Cafe Louis Opening Today

Cafe Louis (instagram) the new South Portland restaurant by Eaux chef/owner Evan Richardson along with business partner Ben Ferri is scheduled to open today.

Cafe Louis will serve brunch and coffee during the day (8 – 3) and dinner (5 – 10). The menu is inspired by Richardson’s family from Costa Rica and Honduras with dishes like Ron Don (mussels, coconut, plantain, cassava, green curry, sourdough) and Fiddle Head Empanada (tat soi, cabot cheddar, garlic scape adobo) on the brunch menu.

Cafe Louis is located at 173 Ocean Street in the same neighborhood as Judy Gibson, BenReuben’s Knishery, Solo Cucina Market, Taco Trio (which is moving to larger quarters) and the soon to open SoPo Seafood store and oyster bar.

Luna & Salt Yard

The indoor/outdoor rooftop bar Luna (instagram)  and street-level restaurant and coffee bar Salt Yard (instagram) will be opening with the launch of the new Canopy Portland Waterfront (websitefacebookinstagram) hotel on Commercial Street at noon on Wednesday.

Located on the sixth floor overlooking Commercial Street, the 88-seat Luna features indoor and outdoor seating areas with views along Commercial Street and across the Old Port (see below). The menu includes a set of house cocktails and mocktails, wines and draft beers as well as small plate such as duck wings, burrata, spicy crab rolls and a selection of desserts. Luna will be open 4 – 11 pm seven days a week.

The 53-seat street level restaurant and coffee bar Salt Yard will initially open for breakfast and lunch (7 am – 2 pm) with dinner service to be added to the line-up later. Salt Yard will be serving coffee from Rwanda Bean along with house made baked goods and a menu that includes flatbread pizza, salads, soups and sandwiches and breakfast items.


Crispy Gai to Open on Wednesday

Crispy Gai (website, instagram) is scheduled to open their new restaurant on Wednesday June 30th. Jordan Rubin (aka Mr Tuna) and Cyle Reynolds originally launched Crispy Gai as a pop-up takeout business last November. Now with its own full kitchen Crispy Gai will offer an expanded menu with dishes like wok fried water spinach, grilled lobster, grilled pork neck, and oysters served with fried shallot and Nam Jim seafood sauce.

The cocktail program will be led by bartender Arvid Brown with “tropical-leaning” drinks that riff off of the ingredients used in kitchen. The menu includes drinks   like the Bermuda Love Triangle (a tropical take on a gimlet that incorporates a lime leaf and lemongrass infused citrus cordial and a local coconut gin) and the Wave of Mutilation—a reference to a Pixies song from the 1980s—which is a Mai Tai-like drink that uses over proof rye whiskey, banana liquor and cashew orgeat.

The new Crispy Gai is located at 90 Exchange Street in the space formerly occupied by Eaux. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday, 4 – 10 pm.


Strata Opening Saturday

The new and expanded Strata (websiteinstagram) culinary knife and kitchen store is scheduled to open this Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm.

Strata was founded by Evan Atwell in 2018, and was among the first wave of businesses that took up residence in the Black Box container retail spaces on Washington Ave. The new shop is located at 67 Washington Ave in the former Nissen Bakery Building.

Atwell will keep knives at the center of what Strata sells but will have a more diverse product selection including glassware, cookbooks, pasta making tools, traditional handmade Japanese ceramics and lacquerware, aprons, kitchen towels, etc.

Atwell also plans to offer in-person classes for knife sharpening, knife skills, and other topics in the future.

2021 Pocket Guide Now Available

The newly revised and expanded 2021 PFM Printed Pocket Guide is now out. This handy paper reference highlights many of the restaurants, bakeries, breweries, coffee shops, cocktail bars, and cafes that make eating and drinking in Portland so compelling. This year it includes a new food truck section and an expanded list of places to dine elsewhere in Maine.

2021 remains a very dynamic environment for the Maine restaurant industry so please consult the online version of Portland Food Map for the latest information and updates on openings as well as a full list of eateries in the city…and consult restaurant websites for the latest on days and hours of operation.

Many thanks to the 2021 Pocket Guide sponsors. Their generous support plays a crucial role in making the guide available in 2021:

While supplies last you can pick-up a free copy of the guide at these local businesses: Portland Trading Company, Bresca and the Honey Bee in New Gloucester, Tandem Coffee on Congress St, Strata (the new shop opens next weekend), Leeward, ChavalRose Foods, Speckled Ax on Thames Street, The Shop, and Oxbow Brewing on Washington Ave.

The pocket guide wouldn’t be as good as it is, in fact it wouldn’t exist at all, without the skills and contributions of Dawn Hagin from Rare Bird Strategic, writer Angela Andre, and graphic designer Sofija Razgaitis. Congratulate them on their work the next time you see them in town.

Il Leone on Peaks

A new outdoor pizzeria pop-up is operating on Peaks Island this summer called Il Leone (website, instagram)

Owner and chef Ben Wexler-Waite is serving Neapolitan-style made with naturally leavened dough. He uses a portable Forza Foni pizza oven from Italy which cooks the pizzas in 60 – 90 seconds at 850 degrees. The menu includes classic like Margherita and Funghi pizzas as well as their take on a lobster pizza—the Aragosta. They also serve  salads and Gelato Fiasco gelato.

Il Leone is leasing space from the Peaks Island Lions Club which is the inspiration for the business name. They are open Wednesday through Sunday: 12:30 – 3:30 for lunch and 5 – 8 for dinner. Wexler-Waite expects to operate through to October.

Erik Desjarlais at Owl & Elm

Erik Desjarlais
has been hired as the new chef at Owl & Elm (website, facebook, instagram) in Yarmouth.

At Owl & Elm Desjarlais and owner Caitlin Henningsen are planning an elevated village pub menu. Fans of the burger and fish and chips can rest easy that those items will remain on the menu unchanged as will the daily ice cream sundae. The new menu will include items like frisée salad with a duck egg, fried quail with buckwheat waffles, steak frites, fish baked in parchment and a pavé of pork belly with beans on brioche toast, with specials woven into the menu on a regular basis.

Owl & Elm opened 5 years ago and is expected to reopen in the first week of June. The restaurant is located at 365 Main Street in Yarmouth. In addition to their dining room Owl & Elm also has a outdoor dining space on their back deck.

Desjarlais was the chef/owner of Bandol, Ladle and Evangeline in Portland and went on to found Weft & Warp. Most recently he’s been the general manager and chef at the New Gloucester Village Store.

Caribbean Taste

A new restaurant called Caribbean Taste opened late last week in South Portland in the Cash Corner neighborhood.

Caribbean Taste serves a menu of oxtail, curry goat, fried chicken and jerk chicken with a variety of side dishes and daily specials. They’re open Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 pm.