Maine Food & Dining News

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know on what’s going on:

  • The King Ro Market in Round Pond is under new ownership and expected to reopen before the end of the year. The new owner Steve Brackett also plans to eventually install a bar in the dining area for a pub and open a pub within the market.
  • Mason’s Brewing is laying the groundwork to open a distillery in Bangor. The Bangor Daily News reports that Mason’s is “likely start with gin and ready-to-drink gin-based canned beverages, then branch into vodka and moonshine by the end of 2024.”
  • Gail Ciampa from The Providence Journal recently visited Warren for the Absolem Cider dinner at Black Goat Test Kitchen  (websitefacebookinstagram). In her report Ciampa praises chef Ronspieres for the way he “he layers his dishes with a variety of flavors and textures that all combine to create the happiest party on your palate” and provides a play-by-play of the 5-course dinner.
  • The Blair Hill Inn in Greenville has hired chef Max Snyder to helm the kitchen at their in-house restaurant Slate. Snyder is moving to Maine from his hometown of Austin, Texas where he had launched Pitchfork Pretty in 2017. Prior to Austin, Snyder spent a “decade in New York and San Francisco working under chefs Daniel Patterson at Coi, Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, and Joshua Skenes at Saison.” Slate will be reopening on December 7th, Thursday through Sunday from 4 – 8 pm.

The Abbey in Brunswick

A new “small-town coffee shop meets experimental cocktail bar” called The Abbey (website, instagram) is under construction in Brunswick. The Abbey will be located at 87 Maine Street in the space formerly occupied by the Little Dog Coffee Shop.

During the day, owners Connor Scott and Lainey Catalino will be serving Bard Coffee, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods including options sourced from their near neighbors Ritual Bakehouse and Patisserie. In the evening The Abbey will transition into a cocktail bar and small plate restaurant. The sample menu on their website includes dishes like Fennel Buried in Cream and Mussels al Forno. Catalino and Scott want the cocktails to emphasize sustainable and local ingredients. Watch for the menu to include house-tuned twists on classic cocktails.

Across the board The Abbey will be trying to meet customers where they are but also provide openings for them to try new food and drink that are a fit for their tastes. Scott and Catalino plan to refresh the menu often.

The owners are excited be a part of the Brunswick restaurant scene and contribute to it’s evolution. Over the last few years Brunswick has seen the opening of Zao Ze Cafe, the transition of Frontier into Nomad, the launch of Dutchman’s and Ritual Bakehouse, Cabelleras opening within Vessel & Vine, the Bizibuns food truck arriving on the Main Street Mall and the reopening of Tao Yuan…just to name a few highlights.

Catalino and Scott began working on the business plan and concept for The Abbey early in 2023 and plan  to open their 65-seat restaurant in December. Follow them on instagram to stay up to date on their developments towards an opening day.

Maine Food & Dining News

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know on what’s going on:

  • Reverie Coffee (instagram) has leased 117 Main Street (white brick building shown above) in Brunswick where owner Hannah Josselyn plans to evolve her coffee food truck into a brick and mortar coffee shop. The 500 sq ft space will seat ~15 with table seating as well as a couch area and a kid/family-friendly section as well. Reveries serves coffee made with beans from Time & Tide in Biddeford. They’ll continue to serve baked goods from Hankering Pie Company, and in the summer Josselyn plans to sell breakfast tacos produced by her husband’s BBQ food truck business, Gridnstone BBQ. Josselyn and shop manager Kylie Nikas hope to have Reverie 2.0 open by the end of January.
  • The Friar’s Brewhouse & Tap Room in Bucksport has closed after the death of one of the founders, Brother Donald Paul Martel.
  • The Blue Ox Malthouse is tripling the capacity of its facility in Lisbon. The business produce floor-malted grain for the brewing and distilling industry.

4½ Stars for The Alna Store

The Maine Sunday Telegram has published a review of The Alna Store.  Restaurant critic Andrew Ross gave the Midcoast restaurant a rating of 4½ which places it midway on the Sunday Telegram scale between excellent and extraordinary.

Eventually, I found my way to Lincoln County and the admittedly remote Alna Store, and I’m delighted I did. Here, owners Jasper Ludwig and Brian Haskins have reimagined a tumbledown convenience store as an eclectic, upscale New American restaurant that centers sustainability and seasonality. Chef Devin Dearden and pastry chef Kristen LaMontagne bring impressive skill and technique to the restaurant’s ever-changing menu concept, without ever losing sight of the humble space’s roots and locale. Custardy Basque cheesecake with apple-butter caramel, house-extruded ditalini pasta with pepitas and Romanesco cauliflower, and a peerless roasted pork belly dish probably won’t be on offer when you go, but don’t let that put you off from a little drive.

The Alna Store opened on December 22, 2022. They’re located in the small Midcoast town of Alna which is just a little bit inland from Wiscasset.

Photos: Customers at The Alna Store on the opening night, a dish of hamachi sashimi from earlier this year.

Maine Food & Dining News

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know on what’s going on:

  • Miller’s Market (websiteinstagram) is opening on Friday November 3rd, noon to 8 pm. They’re in Gorham center at 29 School Street. Owner Sam Smith plans to have on tap “select cuts of beef, pork and poultry in the cases, some of our grab-n-go dinners, and our sandwich and salad menu for take out or dine in” on Friday. Smith plans to add breakfast hours the following week.
  • A new owner has taken over the Eat More Cheese market in Belfast and renamed it as Salvatore & Roscia (website, instagram). Owner Maura Salvatore has built on the market’s existing strengths in wine and cheese retail to include homewares and charcuterie boards with grab and go sandwiches and salads in the cards for early 2024. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 am – 5:30 pm.
  • The team from Blue Spoon is opening their Rockport restaurant on November 9th. Check their website for the menu; reservations are available on OpenTable. They’ll be open nightly, 5 – 9 pm.
  •  Mainebiz reports the Pizza by Michael in Saco is under new ownership.
  • The Kennebec Journal reports that the “bagel craze” is spreading through central Maine. The article features Sand Hill Bagel Company and Sunrise Bagels with a mention of Bagel Mainea.
  • The Lincoln County News has published an article about Jonathan Turcotte and Kelsey Grossmann and their new Wiscasset cafe Yonder.
  • Mr. Tuna is working with Maiz to operate a pocket outpost of their business out of Maiz’s Brunswick location. Maiz in Brunswick is located at 11 Pleasant Street near Vessel and Vine.
  • As reported on Monday, South Portland’s Cafe Louis is opening a second location in Camden. Cafe Louis is joining Maiz, Solo Italiano, and the owners of the former Ruby’s West End in seeing opportunity to expand in the Midcoast.

Cafe Louis Expands to Camden

South Portland-based Cafe Louis (website, facebook, instagram) has purchased the former Wolf Peach building in Camden where owner Evan Richardson plan to open a second location.

The new restaurant will be nicknamed Costa Media and will be offering a very similar menu to what Richardson and team serve in South Portland. He hopes to have Costa Media (instagram) open by the end of December.

Richardson shared he’s always enjoyed his time visiting the Midcoast and so has been watching for opportunities to open a restaurant there for sometime. He sees parallels between the communities in South Portland and Camden, and hopes diners there will also find the Cafe Louis menu and hospitality a good fit for what they have an appetite for.

Several of the the kitchen and front of house staff from Wolf Peach will be joining the Costa Media staff including the bar manager Austin Boyle. The South Portland Cafe Louis sous chef Orchard White is from Camden will also be lending a hand. As part of the growth of the team, Khristian Martinez will be taking over as chef de cuisine at the South Portland location.

Richardson launched a food truck (in 2017) and then restaurant (in 2018) on Exchange Street called Eaux. Eaux is currently on sabbatical while Richardson locates a new location for it. The South Portland Cafe Louis opened on July 1, 2021.

Maine Food & Dining News

Here are some updates from around the state:

  • Ancho Honey owner Malcolm Bedell has announced he’s leased a space in Thomaston where he plans to open Honey’s. The menu at Honey’s (website, instagram) will feature the fried chicken sandwiches that Ancho Honey has become a destination for. It will be located at 153 New County Road in the space formerly occupied by China Fortune. Bedell has listed Honey’s on MainVest where people can support the launch of the restaurant. Ancho Honey is located in Tenants Harbor. Bedell formerly operated the ‘Wich, Please food truck in Rockland.
  • Mainebiz has published a report on Main Street Provisions which recently opened in Waterville.
  • A new market called Poland Provisions (website, facebook, instagram) opened in late September. Owners Charles and Sheila Foley and their staff operate a cafe and general store Tuesday through Saturday. The business is located at 120 Maine Street.
  • Chef Jimmy Leftis began a chef residency program at Table Bar in Gardiner back in May. His Friday and Saturday night dinners have been so well received that the summer experiment will now be a permanent element at Table Bar. Starting in November you’ll find Leftis at the now 31-seat Table Bar Wednesday through Saturday nights.
  • A new wine bar called Good Wine Bar is under construction in Saco.
  • The Prentice Hospitality Group is taking over operation of The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth.

Maine Food & Dining News

Here are some recent food and dining highlights from around the state:

  • The Morning Sentinel reports that Main Street Skowhegan is working on a $1M+ project to launch a shared commercial kitchen and food hall in downtown Skowhegan.
  • A new business called Main Street Provisions (instagram) recently opened in Waterville. The shops stock beer, wine, and specialty foods sourced from local/regional producers.
  • Miller’s Market (website, instagram) is under construction at 29 School Street in Gorham center. Miller’s will be a butcher and seafood shop, sandwich shop and caterer. Owner Sam Smith hopes to be open on November 1st.
  • A coffee shop specializing in nitro cold brew coffee called Swell (instagram) is under construction in Saco (right photo). The shop will be located at 200 Main Street. In addition to nitro cold brew, Swell will serve teas and seasonal drinks as well as a small selection of baked goods. They will be sourcing their beans from Carrabassett Coffee Company. Swell is being launched by Kelsey and Peter Vacca along with business partners Chrissy and Taylor Archambault.
  • The Midcoast pop-up kitchen Albatross (instagram) has leased the former Gypsy Rose in Camden (left photo) where owners Maggie and Jeffrey Harris plan to transform their business into a brick and mortar restaurant. Albatross plans to serve a menu of globally-inspired small plates plus some sandwiches.

Tao Yuan Has Re-Opened

Tao Yuan (website, facebook, instagram) in Brunswick quietly re-opened Thursday night. It’s been closed since 2020. Tao Yuan will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 – 9 pm. Reservations can be made on the Tao Yuan website.

The menu (see below) features a variety of small plates and dim sum—the restaurant recommends 3-4 dishes from the main menu per person. Shown below are the Celery Cloud Ear Salad (top left), Coho Salmon Tataki (top right), Soy Marinated Lamb Loin (middle right), and from the dessert menu a banana and chocolate dessert (middle left) prepared with miso, sesame and dulce de leche.

The Tao Yuan website speaks to the overall approach guiding their menu,

The cuisine of Tao Yuan is guided by fresh ingredients that are available locally, infused with Asian flavors and a mixture of modern cooking techniques, to produce food that is unique and delicious.  Flavors vary from upscale versions of Asian street food, to some of the chef’s more sophisticated signature dishes. All dishes are served on small plates to allow each diner to sample several courses in a single meal.

Tao Yuan was founded by Cara Stadler and her mother Cecile in 2012. Chef Leon Vuong has joined the Stadlers in the re-launch of Tao Yuan.

Cara Stadler is a James Beard Awards nominee and was a 2014 Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef honoree. After opening Tao Yuan the Stadlers launched Bao Bao in 2014, and the now closed Lio in 2018 (both in Portland) and Zao Ze Cafe in Brunswick in 2020. Their aquaponics greenhouse (bottom left photo) is located in Brunswick immediately behind Tao Yuan.

 

Maine Food & Dining News

Here are some recent food and dining highlights from around the state:

  • Travel and Leisure recently declared the Blue Hill peninsulaOne of the Best Places to Eat in the U.S. Right Now“. The article mentions Aragosta, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Tinder Hearth, Fin & Fern, Stonington Ice Cream Company, 44 North, Milkweed & Monarch, El El Frijoles, Barncastle, and more.
  • The September issue of Down East includes an article about The Rooting Pig in Bristol.
  • The Bangor Daily News reports that restaurateurs from Bar Harbor have bought the Stonington building that originally housed Aragosta with plans to open a new establishment called 27 Fathoms Waterfront Grille.