Luck Pigeon Gluten-Free Brewery

A new brewery specializing in gluten-free beer is under construction in Biddeford. Lucky Pigeon Brewing (facebook, instagram) will be located in the Pepperell Mill complex in the same building as Banded Brewing. Lucky Pigeon will be the first brewery in Maine exclusively producing gluten-free beer, and will be brewing with millett, buckwheat and rice.

Head brewer Scott Nebel got his start in the beer industry at Sebago, and most recently was part of the team at Maine Beer Company. He’s been brewing test batches of IPAs, brown ales, Kolsch-style blonde, and porters. Lucky Pigeon plans to produce a range of styles along with seasonal and special batch beers.

Owners Kathleen Pigeon, Bev Pigeon, Nic Bramer and Lesley Bramer hope to launch Lucky Pigeon this spring. They have set-up an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising $20k to pay for a high capacity canning machine. You can read more about Lucky Pigeon and contribute to the campaign on indiegogo.com.

Vy Banh Mi Food Truck

A new food truck called Vy Banh Mi (facebook, instagram) is under development. Owners Minh Nguyen and Vy Phan are originally from Vietnam and moved to Maine 10 years ago. Vy Banh Mi will be a way they can share their passion for food and perhaps be a first step in opening their own restaurant.

Nguyen and Phan plan to have six different types of banh mi on the menu:

    1. The Traditional Banh Mi (pork roll cold cut and pate)
    2. Grilled beef
    3. Grilled chicken
    4. BBQ pork
    5. Meat ball
    6. Tofu

All the sandwiches will be served on a Vietnamese baguette with mayo, fresh cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños, pickled carrot and daikon radish.

Look for Vy Banh Mi to launch sometime in late February or early March, and in the meantime follow them on instagram to stay looped in on the latest news about their food truck.

East Bayside Bam Bam Bakey

Bam Bam Bakery (website, facebook, intagram) has leased a 3,000 square foot space in East Bayside where they plan to reopen their gluten-free bakery. The new space space is located at 148 Anderson Street in a building next to Tandem Coffee.

Owner Tina Cromwell closed her Commercial Street retail operation last year and has been offering weekly pre-order baked goods since then. She anticipates opening the new bakery this spring with an expanded menu that will include more savory options. The new Bam Bam will also have an all gluten-free grocery section with some of their favorite items and take home mixes. Once they reopen they’ll also begin shipping their baked goods countrywide via the Goldbelly service.

Bam Bam was featured on an episode of  Good Morning America back in May.

BelleFlower Brewing Coming to East Bayside

A new brewery called Belleflower Brewing (website, facebook, instagram) has taken over the former Brewery Extrava space in East Bayside. Owners Zach Page, Melissa Page, Nick Bonadies and Katie Bonadies plan on launching later this year producing a line-up of hoppy beers and stouts to start.

As reported by Don Littlefield, Zach Page is the former head brewer at Lone Pine Brewing, and Nick Bonadies is a former VP at Trillium. Prior to joining Lone Pine, Page was the head of brewing operations at Trillium.

They’re currently in the process of going through licensing for Belleflower and will share more details about when they plan to open when they’re able. In the meantime follow them on instagram and keep your eyes on 66 Cove Street to keep apprised of their progress.

Huga

A new Portland-based company called Huga (website, facebook, instagram) is developing a battery-powered heated seat cushion. Founders Jocelyn Olsen and Colin Greig started the company to help their “favorite restaurants get through the colder months and keep their patios open.”

The name of the company comes from the Danish word hygge that is a concept that Wikipedia describes as meaning “coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment”.

Some prototypes have been in use at Three of Strong, and I’ve been beta testing the product as well. It has certainly made outdoor dining during cooler winter days more comfortable.

Olsen and Greig are planning to commercially launch the product in late January with a retail price of $124.99. There’s a form on the Huga website to get on their mailing list about the launch.

Sugar High Donuts Launching Wednesday

Ryan Carey, owner of Noble Barbecue and Fire & Co, along with Sam McNutt are launching Sugar High Donuts (instagram).

Carey and McNutt have developed four initial flavors: Strawberry Shortcake, Key Lime Pie, Cookies and Cream and Cinnamon Sugar. On Wednesday they’ll be launching the business with Cookies and Cream as their featured flavor of the day. The donuts will be for sale at Noble Barbecue and at Rising Tide. A bag of 10 mini donuts is priced at $8.

Sugar High hopes to wholesale their donuts to local coffee shops, markets and breweries.

Bravo Leasing Former Aurora Provisions

Bravo Maine (website, facebook, instagram) has leased the former Aurora Provision at 64 Pine Street where they’ll be restarting their series of cooking classes in February.

In addition to holding classes at 64 Pine Street, starting in mid-February Bravo Maine plans on opening as a cafe serving coffee, French pastry and lunch, daily 11 – 3.

They also plan to use 64 Pine Street for kids cooking and baking classes, and for pop-up dinners.

Taco Trio Expanding to Saco

The Saco Bay News reports that Taco Trio is opening a second location in Saco.

The new restaurant is scheduled to open in March at 27 Elm St., the former location of Skipper’s Seafood and Rotisserie. The space was been vacant since early fall of 2019, when Chuck and Karen Forzely decided to retire and close the seafood restaurant after 21 years.

Rasmussen and Pena said they had looked for years for a big enough location in the Saco and Biddeford area, and 27 Elm St. was an ideal spot.

Little Brother Launching in February

A new business called Little Brother Chinese Food (instagram) is under development. Little Brother will sell a line of Chinese dumplings from their home base at Fork Food Lab.  Owners Richard Lee and Claire Guyer plan to launch Little Brother on February 5th a week a head of Chinese New Year.

Once their website is up you’ll be able to order three different styles of frozen dumplings for final preparation at home: a pork and napa cabbage dumpling made with ginger, scallion and sesame oil which Lee learned how to make from his grandmother and aunt, a vegan dumpling made with soy protein, napa cabbage and roasted mushrooms, and each week there will be third rotating option on the menu. In  recognition of the Year of the Ox which start on the lunar new year, Lee and Guyer are making a spicy beef dumpling made with their house chili oil, Szechuan peppercorn and chili flakes.

Guyer and Lee moved to Portland at the end of March from Chicago. Guyer grew-up in Maine in Thomaston and prior to moving to Illinois worked in Portland as a baker for Hilltop Coffee and for Borealis Breads, and was a server at Silly’s. In Chicago Lee got his start in the kitchen working for chef Joe Flamm at Spiaggia and for a time worked at Parachute.

In Chicago the couple ran the Oxheart Collective supper club as a way to experiment with food and engage with love of hospitality.

In time Little Brother may evolve from its current takeout-only model into a restaurant.

Sugar Giant & Boozy Giant

Little Giant restaurant in the West End is  launching two new ventures—Sugar Giant and Boozy Giant. Both brands along with the new Little Giant heated outdoor dining space are expected to launch as soon as this weekend.

Sugar Giant (website, instagram) will be a pick-up/delivery bakery with online ordering (website launching soon). The menu will feature ready to eat items as well as options that customers can finish off in their kitchens at home. The new bakery will be operate in the mornings out of the Little Giant restaurant which already has the necessary equipment and kitchen space. In addition to online ordering, Little Giant customers will be able to add Sugar Giant items to their takeout order, and when LG outdoor dining restarts customers will be able to add bakery items to their order to take home after the meal. The Sugar Giant website is now up and accepting pre-orders for the launch on Saturday. I’ve got my order in for the cinnamon rolls and blueberry galette.

Boozy Giant (instagram) will be a wine and beer delivery service that will pair an expanded and curated set of wines for local delivery 5+ nights a week.

Little Giant will be working with CarHop and DoorDash to deliver baked goods and wine/beer to their customers, while exploring taking the delivery part of the operation in-house. A new baker has joined the Little Giant team as part of the launch of Sugar Giant.

While both of these new initiatives came about due to the pandemic, owner Ian Malin shared he’s created the business plan for each around the expectation they’ll continue to be important facets of Little Giant even after Covid recedes and life returns to a new normal.