Regards Opening Saturday

Regards (websiteinstagram) is scheduled to open this Saturday. It is located at 547 Congress Street in the space formerly occupied by Emilitsa. Regards is being launched by chef/owner Neil Zabriskie and co-owners Kimberly Lund and Cameron Lewin.

The menu includes options like a charcoal roasted beetroot with juniper, blackberry & kumquat and macadamia, and a dish of Spanish mackerel prepared with smoked cream emulsion, aji limo and tatsoi. Zabriskie envisions the menu as the melding of Southern Californian inspiration with local Maine ingredients. The beverage program will feature natural wines and agave-focused cocktails.

You can make reservations for Regards on Resy. Proof of vaccination is required to eat at Regards.

The Frying Dutchman Opens Monday

The Frying Dutchman (instagram) is scheduled to open on Monday. The new Dutch-style fry shop is located on the 2nd floor of the Public Market House.

Owners Leon Vuong and Cody Leland will be serving a menu (see above) of fries with house-made dipping sauces along with beignets, drinks and (eventually) secret menu items they’ll publicize via instagram stories. Customers that stop by on opening day will be treated to a free ice cream cannoli with their order.

This is a second business for Vuong and Leland who also launched a pop-up business called Seven Seas Food & Co (websiteinstagram) at the Fork Food Lab back this past summer.

The Frying Dutchman will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 – 4.

Smalls Opening Wednesday

Smalls (website, instagram) is scheduled to officially open this Wednesday. The cafe, market and wine bar is located 28 Brackett Street. Along with drip coffee,  espresso-based drinks, natural wine and light fare Smalls will also sell a wide variety of pantry items, food stuffs, art and wellness items. Smalls will be serving Variety Coffee and will be sourcing baked goods from Lion’s Share Bread.

Smalls is being launched by Samantha Knopf, Arryan Decatur and Karl Deuben. Smalls will be open 8 am to 6 pm.

 

The 2021 Year In Review: Pandemic, Food Trucks, Openings, Closings, Etc.

It’s been another busy and challenging year. Here’s an attempt to provide a high level overview of the 2021 year in food:

  • Covid-19 – the pandemic continued to have a big impact on all our lives. With surge in cases that bookended the year in Maine and a peak in the spring Covid-19 continued to have a ripple effect across the industry from outdoor dining in the depths of winter to supply chain issues to a challenging labor market. Vaccines improved conditions during the summer but the delta and omicron variants have driven up case numbers and hospitalizations resulting in customers becoming more cautious and less numerous as we head into winter. A small number of restaurants have implemented their own proof of vaccination policies and in late December a petition is began circulating among Portland restaurants that calls on the City Council to make that a city-wide approach for indoor dining. Despite all the headwinds, new food business projects continue to get launched—a sign that food entrepreneurs feel a sense  of hope and optimism about what’s to come in 2022.
  • Food Truck Boom – Food truck launches continued to surge in 2021. The Press Herald, Mainebiz, Maine Public, Bangor Daily News all wrote and discussed this trend. At one point this past summer there were almost 50 trucks on the streets or under development in Portland. Over the past decade, many businesses that started as food trucks have transitioned into brick and mortar businesses. It will be interesting to see if that’s also the case with this new set of mobile food entrepreneurs.
  • Knightville – There always seems to be some section of town which is a focal point for new restaurant development. In 2021 that new bright spot has been the Knightville neighborhood in South Portland. SoPo Seafood, BenReuben’s Knishery, Cafe Louis opened and Taco Trio moved to new digs. They all joined the Knightville veterans like Smaha’s Legion square Market, The Bridgeway, The Snow Squall, Verbena’s, Cia Coffee and relatively recent opening by Solo Cucina, Judy Gibson, and Foulmouthed Brewing. The former Taco Trio space is now vacant and there are other store fronts that may come on the market so we’re likely to see more growth here into 2022.
  • John Woods – John Woods passed away at the age of 57. Woods was a co-founder of Full Plates Full Potential and was tireless fighter in the battle against childhood hunger in Maine. His work touched the lives of so many people and made Maine a better place. In his memory Full Plates established the John T. Woods Innovation Fund.
  • Upcoming in 2022 – For the full list of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the current highlights:
    • Bread and Friends – a brick and mortar bakery/cafe being launched by a pair of couples who moved here from the Bay Area. In 2021 they started selling wholesale and at some local farmers’ markets. B&F will be located at 505 Fore Street and is slated to open in late summer.
    • Dila’s Kitchen – a Turkish eatery located on the second floor of the Public Market House. Watch for them to launch in early 2022.
    • Hi-Fidelity Beer – a low ABV brewery  and community space in East Bayside.
    • Lenora – a taco bar focusing on Mexican-inspired street food being launched by partners from from Lone Star Taco Bar and Deep Ellum in Boston. Watch for them to launch in early summer.
    • Twelve – located in the reconstructed Pattern Storehouse from the Portland Company Complex, Twelve will feature the culinary talents of Matt Ginn and Colin Wyatt.
    • TBD – Gin & Luck (the parent company of Death & Co.) is opening an as yet unnamed restaurant and bar in the Danforth Street location formerly occupied by Little Giant.
    • Wicked Fresco – a food truck that was originally slated to open this past summer. Wicked Fresco co-owners Camila Sohm and Eric Mendoza plan to tap into their Colombian and Salvadoran food cultures and Maine seasonal ingredients to serve a menu of sweet and savory salads as well as sides and hand-crafted sodas.
    • Zu Baker – a neighborhood boulangerie in the West End being launched by Barak Olins this spring.

There are also several other exciting new projects that are currently under wraps but will go public soon. Check back later this year for details.

Top 10 Articles

The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.

  1. Valentine’s Day List (February 6th)
  2. Vy Banh Mi food truck (January 20th)
  3. Stacks Pancake Company (April 19th)
  4. Lucky Pigeon gluten-free brewery (January 21st)
  5. Apres in East Bayside (April 19th)
  6. Luna and Salt Yard (March 11th)
  7. Jackrabbit Cafe (March 31st)
  8. BenReuben’s Knishery (March 11th)
  9. Wayside Tavern (April 22nd)
  10. Launch of Truckalico (March 14th)

Notable Events of 2021

Passings

For additional perspectives on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram A to Z annual round-up, and their restaurant critic’s list of the Best of 2021.

This is the 12th year running that Portland Food Map has published a year in review article. Take a walk down memory lane by checking out these past editions that covered 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Buzz Coffee Opening on Wednesday

Buzz Coffee (website, instagram) will be launching their new coffee shop on Wednesday. Buzz is located at 19 Exchange Street in the underground space formerly occupied by Blake Orchard.

Buzz Coffee will be serving coffee brewed with beans from Little Wolf with an expanded menu that includes drip coffee, cold brew, teas and the full range of espresso-based drinks.

The cafe will be open 8 am to 2 pm.

Buzz launched this past May as a coffee cart. The coffee cart will be back on the streets this spring.

Maine Coast Fishermen’s Stew

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has launched Maine Coast Fishermen’s Stew which features sustainably harvested monkfish caught by local small-boat fishermen. The stew is produced in collaboration with the Hurricane Soup company in Greene, Maine.

Proceeds from the stew will help support MCFA’s Fishermen Feeding Mainers program which purchases fish directly from fishermen and donates it to schools, food banks and community groups.

The stew is currently available at Fork Food Lab and at Free Range Fish and Lobster in Portland. Check the MCFA website for an updated list of retail locations.

Dirty Dove Opens Thursday

Dirty Dove (instagram) is scheduled to launch this Thursday when they’ll be open noon to 11 pm. The bar is located at 229 Congress in the space formerly occupied by Sip of Europe.

Dirty Dove is being launched by Joe Fournier from A&C Grocery with Owl & Whale owner and bartender Michael Gatlin.

The cocktail menu includes options such as the Electric Warrior (mezcal, select, vanilla,  lemon, hot pepper bitters) and Intangible Climax (green chartreuse, fernet branca, lime, apple basil honey, genepy des chambois). There’s also a wine list, beer and cider and an extended list of mocktails. The food menu has some carryovers from A&C like the Real Italian with new items like duck soup and a latke waffle with caviar and quark cheese.

Dirty Dove is scheduled to operate Thursday through Monday.

Ghee & Cinnamon Girl

The Portland food truck fleet continues to expand:

The Cinnamon Girl (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) food truck launched in mid-October. Owner Melissa Cott serves cinnamon buns and sticky pecan buns. As Cott explains on the Cinnamon Girl website,  her “mission is to provide recognition of and financial support to local Maine non-profit companies and organizations”.

Radhika Shah Patel and Sam Patel launched their fusion Indian street food pop-up Ghee (instagram) earlier this month. They’re regularly in operation at Apres in East Bayside on Fridays and Saturdays. The Patels are now working on a food truck which they hope to launch this spring.