A number of businesses are celebrating major decade anniversaries this year:
Legion Square Market was founded in 1939 by John Smaha.
Botto’s Bakery, Micucci’s Grocery and the Miss Portland Diner all opened fur business in 1949. Joseph Botto founded the bakery and sold it to Everett Mathews in 1982. Micucci’s Grocery was founded by Leo and Iris Micucci and is now run by their son Rick and his wife Anna. The Miss Portland was originally located at 175 Forest Ave.
Harbor Fish Market, The Lobster Shack and Lib’s Dairy Treats all go their start half a century ago.
Dave and Weslie Evans and Chip MacConnell opened a bar originally known as The Grizzly Bear. They changed the name to The Great Lost Bear in 1981 after a legal challenge from an West Coast business called Grizzly Bear Pizza.
1989 was a banner year for long lived openings. Ken Ng opened Panda Garden, Dana Street opened Street & Company, Susan Eklund opened Susan’s Fish & Chips, and Hi Bombay!, Brea Lu Cafe, Marcy’s, the Armory Lounge, and Parker’s all opened.
No doubt there were many openings in 1999 but I don’t have the data immediately at hand to detail them out at this time. I had just moved to Portland in 1998 and do clearly remember the opening of Local 188 in 1999.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in January 2009:
- Portland Food Map launched a new homepage which incorporated the progenitor of the news blog you’re reading today.
- Paciarino held their grand opening, and Papaya King opened on Dana Street.
- Portland Police asked the City Council to deny the liquor license renewal for the Cactus Club.
- Little Lad’s Bakery & Cafe worked with Rabbi Akiva Herzfeld from Congreation Shaarey Tphiloh to bring their operation in alignment with kosher food preparation standards.
Discover Maine magazine has published an article on the history of Pat’s Meat Market.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in December 2008:
- In their list of 2009 food trends Epicurious declared “Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon). Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check, and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo’s, and Fore Street to start.”
- In response Portland Oregon blogger Patrick Alan Coleman wrote “I’m challenging Portland, Maine, to a fight. If they want our gold leaf coated, slightly salted, smoked chocolate crown, then they’re going to have to come over here and take it! I dare ’em!”
- Portland clocked in at #7 on a list of beer towns with 1 brewery for every 15,706 people. I imagine the ratio is a lot smaller now in 2018.
- Mims Brasserie and The Kitchen both closed.
- After a very long time under construction, Corey Jones opened Loco Pollo. It was located in the space currently occupied by Terlingua.
- Maine Roasters Coffee and Freaky Bean Coffee Co., which merged their operations in 2007, went their separate ways.
- The Phoenix named Emilitsa the Best New Restaurant of 2008.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in November 2008:
- Olive Cafe took over the space formerly occupied by Mike Keon’s restaurant One-Eyed Jack on Commercial Street.
- Steve Corry was quoted in an article for Single Edition, “The way we see it is that if someone is willing to come in alone to dine with us then he/she has an elevated level of expectation that we will strive to exceed.”
- Hugo’s held the 8th Annual Potato Dinner, “7-course meal featuring Maine grown potatoes and other root vegetables”
- Dean’s Sweets opened at the original location on Middle Street on November 22nd.
- The Maine episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern aired.
- Both Binga’s Wingas and Al-Mustaqim Halal Market were damaged by a three-alarm blaze in Bramhall Square. The Binga’s building was replaced by Peloton Labs, but the Al-Mustaqim space has just undergone considerable renovation and is now in 2018 available for lease.
- A campaign called Take Back the Tap was having some success in getting restaurants to stop serving bottled water.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in September and October 2008:
- The Forage Kill Grow Deathmatch took place.
- The Portland City Council voted to “ban smoking in outdoor dining areas before 10 p.m.”
- Michael Bauer visited Portland writing that “Portland is . . . about a tenth of the size of San Francisco, yet in terms of food, it’s every bit as sophisticated”.
- Chef Lee Skawinski from Cinque Terre/Vignola served a dinner at The James Beard House.
- Big Mama’s Diner closed.
- A bicycle food delivery service called Veloport launched.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in July/August 2008:
- Food historian Sandy Oliver wrote an article about Nabisco’s discontinuation of Crown Pilot Crackers for Working Waterfront.
- Portland bartender John Myers was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal about a competition held at the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention. Myers was one of six contestants who were challenged to come up with an original cocktail that had to include ginger marmalade and either Grand Marnier or Navan vanilla liqueur. The Journal called Myers’ combination of smoky single-malt Scotch, vanilla liqueur, bitters, and a spoonful of the marmalade an “essay in simplicity”.
- The Great Lost Bear expanded their bar to include a set of taps dedicated just to Allagash.
Down East tells the story of Allagash Brewing and Rob Tod. The article is an assemblage of interviews with Tod, former and current employees, customers and leaders in the industry.
Top-secret ingredients and MacGyvered dairy equipment. Old world wisdom and cutting-edge tech. Hollywood celebrity and cult cachet. It’s all part of the long, heady history of the curious beer that put Maine suds on the map.
Here’s a look at the top stories from a decade ago in June 2008:
- The Wine Flight 5k training runs started up. These were a series of light runs that were “training” people for the 5k which took place in October 2008.
- Demolition of The Village Cafe began. The Village Cafe was run by the Reali from 1936 until 2007. The land it was on is now occupied by condos.
- PETA put out a press release claiming they were going to build a lobster empathy center in the Somerset County Jail, “Visitors to the center could voluntarily have their fingers rubber-banded together, and then they could walk into a dirty tank where they would be pressed up against other visitors to simulate conditions for lobsters in supermarket tanks.”
- Andrew Zimmern was in town filming segments with Rob Evans, Sam Hayward, Rick Tibbets, Masa Miyake, the Deathmatch crew, and Rabelais for his show Bizarre Foods.
- Prost! International Tap House opened.
- The Clown closed their wine shop on Middle Street.
- Mark’s Hot Dogs, celebrated their 25th anniversary.
Here’s a look at the top stories from May 2008:
- John and Brendan Ready won the National Young Entrepreneurs of the Year award from the Small Business Administration.
- Local 188 bartender John Myers won the B&B 70th Anniversary Master Mixologist Showcase for his cocktail The Touchable.
- Caiola’s started serving brunch.
- Captain Mowatt’s won the People’s Choice award at the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival.
- The Merry Table opened on Wharf Street.
- The Phoenix reviewed Gaucho’s Churrascaria “What would you pay to have a handsome young man wearing a sash around his hips anticipate your every need for about an hour? At Gauchos Churrascaria it goes for $30, and it comes with meat. Drinks are extra. A lot extra, actually. And drinks help.”
- Novare Res opened.
- Nabisco ceased production of the Crown Pilot crackers.
- The Grill Room opened in the space formerly occupied by Natasha’s.