A group of donors is offering to match all donations made to Cooking for Community between now and October 9th up to a total of $75,000. This 1:1 match has the potential to raise $150k for the important work Cooking for Community does supporting restaurants and feeding the hungry.
Cooking for Community (website, facebook, instagram) was founded in Portland just this past April. As explained in this Christian Science Monitor article, donations to the organization are used to pay Maine restaurant to make meals which local social service organization distribute to people in need.
Make a Donation today.
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a look at the ticket-based reservation model that some restaurants in Maine are starting to use,
“Everything else is changing, so why not?” Lyle Aker, co-owner of Portland’s soon-to-open Broken Arrow, said. “Our intent was to open as a regular full-service restaurant. But now to control costs, the model of Next seems like kind of a good idea.”
“Tickets give us the most control over timing so we can get service right and protect the customers as well when they’re not being forced to wait outside or at the bar,” added co-owner Holly Aker.
and details on three new options for roast beef sandwiches in Portland (George’s, Haltead’s, Roll Call),
Chef Michael Sindoni of Roll Call initially considered focusing on a North Shore sandwich, but he felt the sauces and cheese were “hiding the beef.” Add to that the fact that he didn’t have an emotional connection to the sandwich the way that North Shore fans do, and “it just didn’t do it for me.” George’s came on the scene at about the same time. That was “complete coincidence,” Sindoni said, “but we were probably thinking the same thing at the same time – that no one’s really doing a great roast beef sandwich here.”
Grab a cup of coffee and get caught up on some recent food writing about the Portland/Maine food scene:
The Press Herald reports on the concerns of tasting room operators as cooler the seasons change.
When the state adopted new rules for businesses to reopen this summer, tasting room operations were lumped in with bars, because their licenses are the same, and told they could only operate outdoors. But Bodine and others are worried about the future of tasting rooms if the rules aren’t changed before cold weather hits in another month or two.
Kate and Steve Shaffer, co-owners of Black Dinah Chocolate, have announced the new name for their Westbrook-based business.
Ragged Coast Chocolates (website) “pays homage to our hardy island roots while also celebrating Maine’s unique beauty and traditions which we work hard to reflect in our handmade chocolates,” shared Kate Shaffer in a release issued this morning.
Ms. Shaffer announced the intent to change the company’s name to their newsletter subscribers and in a public statement on the their social media pages on June 9th. In the statement, Shaffer explained that the timing was in response to and support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the nationwide protests for racial justice. The Shaffers named the company for Black Dinah Mountain on the island of Isle au Haut, Maine. However, the name “Black Dinah” can also refer to a generic term for Black female slaves. There is no recorded history as to why the Isle au Haut landmark bears the name Black Dinah (also spelled Black Dina on some maps).
In a public statement on her social media pages on June 19th, Shaffer wrote, “I have always imagined that if Black Dinah Mountain was named for an actual person or persons, she was strong and powerful and wise. But I’m beginning to understand that it is not my place, nor the place of my brand – perceived or actual – to use her name…for profit or to push my own unrelated agenda.”
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Tin Pan Bakery owner Elise Richter,
Like many other small, independent business people in this pandemic year, Elise Richer is tired.
She has been forced to rethink many aspects of her homey Tin Pan Bakery in the Nasons Corner neighborhood of Portland, from its packaging and pricing, retail sales and recipes to its menu options and online ordering system.
and an article about managing front of house customer relations during a pandemic.
Four years later, owners and managers across Maine find themselves getting involved in their businesses in a more visible way. They still pitch in behind the scenes, but these days, their skills (and authority) are being marshaled to help waitstaff, bartenders, bussers and hosts (collectively called the “front of house”) navigate the choppy waters of pandemic-era customer service.
The Food & Dining section in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram talks with business owners about the current state of the restaurant industry, and explores the need for federal and state programs to help them survive.
In Maine, especially in Greater Portland, small, independent restaurants are a huge part of both the economy and culture, drawing visitors from all over the country who come here to explore the city’s food scene, named the best in the nation in 2018 by Bon Appetit. Many of these restaurants, often owned by the chef, have suffered enormously during the pandemic, and say that efforts to help them so far have not been enough. The state shut down restaurants in mid-March and allowed them to reopen in June, initially only to outdoor dining in Maine’s more populated counties, then two weeks later to indoor dining with requirements for capacity, spacing, mask-wearing and sanitization – measures that cost money to implement and reduced the number of customers that could be served, on top of those unwilling to dine out because of the health risks.
Restaurant critic Andrew Ross tries to identify “what made Drifters Wife and Piccolo so special“.
Both restaurants shut their doors permanently last month – Portland’s first high-profile casualties of the novel coronavirus pandemic. But it’s only now, after weeks of thinking about their absence, that I’ve started to see why the two restaurants were so important, and how their example can become a model for whatever sprouts from the fallow of the city’s locked-down food scene.
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram include a look back at the effect the 1975 World Vegetarian Congress had on the development of meat-free eating in Maine (where the conference was held) and the US.
Exactly 45 years ago today, on Aug. 16, 1975, the World Vegetarian Congress opened at the University of Maine in Orono. Historians have called the two-week long event “the most important gathering of vegetarians in the United States of the 20th century.” The significance of the 1975 congress comes from the publicity it generated for meat-free eating, the alliances it forged between vegetarian activists, and the organizations its attendees went on to create.
and an article that looks at how the pandemic is/should impact how we tip staff in the hospitality industry.
Mainers may be known for their Yankee thrift, but when someone is in trouble they have no problem opening their wallets wide. Just look at how they’re tipping during a pandemic that has put restaurant servers’ livelihoods – and very lives – at stake.
Local restaurants report that diners generally have been tipping more generously, especially on takeout at the start of the pandemic.
Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article on options for shaved ice treats available this summer.
When the temperature rises in Maine, Mainers typically turn to ice cream for a little cold comfort. This unusually sweaty summer, though, when so many people are working from home without air conditioning, calls for bigger ammunition to fight the heat and humidity – icy treats such as shave ice, snoballs, and boozy ice pops.
Featured in the article are: Belfast Shaved Ice, Brrrr! Harbor, Haole Ice, Hawaiian Jim’s, Little Easy Snoballs, Snowology 207, and Vena’s.
The Food & Dining section today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes articles on: