December 24th (order by the 20th). See menus. They also have a Christmas Eve brunch.
- Verbena – appetizers, salads, mains annd dessertss, order deadline December 22nd fofr pick-up on December 24th. (207) 767-2011.
- Via Vecchia – will be serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve at the restaurant. 7-courses for $70 per person (with optional $25 cocktail and wine pairings). Make reservations.
- Westin Hotel – takeout 4-course dinner , $42 for 1 person or $80 for 2 people; order deadline December 20th. Pick-up on December 24. Order online.
- Wine Wise and Chaval are teaming up on a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve (Sold Out), $190 for 2 people. Order online.
Restaurant industry folks please DM on instagram or email at email@example.com with details on your Christmas Eve/Day options.
Additionally, if you’re able, please consider making a donation to one or more of these organizations to help fight hunger in Maine:
The Press Herald is hosting a webinar to gather reflections on the past year with members of Portland’s small business community.
The arrival of the pandemic this spring sent Maine business people into a scramble, searching for ways to keep the lights on while ensuring the safety of employees and customers. Several shared the thinking behind their difficult decisions and pivots in our Making it Work segments. Now we return to ask, “How did it all pan out?”
Participating in the webinar are.
- Vanessa Santarelli, Your Maine Concierge
- Andrew Volk, Alpine + Hunt Club
- Krista Cole, Sur Lie
- Mike Alfiero, Harbor Fish
- Joanna Pease, Jibe Cycling Studio
- Mary Allen Lindemann, Coffee By Design
The webinar is scheduled to take place this Thursday at 1pm. Register online to attend.