Chad Conley Working on a Third Restaurant

Chad Conley and Josh Sobel have leased space at 98 Washington Ave where they plan to open a new eatery next year in the spring. Name and concept for the new venture are forthcoming.

Chad Conley is well known as the co-owner of Palace Diner and founder of Rose Foods. Josh Sobel is a member of the Rose Foods staff. He has worked in NYC at Mile End, Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Court Street Grocers; he was also a co-owner of the Southside Coffee.

98 Washington is currently occupied by the Flying Fox Juice Bar which announced they were going out of business earlier this month. The last day for the juice bar will be October 19th.

Brian Boru Property Purchased by MEMIC

The Press Herald reports that the Brian Boru property was purchased by MEMIC. The purchase completed their ownership of the block between Cotton, Spring, Center and Fore Streets. MEMIC doesn’t have immediate plans to build on the site.

[Former Boru owner Daniel] Steele is sure MEMIC has a long-term plan for the property, but for the moment he expects it will lease the Brian Ború building.

“I would love to see it reopen as a pub so I could visit again,” he said.

Jefe Juan’s on Wharf Street

Portland Mash Tun owner Ricky Binet has leased 1160 sq ft of space at 47 Wharf Street where he plans to open a 24-seat Mexican restaurant called Jefe Juan’s. The restaurant is named after Portland Mash Tun chef Juan Cordero and will serve a menu of “a few of Juan’s favorite recipes”.

As part of the liquor license application Binet has provided a draft menu (page 104) that includes burritos (pork, beef or chicken), a cheese plate, chips and salsa, salads, a lobster roll, and a “Mexican Lobster Cocktail”.

Italian Restaurants in Flux

This seems to be the year when the landscape of Italian restaurants seem to be in flux. For those of you trying to keep track, here’s what’s happened so far:

There are still 3 months left in the year so who knows what other news may emerge.

JP’s Bistro Moving to Falmouth

The Press Herald reports that JP’s Bistro is moving to Falmouth.

Chef/owner John Paul Gagnon says he’ll be closing his namesake Portland restaurant on Oct. 12 and hopes to re-open the first week of November at 204 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth. That’s the former location of Hugs Italian Restaurant. (The Hugs restaurant at Sugarloaf remains open.) Gagnon says the new space will have more room, more and better equipment, and — he hopes — more customers. 

9-Seat Ramen Bar Coming to Washington Ave

A new 9-seat BYOB ramen shop is under development. Named Ishi Ishi Ramen (instagram) it will be located on Washington Ave in The Black Box space that will be vacated when The Cheese Shop moves to larger quarter—filling the gap in the East End line-up of restaurant left when Ramen Suzukiya closed in 2018.

Owners Matthew De Fio and Andrew Doolittle hope to open in November/December when they will serve three different ramens to start with, and offer both gluten-free noodle and CBD options on the menu. Ishi Ishi will also have prepared ramen ready to go. The owners 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 and running his own fresh pasta enterprise Il Dono. Doolittle is the owner of Pot and Pan Kitchen.