Best of 2022 Awards

Portland Old Port has kicked off their Best of 2022 readership awards program. The readership-driven voting program is a three-step process.

Step 1 – now through June 30th you can nominate your favorite businesses in the dozens of categories which range from Best Ambience and Best Bagel to categories like Best Wings and Friendliest Staff.

Step 2 – the first round of voting will take place on all nominations from July 1st to July 14th.

Step 3 – the top voted entries from step 2 will be on the ballot for a final election from July 15th to July 31st.

Beard Awards Impact

This week’s Portland Phoenix checked in with some of Maine’s nominees to ask what impact being a Beard Awards nominee has had on their business.

Now, as we move forward in a world where COVID-19 isn’t gone and chefs, cooks, servers, and bartenders have endured through it and most likely changed their models and practices, do awards matter? I spoke with three local finalists about what the nominations meant to them and their restaurants.

Father’s Day Article, Student Cookbook

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a Fathers’ Day article about dads at three restaurants, and

For dads in the food service business, Father’s Day is mostly just another work day. But it’s also a time for fathers who run generational family restaurants to consider their family legacies, and remember vital life lessons they learned working for and with their own fathers. It’s a day that gives them a chance to appreciate how their own children helped them with the business, and to dream of the day when they can hand it down to the kids, just as their parents and grandparents did before them.

a report on a new cookbook created by culinary students at LearningWorks.

Seventeen of the students graduating from the LearningWorks YouthBuild program at the end of June have something rather unexpected to add to their resumes: cookbook author.

Beards Awards Update

Sadly, we don’t have any Maine Beard Awards wins to report on this morning, but with five nominees and 20+ chefs, bakes, staff and owners at the event Maine was very well represented at the awards. No doubt there will be more opportunity for Maine to shine in 2023.

In the meantime if you see any of the 2022 congratulate them on the recognition of excellence that already represents:

  • Best New Restaurant – Leeward
  • Outstanding Baker – Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery
  • Best Chef: Northeast – Vien Dobui, Công Tử Bột; Courtney Loreg, Woodford Food & Beverage; Damian Sansonetti, Chaval

See this article in the Press Herald for additional details on the awards.

Review of Judy Gibson & 4 New Food Books

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Judy Gibson,

The first rule of Judy Gibson is that you must start telling absolutely everyone you know about Judy Gibson. Let friends know that chef/owner Chris Wilcox (Eventide, Velveteen Habit) isn’t serving his pandemic-legendary fried chicken anymore, and that’s a good thing. Instead, he’s making excellent use of an encyclopedic larder of house-preserved local ingredients, adding a portion of pickled blueberry stems to his extraordinary tuna crudo, dusting dried ramp powder on a rich beef tartare hash brown … you get the idea.

and an article about four new food books with connections to Maine.

With summer here and leisurely pursuits on the rise, it’s time for a fresh batch of cookbooks and food writing from Maine authors. Here, we’re taking a look at four recent publications that will suit readers with a range of interest in food, from aspiring mixologists to nostalgic eaters.

Food Truck Lottery

The City held their Eastern Prom food truck lottery today and per a report from the Press Herald four entrants representing five trucks were left out in the cold “Eighty 8 Donuts, Mr. Tuna, Maine Maple Creemee and two trucks, Cheese the Day and Ironclad Eats, that applied jointly to share one spot.”

Mr. Tuna owner Jordan Rubin is quoted saying that he’ll need to cut 6 to 10 positions from his staff as a result.

“This is really disappointing. There goes our business,” said Jordan Rubin, chef and owner of Mr. Tuna, a mobile sushi bar, following the drawing held on Zoom on Wednesday morning.

“That’s six to 10 people who don’t have jobs anymore because of this lottery,” Rubin said.

A representative from Mr. Tuna shared the loss of the Eastern Prom location will result in a $500,000 drop in revenue.

A protest is scheduled to take place at City Hall at 9 am on Thursday.

The 10 trucks that got spots are On A Roll, BOGS Bakery, Falafel Mafia, George’s North Shore, Gelato Fiasco, Vy Banh Mi, Tacos La Poblanita, Cargo Pizza Company, Twist and La Mega.

Food Truck Update

The Portland Phoenix has shared an update on Eastern Prom food truck situation.

More than a dozen food trucks applied for 10 permits to operate this summer on Portland’s Eastern Promenade, which means the city will hold a lottery to decide which ones are allowed to do business in the popular park.

According to the article these trucks have all applied for a spot: On A Roll, Bogs Bakery, Mr. Tuna, Falafel Mafia, George’s North Shore, Gelato Fiasco,  Eighty 8 Donuts, Vy Banh Mi,  Cheese the Day, Tacos La Poblanita, Cargo Pizza Company, Twist, and Maine Maple Creemee.

Food Truck Petition

Nearly 2,300 people have signed a change.org petition in support of local food trucks that have operated on the Eastern Prom for the last few years.

As Portland locals, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the city is to hang out on the Eastern Prom, eat from food trucks, and enjoy the beautiful views and historic park. Over the past several years, we have supported the various food trucks who consistently park on the Eastern Promenade road, and are saddened to hear that their ability to do business there may be in jeopardy. 

The city recently announced new rules that go into effect in June that would limit the number of trucks to 10 and relocate all of them to the mid-hill parking lot on Cutter St. With more than 10 trucks interested in the spots a lottery would be used to select who can do business on the Eastern Prom.

As local citizens, we are deeply concerned about the small Portland based companies who have built their businesses and livelihoods at this location. We fear that a lottery will exclude the businesses whose food has made Portland into New England’s premiere food truck scene. We worry that these changes will impact their ability to staff locals to whom they pay living wages.

The Yard Temporarily Closing

Owners of The Yard have announced they’re temporarily closing pending the sale of the business to a new owner.

Thank you for all loving messages and supporting our decision to spend more time with family. We are very happy and excited to take this opportunity. The business has been listed for sale and have some interest already.

We will be honoring our commitment @deejayonax so throw his private Memorial Day bash on Sunday May 29th.

Our last day to the public will be Saturday May 28th.