Under Construction: Zapoteca, Willard Square, Nina’s

Here’s a set of under construction updates:

  • Zapoteca has provided a draft menu (see page 67) as part of their liquor license application.
  • The American Journal and The Forecaster have both published reports on the reopening the Bathras Market in Willard Square. The market operated in the square from 1954 to 1989 and the family is hoping to have it back in operation in next month.
  • The Forecaster has also published an article about Ian Hayward and Glenn Perry’s plans for their own market in Willard Square.
  • A new store named Nina’s is “coming soon” to 1700 Forest Ave, the former location of Papa’s Place.

Under Construction in SoPo: Bathras Market, Mr. Delicious, Taco Trio

Three new businesses are under construction in South Portland:

Bathras Market– the Bathras Market was a mainstay in Willard Square for 35 years (1954 – 1989). Now the former owner’s grandson and his wife are working on bringing the market back to life. They will be selling “local and natural foods, cheeses, meats, wine, beer, and specialty food” as well as “seafood, including lobsters, as well as sandwiches and distinctive prepared foods.” They’re targeting early May for the grand opening.

Mr. Delicious– Glenn Perry and Ian Hayward are teaming up to open a “a small but complete grocery store, with selective produce, meat and fish, wines and lots of prepared foods” in Willard Square. The plan on having “lots of grilled and braised meats, and, above all, genuinely memorable sandwiches.” Mr. D will be located in a building at 7 Pillsbury Street. They’re target open date is mid-July.

Taco Trio – a late night taco shop is planning to open in South Portland on Ocean Street. According to The Forecaster, the owners are Manuel Peña and Karen Massmussen.

“This will be like the traditional food you get on the streets of Mexico,” he said. “Soft corn tacos and traditional spices.” For now it will be a lunch take-out with brunch once a week, but they hope to offer dinner service in the future.

Under Construction: River House

Construction of the River House on York Street is well under way. The restaurant is being built at the former site of Popeye’s Ice House. The most detailed information available comes from a Mainebiz article published back in December,

At the same time, [Tod] Dana and [Alex] Fisher are teaming up with Cheryl Lewis and Noreen Kotts, El Rayo’s culinary team and the former owners of Aurora Provisions, for another venture. The four are converting what used to be Popeye’s Ice House into a new restaurant Dana describes as a “neighborhood bistro.” It’ll have 60 seats, and gets its name for its view of the Fore River. They hope to be open by late next summer.

Review of Green Elephant

Maine magazine has published a review of Green Elephant in their April issue.

Green Elephant’s style of food was developed in Thailand, where a large percentage of the population is Budhist and refrain from eating meat. Their devotion, however, doesn’t stop them from craving it, and soy-based faux-meat products have become an acceptable alternative. I personally find the texture quite pleasing, although I learned from restaurant manager Corin Ginter that my reckless use of the term “fake meat” is frowned upon (although I can’t understand why) and that “soy meat” is the preferred nomenclature.

Since it’s the magazine’s wellness issue there’s also a sidebar with a list of “healthy eating” restaurant destinations such as Homegrown Herb and Tea and Local Sprouts.

The article isn’t yet online but the magazine should be available at your local newsstand.

Maine’s Wine Industry

Wine distributor Ned Swain has published some interesting observations on the Maine wine industry on his blog Wines; Tasted!

Maine is one of the only states that has bucked this trend and seen a lot of diversification and proliferation in small, grass roots wine distributors. Wine distributors such as myself, SoPo, Crush, and Easterly have built businesses built on unique quality wines and passion. Mark-ups in Maine are also lower than in places like NY, both on restaurant lists and retail.

I have a feeling that this movement to higher quality, exciting, hand made wines has hit a critical mass…

Neon Diner/Gogi

Every so often when a new restaurant at is under construction at 653 Congress Street you can catch a glimpse of the old Neon Diner sign (see this recent photo by Corey Templeton). That’s the case now as Gogi, a new Asian fusion restaurant, get’s set to install their new street sign in the old Neon Diner frame. I’ve heard that Gogi hopes to open in March. The Neon Diner was in operation 1991-1995.

This Week’s Events: Beer & Cheese, Wine & Pie, Bob Smith

Wednesday — there will be a wine tasting at Old Portland Wine Merchants, Havana South is holding their monthly 10 wines for $10 wine event, the January Full Moon Cask Beer Night is being held at Sebago Brewing and Allagash is pouring Hugh Malone and raising money for MOFGA at Local Sprouts.

ThursdayThe Great Lost Bear will be showcasing Long Trail Brewing.

Saturday — Jasper Hill, Allagash, Maine Beer Co. and Urban Farm Fermentory will be at the 5th Annual Vignola Beer and Cheese Tasting, Rosemont is holding a wine and pie tasting, the Winter Farmers Market is taking place, and Scarborough Wine Outlet is holding a wine tasting.

Bob Smith Memorial — friend and colleagues of Chef Bob Smith will be gathering on January 30th at The Coastal House in Wells to commemorate his life and passing. Bob died unexpectedly from a heart condition in December.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

If you are holding a food event this week that’s not listed above, publicize it by adding it as a comment to this post.

Fun, Fearless and Discreet in Portland

Boston food blogger Fun and Fearless in Beantown was recently in Portland and has posted articles on Nosh, Sebago Brewing, Dean’s Sweets and The Salt Exchange.
Another out of town blogger, the Discreet Hedonist, has posted photo/haiku combos for Bintliff’s, Beal’s, Novare Res, Duckfat, Otto, Coffee by Design, Local 188 and The Great Lost Bear.