Leeward Opening Today

Jake and Raquel Stevens will be opening their new restaurant Leeward (websiteinstagram) today at 5 pm. The 54-seat restaurant and bar is located in a newly built out space at 85 Free Street.

The Italian-inspired menu has a strong focus on house-made pasta such as Taglierini Nero with Rhode Island squid, pork brodo, chili, breadcrumbs, or the Bucatini with cured pork belly, tomato, chili, pecorino. Appetizers range from Braised Leeks with smoked burrata and Night Moves bread to Bangs Island mussels prepared with saffron cream, fennel and herbsaint. Desserts are the creation of pastry chef Kate Fisher Hamm.

Before moving to Portland in 2018 the Stevens lived and worked in restaurants on the West Coast where Jake Stevens was the former Chef de Cuisine at Beast in Portland, Oregon.

A & C Grocery Opening in West End Today

A & C Grocery is opening a second location today at 81 Clark Street. Their hours on opening day will be noon to 4 pm or sellout, which ever comes first.

The West End Location will launch serving their Famous Original “Real” Italian, pastrami on rye and “a few items exclusive to the the West End location”. The primary focus of the West End A & C will be “deli style sandwiches and regional favorites” and they eventually plan to open earlier in the morning, serving coffee and breakfast sandwiches.

Fournier shared that “Our mission, always, is to serve the community we’re in. So A&C West will evolve and adapt to the needs of the neighborhood just like we have done on Munjoy Hill.”

The opening of the West End location will not be resulting in any changes at the Washington Ave A & C. The kitchen on Washington Ave will be producing the cured and smoked meats as well as pickles and homemade sauces for both locations.

A&C West initially be open 11 am to 4 pm, Monday thru Saturday.

Opening Season Starts Early

It looks like Opening Season may be starting early this year:

  • A new vegan restaurant in Biddeford called  Robin’s Table (websitefacebookinstagram) will be opening Monday March 2nd at 7:30 am. Robin’s Table with serve breakfast and lunch  as well as offer cooking classes to “teach the ‘hows and whys’ of vegan transitioning” and provide a meeting space for community events. Owner Robin Adams plans to serve familiar, home style dishes and baked goods that just happen to be vegan.
  • Mr. Tuna (website, instagram) will re-open their sushi bar in the Public Market House on Tuesday March 3rd at 11:30 am. The new Mr. Tuna will feature 16 seats (up from 6) and an expanded menu including sashimi and nigiri flights and a mini-omakase option.
  • Judy Gibson (website, instagram) a new restaurant in South Portland serving a menu of contemporary American cuisine will be opening on Wednesday March 4th at 5 pm.
  • Solo Cucina Market (website, facebook, instagram) is in the final stages of construction and the owners are aiming to open in mid-March. The market is a collaboration between the owners of The Farm Stand in South Portland and Solo Italiano. The market will incorporate up to 10 seats and a small bar featuring bakery and espresso drinks. Solo Cucina will sell prepared food to go in addition to the meats, dairy, wine, beer and produce that The Farm Stand has become known for.
  • Leeward (websiteinstagram) is aiming to open by mid-March. Leeward is being launched by Jake and Raquel Stevens. The Stevens are planning a 50+ seat restaurant with a full bar and wine program that’s focused on minimal intervention wines. Handmade pasta will be the primary focus of the menu but it will also include vegetable, meat and seafood based entrees. It’s located at 85 Free Street.
  • Via Vecchia (instagramfacebookwebsite) plans to launch in late March. The restaurant will be located in the former Vignola/Cinque Terre building and will be a “modern take on a European bistro serving small plates Italian food, classic cocktails, and Italian wines” with a focus on the bar and cocktail program. It’s’ being opened by Joshua Miranda who owns Blyth & Burrows.
  • Ramona’s (instagram), the new Philly-inspired breakfast and lunch hoagie shop being launched by Chad Conley and Josh Sobel is aiming to open during the last week of March.
  • Owl & Whale (websitefacebookinstagram) has been making good progress on the retail shop they have under construction at 158 Saint John Street and have shared that they plan to open on May 1st.

Many other restaurants, brewers, bakers, coffee shops, etc are still under construction—here’s the full list.

Dos Naciones Has Opened

A new Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant called Dos Naciones (facebook) opened on Saturday. Dos Naciones is located at 649 Congress Street in the location formally occupied by Local Sprouts.

Dos Naciones serves breakfast, lunch and dinner opening at 7 am. The menu includes breakfast specials like huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos. The lunch and dinner options include fried whole fish, grilled chicken, pupusas, tamales, burritos, and much more.

Ishi Ishi Opens Friday

Ishi Ishi Ramen (instagram) is scheduled to open for business on Friday, 11 am to 9 pm. The 9-seat ramen bar is located on Washington Ave in The Black Box space that became available when The Cheese Shop moved to larger quarters. Ishi Ishi is looking to fill the gap in the East End line-up of restaurants left when Ramen Suzukiya closed in 2018.

Owners Matthew De Fio and Andrew Doolittle are planning for the shop to be a cellphone-free zone.

De Fio spent 3 years working at Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin Texas, and has worked in Maine at Enoteca Athena and Vessel and Vine in Brunswick as well as operated his own fresh pasta enterprise Il Dono. Doolittle is the owner of Pot and Pan Kitchen.

Magnus on Water Opens Saturday

Magnus on Water (websitefacebookinstagramtwitter) a new cocktail bar and restaurant in Biddeford will open Saturday at 5 pm serving cocktails, wine, beer and a menu including dishes like masa hush puppies with crab, barbacoa tacos, and co-owner Carmen Harris’ family recipe for chocolate cake.

Magnus is headlined by a trio of former Elda staff: bartender Brian Catapang, GM Brittany Saliwanchik, and sous chef Ryan Nielsen in partnership with Julia Russell and Carmen Harris.

The Magnus is located at 12 Water Street just over the bridge from Saco. It is named for Albertus Magnus, a 13th Century alchemist and Catholic saint, thought of as one of the “greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages”.

Their regular schedule will be 5 to 11 pm on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and 5 to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

207 Bar & Restaurant Opens Today

207 Bar & Restaurant (facebook, instagram) is scheduled to open today at 4 pm. It is located at 337 Cumberland Ave in the building formerly occupied by Maria’s.

207 is being launched by Antoine Bikamba along with business partners Damas Rugaba, Aime Nijimbere, and Aline Bucyana.  It will serve world cuisine with influences from Africa and the Caribbean. For an idea of what that will include you can take a look at the draft menu that was supplied with their liquor license application back in November.