Robot Food Delivery at USM

The Bangor Daily News has a report on a new robot food delivery service at the University of Southern Maine.

The bots receive orders via the app and an internal phone SIM card, then proceed to a campus food kiosk — which includes the Hungry Huskies food truck — where a Sodexo employee loads them up with vittles. The machines then trundle on to their destination using GPS mapping software to guide them. Stopping outside their destination building, folks who’ve ordered food then use the app to open the Kiwibot and retrieve their lunch.

Layalina Opens Friday

A new Middle Eastern restaurant called Layalina (instagram) is scheduled to open today at 10 am. Layalina is located at 275 Main Street in Biddeford a few doors down from Elements Coffee Shop.

Layalina will specialize in Middle Eastern food Arabian Gulf region. Owner Talal Alzefiri will be serving a menu that includes lentil soup, fatoush salad, falafel sandwich, chicken or beef shwarma sandwiches, grilled lamb sandwich, a mixed grill plate, stuffed grape leaves and hummus. You can pre-order takeout online. Alzefiri is also the owner of Alhadidi Market in Biddeford.

Layalina will be open Wednesday through Monday, 10 am to 9 pm.

Sacred Profane Opening Thursday

Sacred Profane Brewing (websiteinstagram), the Czech-style brewery and tankpub, is scheduled to open on Thursday. Sacred Profane is located at 50 Washington Street in Biddeford. Sacred Profane will be exclusively serving light and dark Czech-style lagers along with a menu of ‘classic beer hall fare’.

The menu will include dishes such as:

Cretons – pork/dark lager mustard/pickled red onion/saltine

Beef Tartare – top round/mayo/shallot/pickled mustard seed/toast

Salad – little gem/ranch/dorito dust/lardon

Poutine – French fries/curds/beef gravy

Schnitzel – pork loin steak/potato salad/dark lager beer mustard

The dessert menu will feature salty chocolate and basil chip flavors from Parlor Ice Cream.

Sacred Profane is being launched by partners Brienne Allen (head brewer), Michael Fava (former head brewer at Oxbow), and Erin Sheehan and Carson James (co-owners of Lorne Wine).

Sacred Profane will be open Thursdays 4 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 10 pm, Sundays noon to 6 pm, and Mondays 4 to 10 pm.

To read more about Sacred Profane check out the recent article in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Cabana Opens Friday

Cabana (website, instagram) the new Latin American cocktail bar, restaurant and social space will be opening this Friday. Cabana is located at 111 Middle Street in the space formerly occupied by Piccolo, and will be open 5 pm to 1 am, Friday through Tuesday.

The small plate menu will include dishes like ceviche, pork and beef albondigas, cubano sliders, maduros with house-made ice cream (bottom right), and a seasonal tostones plate.

The beverage program includes mocktails, wine, beer and specialty cocktails like the Valentina (rum, Irish whiskey, velvet falernum, guava, lime, oat froth) and the Perla (pisco, yerba mate, lime, hibiscus dust).

Owner  René Emilio Peña (top right) also operates La Bodega Latina on Congress Street. He moved to Portland 12 years ago from Miami where he worked in the fashion industry. His vision for Cabana has been to meld his passions for fashion, music, art and food into a fully immersive experience that makes use of the small space as part of its personality.


Keg and Kraken Now Open

Keg and Kraken (instagram) opened tonight. The new restaurant is located at at 653 Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Kushiya Benkay. Owners Jiraphon and Steve Richards along with Nisachuan Young are serving a menu of sushi, yakitori, and Thai dishes.

The Richards also own a laudromat in Biddeford. Nisachuan Young has experience in the hospitality business in Thailand where she was the assistant director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons Hotel in Samui as well as the manager of Luca Cafe in Maine.

Allagash Cider Launches Thursday

Allagash Brewing has begun producing cider which will be available at their Portland tasting room starting this Thursday.

The cider used a mix of Cortland, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Goldrush, Crimson Crisp, Northern Spy, Roxbury Russet, Hudson’s Golden Gem, and Esopus Spitzenburg and is fermented with a Pét-nat yeast strain and a yeast strain harvested from their spontaneously fermented Coolship beers and then aged in oak barrels. It weighs in at 6.1% ABV.

Allagash also produces a notable cider-adjacent product is the Allagash Coolship Pomme which initially launched in 2021.

For a complete list of Maine cider producers see our Guide to Maine Cider.

The Danforth Opens Friday

The highly anticipated cocktail bar and restaurant The Danforth (website, facebook, instagram) will be opening this Friday at 4 pm. It’s located at the corner of Danforth and Clark Streets in the West End.

The space has been completely redesigned:

Upon entering the space, guests will encounter a 12-seat bar, the vivid focal point of the room with cascading liquor steps, surrounded by deep-hued banquettes, tables, and nooks. By day, the space provides big, generous windows that allow Golden Hour to soak into every corner. At night, the shades are drawn tighter, and a layered design reveals itself – with soft, inviting furnishings and lived-in décor. The designers, AAmp Studio, seamlessly integrate rich colors, textures, and eased millwork throughout the space, resulting in a classic yet playful ambience that evokes a sense of discovery. For guests looking to dine al fresco, an intimate outdoor patio behind the 75-seat restaurant lounge will offer full service, as well, beginning in August.

The Danforth is the Portland outpost of Gin & Luck the parent company of Death & Co. which operates craft cocktail bars in New York, Los Angeles and Denver. Their most recent book Death & Co Welcome Home: A Cocktail Recipe Book was a 2022 Beard Award nominee.

In addition to the specialty cocktails (menu below) that Gin & Luck establishments are known for, the beverage program also includes draft/bottled cider and beer, and a mix of more traditional and contemporary wines by the glass and bottle. The head bartender is Carlo Caroscio. with the beer and wine selection put together by general manager Lucy Comaskey. Shown upper left is the Golden Slumbers cocktail which is prepared with apple and pear brandies, blanc vermouth, appertivo bianco and verjus.

The kitchen is led by Michael Boomhower who has put together a menu (see below) that “celebrates honest, nourishing food with a focus on regional product”. When you visit The Danforth do not miss out on the roasted chicken which is served with smoked butter pan sauce, corn, shishito peppers and chilis. Boomhower hales from Vermont. In Portland he has most recently worked at Central Provisions and Union.

The Danforth will be open 7 days a week, 4 pm – 1 am. They will begin taking reservations on Wednesday July 27th—until then all seats are available on a walk-in basis.


Twelve Now Open

The highly anticipated restaurant Twelve (website, Instagram) launched this past Thursday. Twelve is located at 115 Thames Street in the Portland Foreside development along the Eastern Promenade walking trail.

Here’s a look at a few of the dishes from their 4-course tasting menu shown here are the monkfish with trout roe in whey broth (upper left), the Tomato Tonato appetizer (center right) topped with confit egg yolk, and the farro sabayon appetizer (bottom left) served with English peas.

The kitchen at Twelve is headlined by Colin Wyatt (formerly with Eleven Madison Park) along with pastry chef Georgia Macon, chef de cuisine Hannah Ryder, and sous chefs John Alden Glover and Cameron Gokey. The general manager is Daniel Gorlas (formerly with Per Se) and the bar program is managed by Portland native Sylvi Roy. You can find bios on many of the key staff on the Twelve instagram account.

While reservations at Twelve are nearly all booked up for the next month or so, walk-in space is available at the bar and outdoor seating area. Twelve is currently open Tuesday through Saturday, 5 pm to 10 pm.

Buena Vista Now Open

A new Filipino market opened on Saturday in South Portland. Buena Vista (facebook) is located at 528 Main St next to Deb’s Sandwich Shop. According to their facebook page,

BVFFM offers a variety of delightful goodies that are product creations proudly made by Filipinos.
It is our humble way of bringing in the feeling of being at home in Pinas to possibly every home built by Filipinos living in America.