A Go Fund Me campaign has been set-up for Mé Lon Togo, a West African restaurant with locations in Waterville and Searsport. The money will help owner Jordan Benissan in relocating his Waterville restaurant.
Here’s the project background share on the site:
Jordan Benissan is the proud owner and chef of Mé Lon Togo (translated to I love Togo)—two West African inspired restaurants in Searsport and Waterville, Maine. Unfortunately due to the current challenging economic and social landscape, he was recently forced to close his Waterville location. We’re hoping to help Jordan keep his business going by giving him the chance to re-open his Waterville restaurant and share his Togolese cuisine and his experience once again with the local community. Jordan himself is a long-time community member of Maine, and while food may be his passion, he is also an accomplished musician having taught African drumming professionally for decades at colleges across Maine, including Colby and Bowdoin, as well as across the United States. -from Jake, Eating Through the Seacoast (Instagram: eatingthroughtheseacoast)
For more information on Mé Lon Togo visit their website, follow them on facebook and instagram, or read these articles from the Kennebec Journal and Down East magazine.
Donate to the campaign on gofundme.com.
Chef Cara Stadler and her business partner/mother Cecile Stadler have announced plans to launch Zao Ze Cafe and Market (instgram) in Brunswick. Zao Ze will be located in the first floor of the Stadler’s aquaponics greenhouse just across the parking lot from Tao Yuan.
Zao Ze will feature “Asian street foods, with a focus on breakfast and lunch”. Their will be an open air seating area, and the Tao Yuan kitchen will be used for Zao Ze while the remaining renovations of the market and cafe space are being completed.
The Stadlers plan to continue serving takeout from Lio and Bao Bao, as well as open the deck at Lio for outdoor seating. Tao Yuan is expected to remain closed until this fall.
Evo Kitchen + Bar is launching a new outdoor eatery. Named Evo X (instagram) the mobile kitchen will be located adjacent the Eastern Prom walking trail near the former Portland Company Complex.
The concept for Evo X is of a waterfront seafood shack serving a menu of on-concept dishes and a few options (e.g. chickpea fries) carried over from the regular Evo menu. There will be outdoor picnic table seating, counter service and drinks will be available from the Fore Points Marina bar which is also currently under development. The menu is a collaboration between chefs Matt Ginn and John Glover.
Planning for the project got underway last year with the goal to launch in the summer of 2019. The owners are aiming to launch Evo X in the second half of June.
Wild Burritos on Congress Street has permanently closed. Taking its place is a new eatery, Sal de la Tierra.
Owners Carlos Sanchez and Isai Galvez are in the process of renovating the space at 581 Congress Street. They hope to open their Mexican/Puerto Rican restaurant in the next few weeks.
A new restaurant called Craft is in the early stage of development with plans to be located in Windham. In the near term, co-owners Chase Rochon and Dylan Duran Stafford are launching Craft Curbside (instagram) a “hyper locally sourced prepared food and cocktail mixer shop”.
Rochon is the front of house manager at Liquid Riot where he works with Stafford who is the bar manager. Joining them will be chef Tyler Reinhart who is Johnson & Wales graduate and a Liquid Riot alum.
Craft will be a restaurant with craft cocktails and a catering arm. Rochon is a Certified Cider Professional and plans to work with Maine cider makers on some special house blends.
Hi Bar Bakery is in the process of building out and launching a food truck. Hi Bar launched in 2018, and is one of the businesses operating out of Fork Food Lab. They hope to have their food truck out on the road in July.
DSO Creative is working on converting a truck to Hi Bar’s needs. The plans include “[n]ew service windows and awnings going in first followed by new interior paneling, new kitchen layout, counters, hood installation and various other new additions.”
Randy and Ally Forrester are making progress on renovating the former Terlingua space. If the remaining work goes as plans they’re on track to open Pizzeria Radici (website, instagram) by the end of June.
The word “radici” means root in Italian and indicates the restaurants intent to pair ancestral food traditions with the “sustainability and versatility of Maine’s harvest from the land and sea”. The Forresters hope to open the pizzeria this coming summer.
The Forresters moved to Portland from Allentown, New Jersey where they operated Osteria Radici. Osteria Radici was a James Beard awards semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2018, and Randy Forrester was a semifinalist for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic in 2019.
Highroller Lobster has bought a food truck to reconnect with the way the business originally launched as part of the way they’re adapting to the challenges brought by the pandemic. They hope to launch the food truck in early summer.
Arabica Coffee has permanently closed their location on Commercial Street. They are relocating their bakery to their Free Street coffee shop which is scheduled to re-open on June 1st.
Arabica is also in the process of leasing a new space for their roastery which will also include a new coffee bar. Additional details on the new location will be released later.
Boston magazine reports that Definitive Brewing is expanding to Kittery.
For Definitive Brewing Company, the past month has been a rollercoaster. The almost-2-year-old brewery has temporarily closed its Portland, Maine taproom, and completely changed its business model to focus on to-go sales and home delivery in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The owners have also continued to oversee buildout of a second Definitive location in Kittery, which cofounder and CEO Michael Rankin expects to open soon after the government allows businesses to reopen.