Eastern Prom Food Trucks

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

This summer will mark the second season that food trucks parking near the Eastern Promenade will be restricted to the Cutter Street parking lot, a move many owners at the time criticized and protested. This year, just seven food trucks will be permitted in the lot, down from the 14 that were permitted last year.

The Great Lost Bear

The beer bar and restaurant we know today as The Great Lost Bear was founded in 1979 by Dave Evans, Weslie Evans and Chip MacConnell. Now after more than four decades in business, ownership of The Bear is being handed off to the next generation. Longtime managers Michael Dickson, Mary Dickson and Andrew Pillsbury signed paperwork Monday and became the new owners of the iconic Forest Ave establishment.

The Great Lost Bear launched in the pre-craft beer era in Maine. Geary’s was Maine’s first modern craft brewery and it sold its first beer in 1986. Gritty’s opened in 1988, and Shipyard and Allagash didn’t launch until the middle of the next decade. A very early beer list at the Bear consisted of Heineken, Saint Pauli Girl, Molson, Bass, Ballantine, Michelob, Miller Lite, Guiness, Miller and Budwiser and few draft beers. Now clocking in at ~70 taps of craft beer, the original Great Lost Bear draft line consisted of just four taps.

As the local brewing industry has developed, The Great Lost Bear has been a witness and essential supporter of the Maine craft beer industry. Here are some thoughts from Allagash founder Rob Tod,

The folks at the Great Lost Bear were the first to take a chance and put my beer, Allagash White, on tap. And since then, they’ve been institutional in supporting and expanding the popularity of the beer scene here in Maine. I’m glad to see that I’ll be able to enjoy a pint at the Bear for many years to come.

Weslie and Dave Evans moved to Portland from North Conway where they worked in the restaurant industry—Dave as a cook and Weslie in the front of house. When they decided to launch their own business they moved to Portland and eventually found a location on Forest Ave in what had been the Bottoms Up rock club. At the time the back half of the building was home to Nappi’s Bakery. The Evans’s and MacConnell leased their half of the building for $800/month.

Dave Evans was the first chef of the restaurant and over the years the menu has grown from a four page list to the behemoth it is today. While a lot has changed over the years, there a few dishes—and Weslie Evans’ wonderful illustrations and lettering—that have been constants including the French Onion Gratinee, Spinach Salad, and the I’ve Never Haddock Like This.  The vegetarian section (Carnivore’s Beware!) made it’s appearance in 1981.

See below for a look at the cover art (cropped to fit) of GLB menus from the very early days through the version in use today. You’ll notice the first in the series uses the name The Grizzly Bear which was the original name of the business. It was changed, after a legal challenge from an pre-existing West coast operation called Grizzly Bear Pizza in 1981 to the new (and much better) moniker we use today.

Best of luck to the new owners as they steer The Great Lost Bear forward in the years to come.


Le Family, Local English Muffins

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about the Huong Le and her family, and

She would go on to have three more children in Portland (and now two granddaughters, as well); to help them get the education she never could; to work long hours in odd jobs to support her family; to open Huong’s, the city’s first sit-down Vietnamese restaurant, and run it for almost two decades; and to see two of her girls open Vietnamese eateries of their own. As her daughter Tuyet “Snow” Thi Le posted on Instagram earlier this spring, “She never stopped working to give her kids a better life the ‘American dream.’ ”

a survey of locally produced English muffins.

Tasting and re-tasting my way through some of the area’s best English muffins has been no hardship. As I’ve done so, I’ve spent time thinking about how differences in flavor, size and format imply a range of different uses. We’re living in a golden age of baking where there’s an English muffin for every occasion. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Rick’s Lobby Cafe

Ricky and Molly Wood, the owners of Rick’s Lobby Cafe, have announced their lease isn’t being renewed resulting in the closure of their Congress Street location sometime later this year. Next steps for the Wood’s and their business are TBD.

Building management gave notification that they are going to renovate our lobby cafe space. The investors, building owners and partners no longer want to include a cafe or food establishment in this building, post-renovation. As such, our lease is not being renewed. Thankfully, we have until the end of October until we need to be out.


Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram tells the story of 5 food trucks that are making the transition to becoming restaurants.

For a food truck owner, launching an actual restaurant is often a dream come true. But it’s also leveling up by an order of magnitude, requiring more money, time, staff and dedication.

Talk to the budding restaurateurs about their conversion projects and you find that while the path to a fixed location contains seemingly endless hurdles and serious financial investments, they feel the potential rewards are worth the stress.

Featured in the article are: George’s North Shore, Yolked Farm to Table, Rebel Cheesteaks, Curbside Comforts, and Quanto Basta.

The food truck-to-restaurant path is well established in Portland. 20+ food trucks have made the transition since 2012 when the city passed the food truck ordinance.

Review of The Danforth and Vegan Dining Advice

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of The Danforth.

The Danforth is buzzy for good reason. Opened last July by the owners of New York’s Death & Co. bar, this lounge/restaurant is decorated sumptuously, taking midcentury modern tropes and inflecting them with a hint of ’70s mod glam. It is an exceedingly appealing restaurant to stare at from a seat in the plush lounge. Drinks are a bit hit-or-miss, but the bar staff knows how to shake up a tasty nonalcoholic drink, so order a gingery Artificial Light and ask for a food menu. Here, The Danforth is on solid ground, thanks to executive chef Michael Boomhower’s menu of comforting “Americana” classics.

The paper also includes guidance to date-night worthy restaurants with vegan food options.

Restaurant Required to Replace Doors

Today’s Press Herald reports that Papi is being required to replace their front doors with ones more in keeping with the architectural history of the Old Port.

The doors simply don’t meet historic district standards, said Evan Schueckler, the city’s historic preservation program manager.

“They’re much more ornate and have a different shape than the doors that would have originally been on that building,” Schueckler said. “They’re sort of creating what we would call a false sense of history, where they’re trying to represent a design and historic character for that building that isn’t authentic to it.”