Evo X to Open Today

Evo X (instagram) the new waterfront food truck from Evo Kitchen + Bar is launching today at noon. The mobile kitchen is located adjacent the Eastern Prom walking trail near the former Portland Company Complex.

The concept for Evo X is of a waterfront seafood shack serving a menu of on-concept dishes and a few options (e.g. chickpea fries) carried over from the regular Evo menu.  There will be outdoor picnic table seating, counter service and drinks will be available from the Fore Points Marina bar which is also currently under development. The menu is a collaboration between chefs Matt Ginn and John Glover.

Burundi Star Coffee Has Opened

A new  coffee shop called Burundi Star Coffee (facebook) opened earlier this week at 261 Saint John Street. In addition to drip coffee and espresso-based drinks, Burundi Star also sells baked goods from Norimoto Bakery.

As the name suggests, Burundi Star will feature coffee from Burundi. Their first coffee, Burundi Mutambu is a medium roast with tasting notes of “green apple, honey, and toffee”.

Re-Opening List (Outdoor Dining Only)

Update: A combined outdoor/indoor dining list has been published. This page is no longer being kept up to date.

Restaurants can start re-opening in Cumberland County for outdoor dining only as of June 1st. Here’s a small but growing list of the restaurants have announced their outdoor dining opening day plans. Please let me know if you know of any that are missing and I’ll add them.

Even with restaurants starting to re-open, restaurants that have established take-out programs will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.


Governor Delays Restaurant Re-Opening for Indoor Dining

The governor has announced plans to delay the re-opening of restaurants for indoor dining in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties. The change will still allow for restaurants to begin outdoor dining in those counties as scheduled on June 1st.

The Mills Administration announced today that it is postponing the full reopening of restaurants for dine-in services in York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin counties. Restaurants in these counties were tentatively scheduled to reopen to dine-in services on June 1 (Stage 2) but are now restricted to reopening to outside dining service only beginning on that date in addition to continuing to provide take-away and delivery services. The decision to limit their reopening comes amidst an increase in hospitalizations as well as an increase in case counts in these three counties, both of which are metrics monitored by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC).

A new date for the restart of indoor dining hasn’t been set yet.

Update:As the Press Herald has reported, some restaurants are unhappy with the change in policy, but several restaurants are still moving forward with plans to re-open with just outdoor seating.

Fore Street, Street & Co, Scales Re-Opening June 8th

June 1st, the day restaurants in Portland can re-open for indoor dining, is fast approaching. Restaurants are individually making decisions about when they’ll feel ready to open their doors to customers, and customers are starting to think about when they’ll be ready to dine out.

Today Fore Street, Street & Co and Scales made the call to re-open starting on June 8th. All three restaurants will be starting service at 4 pm. Reservations are required and you can book a table by calling their reservation line (207-775-2717) or online via OpenTable:

Restaurant Re-openings in 12 Counties

Restaurants in  12 of 16 Maine counties could re-open yesterday. Both the Press Herald and Kennebec Journal caught up with restaurant owners to hear what their thoughts and plans were. Some definitely are re-opening and others are sticking with takeout for now.

Chef/proprietor Sara Jenkins didn’t have to think long and hard about whether or not to open Nina June’s dining room to customers on Monday. Her upscale Italian restaurant, which overlooks Rockport’s picturesque harbor, has been serving takeout all spring. Located in one of the 12 counties cleared by Gov. Janet Mills for dine-in service this week, it was eligible to open its doors.

“I am not reopening,” Jenkins said on Friday, having weighed the regulations and the risks and done the financial math. “No friggin way.”[PPH]

The Bangor Daily News checked in with some restaurant workers on their perspective.

In contrast, Landyn Severino is ready to return to work. The bar manager at Sportsman’s Kitchen and Keg, a bistro her family owns in Sebago, has been helping out with the restaurant’s limited takeout capacity, but is ready to return to full operations come June.

Maine Calling on Maine Public Radio dedicated yesterday’s 1-hour show to taking calls from industry staff and the general public about re-opening. There’s also additional report on WGME, and on WMTW.

Restaurant Customer Survey Results

Mainebiz has published the results of a restaurant customer survey conducted by Eat Drink Lucky which asked about their perspectives on eating at home and dining out post-reopening.

In terms of going back to dining in restaurants when restrictions are lifted, 23.2% said they would do so immediately, while 17% said they would wait two months or longer.

Eat Drink Lucky publisher Gillian Britt told Mainebiz that she was surprised by those findings, saying: “Considering how frightening COVID-19 is, we expected that number to be higher. We were encouraged to see that 23% said they would return immediately, and another 42% said they’ll be back within a month.”

Byers & Sons Long Island Bakehouse

Mainebiz reports that new owners have bought the Long Island Store on Long Island and have renamed it Byers & Sons Long Island Bakehouse.

The operation will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from May to October. It will offer breakfast and lunch, daily baked goods, such as hand-cut cinnamon donuts, muffins, scones, whoopee pies and cookies. Take-home meals such as lasagna, chicken pot pie, lobster pot pie and lobster quiche are also in the plan.

The plan is to use as many local suppliers as possible, to install a lobster tank and buy from island lobstermen, and to offer local beer, wine and produce, she said.

So What Happens Next?

The Bangor Daily News has taken a look at what’s in store as restaurants begin re-opening their doors for in-house dining over the next few weeks.

In a public health crisis, many restaurant owners are not seeking a path back to normalcy, but they are forging ways to evolve that may bring lasting change. They are wary of a spike of disease. They also fear that missing a vital summer season will destroy their livelihoods.