Thistle & Grouse Opens Friday

Thistle & Grouse (website, facebook, instagram) will open Friday at 4 pm. The restaurant is located at 10 Cotton Street. The newly renovated space features a 2-story dining room with a bar on the first floor.

The menu (see below) includes raw bar options, cheese and charcuterie boards as well as small plates like a Maplebrook Farm Burrata plated with apple, celery and walnuts and entrees like the Seafood Cassoulet and Sunday Roast Prime Rib.

Thistle & Grouse serves custom cocktails and mocktails, wines by the glass, beers, and ciders (Norumbega and Freedom’s Edge). The bar is stocked with a wide selection of spirits including 14 bourbons, 10 ryes, 19 Scotches as well as whiskeys from Ireland and Japan.

The restaurant is being launched by Kimberly Kraus and chef Bobby Will. Will has worked at restaurants run by well known chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Ken Oringer, and Jamie Bissonette. He was the executive chef at Saltaire Oyster Bar in Port Chester when the New York Times gave it a rating of Excellent in 2015. Also on the team are general manager Julia Mcinnis and bar manager Corey Schallek. All four worked together at Kraus’ and Will’s former restaurant Salt and Steel in Bar Harbor.

Thistle & Grouse will be open Tuesday through Saturday starting at 4 pm with late night hours on the weekends and happy hour each day they’re open, 4 – 5 pm. Reservations are available on

Orange Bike Brewing Opens Friday

Orange Bike Brewing (websitefacebookinstagram) will be opening this Friday. Portland’s newest brewery is located at 31 Diamond Street in East Bayside in the same building as Bite Into Maine. This weekend they’ll be open Friday 3 – 8 pm, and Saturday/Sunday noon – 8 pm.

Alan Pugsley has been part of the start-up team as a consultant and has developed a set of gluten-free beer recipes which head brewer Jason Kissinger has put into production on a 10-barrel vintage Peter Austin brewery system. Orange Bike is Maine’s second dedicated gluten-free brewery joining Lucky Pigeon which opened for business in 2021.

On opening day Orange Bike will be pouring nine beers (see photo below for the full list) including a Belgian Wit, a New England IPA, a Winter Lager and a collaboration beer which is raising funds for the National Black Brewers Association. They’re just spinning up their canning line this week, and cans will be available for sale at the brewery on opening day.

Founder Tom Ruff and his team have built out a stylish ~40-person tasting room, and they’re working on an outdoor courtyard which when completed will have room for an additional 90+ people.

Opening Soon: Orange Bike, Broadway Bowl, Chocolate Passion, Prairie Baking

The opening announcements just keep coming. Mark your calendars:

  • November 17Orange Bike Brewing is opening their East Bayside gluten-free brewery at 3 pm.
  • November 18 – Prairie Baking is opening their bakery cafe on Romasco Lane at 9 am.
  • November 28Broadway Bowl, the SoPo outpost of Bayside Bowl, is launching at 3 pm.
  • December 1Chocolate Passion is opening their new location at 175 Spring Street (the former Mercy Hospital building).

The Grill Room Reopened

Chef/owner Harding Smith reopened The Grill Room on Saturday night. This comes after a 4-month repair and renovation of the Exchange Street restaurant following a fire in June.

The Grill Room will be open Tuesday and Wednesday 4 – 9 pm and Thursday though Saturday 4 – 10 pm.

Renovations are ongoing in the former Swiss Time space which is slated to become part of The Grill Room when completed.

Porttown Now Open

The Porttown Public House & Coffee Bar (facebook, instagram) opened on Friday. The coffee shop and pub is located at 123 Commercial Street next to Olive Cafe. Porttown serves baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the morning, and transitions to a bar with pizza and paninis for the rest of the day.

When Pigs Fly Breads

York-based bakery When Pigs Fly (websitefacebookinstagram) opened their Portland retail shop this week. They’re open 10 am – 6 pm daily.

The shop is located at 65 Hanover Street in West Bayside. It carries the full range of the breads they produce at their central bakery as well as other baked goods like cookies, muffins, and scones, and oils, jams, butter, and other pantry items that pair well with their breads.

The bakery was founded by Ron Siegel in 1993. When Pigs Fly has retail shops in Kittery as well as Somerville, Jamaica Plain, Lexington and Brookline in Massachusetts.

La Benedicion & Asia Eats

Two new businesses have moved into the second floor of the Public Market House in Monument Square.

La Benedicion (facebook) opened just last week. They’re located in the space formerly occupied by the Frying Dutchman. The menu includes dishes like pollo con tajada, monjarra frito, burritos and tamales.  La Benedicion is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am – 8 pm.

Rathanin Chhloeum is just about to open Asia Eats (facebook) in the space formerly occupied by Pho Co. The menu includes buns, dumplings, soups, rice plates (katsudon, teriyaki, orange chicken, etc) and boba tea. Chhloeum hopes to open Asia Eats within the next week.

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.


Cantina Calafia Takeout Window

Cantina Calafia (instagram) opened their takeout window today. Owners Dominique Gonzalez and Justin Grey are serving: rolled tacos (chicken or beef), potato tacos, and a Caesar salad with an optional chicken add-on. The menu will continue to develop in the coming days.

The takeout window will be open this week Thursday through Saturday, 11 – 3. Next week they’ll be open Monday through Friday.

Grey and Gonzalez continue to work on the renovations to the former Bonobo Pizza location. They don’t have a firm date yet for the full launch of the restaurant. For more information on Cantina Calafia see this article from March.