Hayward and Evans on Portland

The Press Herald interviewed chefs Sam Hayward and Rob Evans about winning Best Chef: Northeast, Hayward in 2004 and Evans in 2009, and what it means for the city’s reputation as a foodie destination.

Hugo’s, the Middle Street restaurant owned by the 45-year-old Evans and his wife and business partner Nancy Pugh, probably will be tough to get into in the coming weeks, at least on the weekends. Calls for reservations are running four to five times higher than normal for this time of year, and foodies from New York and Connecticut are booking tables well into summer and fall.

the article also reports that Evans is planning on launching a third restaurant.

Evans himself is planning more restaurants, including a new Duckfat gastropub in the heart of the Old Port (think Wharf Street or Commercial Street) sometime within the next year, as soon as he and Pugh can find the right property to purchase. The original Duckfat will remain open.

They’re also looking for a place to open a Duckfat in Burlington, Vt., hoping to cash in on the college-town vibe where french fries and beer are considered staples.

Street Meat

The new issue of The Maine Switch takes a look at the food cart options in the city.

Street meat isn’t gourmet. It isn’t meant to be vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. It isn’t even healthy — not in a Whole Foods kind of way. But you don’t have to sit to eat it, you only need a few bucks for a dog and a Coke and it sure tastes good. That’s why when the weather’s good in Portland you’ll find everyone from high school students in flip flops to businessmen in suits and ties sitting on a bench in Tommy’s Park and wiping ketchup from their chins.

Coffee Press Herald

Coffee shops are front and center on the front page of today’s Press Herald. Bard, Coffee by Design, Arabica, Maine Roasters Coffee and Mornings in Paris are all part of the article.

Jeremy Pelkey raised a few eyebrows when he opened a new specialty coffee shop in the Old Port last month.

Starting a business in the depths of an economic recession may appear to be an unwise financial move. Opening a coffee shop in the Old Port, where coffee sellers are already plentiful, might seem even riskier.

But five weeks after Bard Coffee opened across the street from a Starbucks, business is going well, Pelkey said.

“We have a ton of regulars,” he said. “We haven’t moved backward yet.”

Down East Interview with Evans

Down East has published an interview with a euphoric Rob Evans.

This was our third time. We knew the set up, and I prepared myself for the let down. I just said, ‘Let’s ride it out, and have a good time. We get to see friends and go out to eat and expect that it might not happen.’ We were ready for that this year. When you hear your name, you’re still not ready for that. It’s just, wow!…These things don’t happen a lot in life, so we really tried to slow down and take it in for the moment. It was great.

Congratulations for Evans have rolled in all day on the web: Rabelais, Travels with Hilary, Accidental Vegetables, Plating Up, Type A Diversions.

More on Evans James Beard Award

Here’s a report from the Press Herald on Rob Evans win in the Best Chef Northeast category at last night’s James Beard Awards.

“I think we’ve got a good scene happening in Portland,” Evans said, minutes after receiving the award – one of the most coveted in the food service industry. “It’s not only good for me, but it’s good for Portland. It solidifies Portland’s standing as a strong food town.”

Maine Cheese

The Portland Daily Sun ran an article this weekend about Maine-based cheese production and the Maine Cheese Guild.

The group provides education around cheesemaking and is trying to encourage new cheesemakers. “We aren’t making enough cheese to meet demand,” noted current guild president Eric Rector, “we still need more cheesemakers making high quality cheese to meet demand before we start marketing outside the state.”