Blue Hill Peninsula: Harbor Cafe, Dennett’s Wharf

The Bangor Daily News has the scoop on some interesting restaurant developments in Castine and Stonington.

Max Katzenberg, who worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant and owned two highly praised restaurants in Brooklyn, recently took over the Harbor Cafe in downtown Stonington and plans to reopen Dennett’s Wharf on the Castine waterfront next month.

While Katzenberg, who had previously spent summers in Maine and moved to Deer Isle during the pandemic, brings big-city credentials and acclaimed chefs to the two projects, he promised he and his team are focused on upgrading what already made the two local favorites great.

The article explains that Max Katzenberg worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and was a co-owner of Olmsted (a Beard Best New Restaurant nominee in 2017) and Maison Yaki, both in Brooklyn.

The Harbor Cafe (instagram) project is in collaboration “with friend and Deer Isle dining veteran Matt Spector” which they bought “to prevent the town losing the Main Street fixture.”

For the relaunch of Dennett’s Wharf (instagram) in Castine is Katzenberg is working with Ingrid Paronich and Taylor Hester. Paronich has degrees from Johnson & Wales in Food Marketing and Hospitality and in Italian Gastronomy and Tourism from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma. Her recent work has been in restaurant operations and management in the Northeast.

Taylor Hestor will be the executive chef at Dennett’s Wharf. He was part of the original team at Sean Brock’s launch of Husk in Nashville. In 2017 he joined the team at Olmsted which that year was on the Bon Appetit list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America and which was the Food & Wine 2017 Restaurant of the Year.

New SweetCream Dairy

SweetCream Dairy (website, instagram) is moving into a new storefront in Biddeford. The new ice cream parlor will be located in the Polakewich building at 128 Main Street—not far from the location of their original spot in the mill building.

The 1,500 square (nearly 5 times the size of their starter spot) will enable owners Jon Denton and Jacqui DeFranca to serve an expanded menu. Ice cream will still be at the heart of what they do but the menu will also include house sodas on tap, ice cream floats, espresso drinks and ice pops (dairy free and some dairy options). Denton and DeFranca hope to have the new SweetCream open by July.

Rover’s new business Swell has moved into the former SweetCream space in the mill.

MaineHealth Food Pantry

Mainebiz and the Press Herald have published reports on a new food pantry under development in the former Greyhound bus terminal on Saint John Street.

A former Greyhound bus station in Portland — purchased in 2020 by MaineHealth for $1.4 million — will become a food pantry, the health care system announced Wednesday.

Renovations on the terminal, at 950 Congress St., will begin in June, according to a news release. MaineHealth expects to open the food pantry by early fall, in collaboration with Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The Shop Takeout Window

The Island Creek Oyster Shop on Washington Ave is launching a seasonal (April – October) takeout window. Construction is underway and this rendering shows the new look for the side of the building.

The service, which is expected to open in early July, will offer soft serve ice cream with flavors like Maine maple walnut butter crunch, frappes (e.g. lemon vanilla shortbread), hot dogs (e.g. green chili dog with crispy nori), potato chips and drinks.

Swell by Rover

Kim and Alec Rutter, the owners of Rover Bagel, have announced plans to launch a second business in Biddeford called Swell (instagram). Swell will be located in the former Sweetcream Dairy space at 40 Main Street, and the Rutters hope to be open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm.

When it launches later this month Swell will serve a menu of sandwiches, salads, treats, and beverages that the Rutters tell me will be “heavy on vegetarian options, colorful combinations, and housemade bread”.

The Rutters will be holding a Swell pop-up at Rover this Thursday and Friday, 2- 6 pm to preview their Swell menu.

Restaurant Real Estate: May 2022

Welcome to the May 2022 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/retailers to locate their next business.

Even during the pandemic many people are pursuing their dreams and opening new food businesses. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this new resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End

235 Vaughan St – the 700 sq ft space most recently occupied by Other Side Deli and which had been the longtime home of Vaughan Street Variety is for lease. Call (207) 650-0846 for more information.

Arts District

554 Congress St – 1,621 sq ft former Dunkin’ Donuts space with hood for $2,301/month (NNN).

642 Congress St – the former Ada’s space is available to sublet; 2,569 sq ft (MG).

643/647 Congress St – 1,107 – 5,016 sq ft of space near Longfellow Square is available for $20/sq ft (MG).

649 Congress St – this 3,000 sq ft space is available for $22/sq ft (MG).


15 Chestnut St – the 14,000 sq ft building that was the former home of Grace is for sale for $3,730,000.

31 Diamond St – this 2,800 – 22,034 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $16/sq ft (NNN).

178 Kennebec St – a 2,644 sq ft space on the first floor of a new building in West Bayside is available for $30/sq ft (NNN).

211 Marginal Way – the 4,052 sq ft space on the corner of Marginal Way and Franklin occupied by Bayside Bark is for lease for $40/sq ft (NNN).

65 Portland Street – the beautiful restaurant space that was home to Back Bay Grill for 34 years is available; 2,750 sq ft for $25/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the former Arcadia space is available; 2,835 sq ft for $20/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

383 Commercial St – 1,639 – 3,487 of retail space on Commercial Street for $28/sq ft (NNN).

40 Free St – the new building constructed by JB Brown has four storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft for $30/sq ft (NNN).

38 Market St – a 1,200 subterranean space near the intersection with Milk Street for $1,175/month (MG).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

75 Market St – the 5,474 sq ft space on the corner of Market and Middle Streets occupied by Rambler’s Way is for lease for $37/sq ft (MG).

1 Monument Square – 1,500 sq ft of first floor space for $3,125/month (MG).

25 Pearl St – 1,689 sq ft former Subway space available for $30/sq ft (MG).

66 Pearl St – 5,796 sq ft of space—the former Bull Moose retail shop—is available for $15.75/sq ft (MG).

15 Temple St – the 1,702 sq ft space formerly occupied by Bubble Maineia is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

41 Wharf St – the former Jager space is available; 1,107 sq ft for $43/sq ft (MG).

42 Wharf St – this 3,770 sq ft space in the Old Port includes a 2,000 sq ft patio, $45/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

100 Fore St – 1,914 sq ft of space that the listing says is “ideally suited for a restaurant use”.

5 India St – 1,250 – 2,500 sq ft for $35/sq ft (NNN) in a new building under construction near the intersection with Commercial St.

47 India St – 1,000 sq ft of the former Lois’ Market building is for lease, $40/sq ft (NNN).

Forest Ave

500 Forest Ave – a 1,500 – 3,200 sq ft space is currently occupied by Starbird. It’s available for $16/sq ft (MG).

945 Forest Ave – 500- 1,220 sq ft of space in the former Photo Market building for $750 – 1,800 (MG).


873 Brighton Ave – the 1,334 sq ft building that formerly housed the Redemption Center is for sale for $465,000.

441 Congress St – The 2,400 sq ft former home of Guitar Grave across the street from 1 Monument Square is available for $20/sq ft.

1020 Congress St – a 3,375 service station that is going to be “redeveloped as part a planned mixed use development”. The finished space will be available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

155 Riverside St – the Season’s Bar & Grille and Banquet Center is for lease. The 23,750 sq ft facility includes parking and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

240 Saint John St – 2,400 sq ft in Union Station Plaza for $14/sq ft (NNN)

Westgate Shopping Center – four spaces are for lease at $18-40/sq ft (NNN).

Biscuits & Co, Biddeford – Biscuits & Co closed on October 16th and the business and equipment is for sale. Contact for more information.

Other Spaces – some vacated restaurant spaces haven’t yet been formerly listed for by the owner. Check the closing announcements for the latest information.


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.

Renovations at Miyake

Masa Miyake is renovating his eponymous Fore Street restaurant with plans to reopen this summer, hopefully in July. The newly refreshed space will seat 28, with an 9-seat sushi counter and another 20 seats between the new L-shaped bar on the left and tables along the right-hand wall.

The menu will feature “shareable plates, including traditional Japanese preparations, dishes of Masa’s personal creation, rolled sushi, sashimi, and nigiri”. The bar menu will offer sake, wine and beer as well as house-designed cocktails that make use of Japanese spirits and ingredients. When they reopen Miyake will no longer offer an omakase option.

Seating will be available on a first-come first-serve basis with a guest wait list. Miyake will be open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday evenings.

Nom Cafe to Open Sunday

Nom Cafe (instagram) will be opening this Sunday. It is located at 23 Forest Ave in the space formerly occupied by Yobo. Nom Cafe will initially be open Thursday- Sunday, 8 am – 2 pm.

Owners Som Mantasut and Genko Stanilov plan to serve breakfast and lunch with a menu inspired by the food from the Balkans.

Photo Credit: Food photos courtesy of Nom Cafe

The Continental on Brighton Ave

A new pub called The Continental is under construction at 170 Brighton Ave. Co-owners Michael Barbuto and Kevin Doyle are in the early stages of construction. When they’re done with renovations they’re aiming to create an “easy going space with a mid 90’s English/Irish pub” feel.

In addition to serving cocktails and local beers The Continental will be featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts. The food menu is expected to trend towards comfort food inspired by dishes found in pubs from around Europe.

Doyle and Barbuto are co-owners of CBG on Congress Street. They hope to open The Continental in September.