Finestkind Coming to Saco

A new restaurant called Finestkind (instagram) is under construction in Saco. It will be located at 17 Pepperell Square in the building formerly occupied by The New Moon. Finestkind is being launched by Victoria and Tom Barthelmes along with their business partners Chris and Paige Gould.

The 26-seat counter service restaurant will be open for breakfast and lunch. Finestkind will also have outdoor seating and their menu will be available to order online for takeout. The breakfast menu will offer an assortment of egg sandwiches like the Red and Black Lumberjack (egg, house smoked brisket, horseradish sauce sandwiched between two crispy hashbrowns) Options for lunch will include an assortment of sandwiches, soup, and salads plus mac and cheese. The team plans a in-house bakery program—think oatmeal-raisin cookie sandwiches filled with Italian buttercream and caramel crullers. The beverage menu will include beer, wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks with a full coffee program featuring Tandem Coffee Roasters coffee.

The Barthelmes shared that Finestkind is a culmination of their work and life experiences.

It’s going to draw some inspiration from the cafe we fell in love at 12 years ago, the standards and technique we developed cooking in New York, and the meaningful relationships we’ve made in the Maine community since moving here 9 years ago. A meal we ate at Central Provisions was among the reasons we moved to Maine in the first place, so to be able to call Chris and Paige our friends, mentors, and now business partners is particularly special for us.

The Goulds are the owners of Central Provisions and Tipo. Victoria Barthelmes is the GM of Tipo and will continue as the wine director of both restaurants. Tom Barthelmes is kitchen manager at Central and Tipo. The Barthelmes met when attending The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and worked together at the Apple Pie Bakery Café. In New York City, Victoria worked in the pastry department at Lincoln Ristorante where she produced pastry for the Metropolitan Opera and wedding cakes for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Tom worked at Lincoln before moving to Per Se where he worked for Thomas Keller.

Renovations are already underway with hopes to launch Finestkind this summer. When it opens, the restaurant will be open Thursday through Monday, 7:30 am – 2 pm.

Liquid Riot Sold to Michael Fraser

Liquid Riot has been sold to Michael Fraser. According to a report from Portland Old Port, Fraser plans to rebrand the Old Port brewpub and distillery as Camp Pennant (instagram). Watch for changes to the menu and to the line-up of beer and spirits which will be released under the Pennant Brewing and Distilling brand.

Fraser is the owner or co-owner of Roma, Bramhall, Nosh, Nosh Tacos, CBG and Paper Tiger. Liquid Riot was founded in 2013 by Eric Michaud under the name In’finiti. The name was changed in Liquid Riot in 2015. Michaud was also the founder of Novare Res which launched in 2008.

Stonewall Kitchen Returning to Portland

Stonewall Kitchen (website, facebook, instagram) has leased a 2,327 sq ft space at 215 Commercial Street where they plan to relaunch their Old Port retail shop.

This new larger Stonewall store will enable an wider range of Stonewall products and gifts to be available. The space is under construction and they hope to have the new store stocked and open to the public in mid June.

Stonewall Kitchen had been located on Middle Street across from Bard Coffee for many years. They moved out in early 2022 to make way for the construction going on in the building.

Sissle and Daughters

Mary and Will Sissle, the owners of The Cheese Shop on Washington Ave, have shared plans to open a new business called Sissle and Daughters (instagram).

Expect espresso drinks, wine & light fare in the café, and the same great retail offerings you find at The Cheese Shop with the addition of take-and-heat prepared meals made from those same quality ingredients in the market. So stop to see us on your way to work for a cappuccino & a bite, then in the afternoon for a glass of wine, and grab everything you need for a delicious dinner at home while you’re at it.

The all-day cafe, wine bar and market will be located in the former garage at 634 Forest Ave in Woodfords Corner. They hope to open Sissle and Daughters this fall.

Thames Landing

Mark and Renae Roy have leased the former Helm space on Thames Street where they plan to open a new restaurant called Thames Landing. They shared part of their vision for the restaurant,

Thames Landing brings you solidly good food in an airy and beautiful modern atmosphere. The restaurant will offer classic New England fare—satisfying portions centered around seafood, local meat, and seasonal vegetables—served with contemporary flair and warm hospitality. We aim to be your new go-to, for after work drinks with a co-worker, a meltdown-free lunch with the kids, a spontaneous date night, or a leisurely weekend brunch with friends.

Their plans included an expanded outdoor seating area and they hope to have the restaurant open this summer.

The Roys are the owners of Navis Cafe which they opened on August 14, 2020. Helm launched in early 2021 and went out of business just last month.

Waxwing Bakery in Windham

Hannah Buoye and Billy Hager have announced their plans to launch a new bakery in Windham called Waxwing Bakery (instagram). Buoye is a former kitchen manager at Tandem Coffee and Hager had been the executive chef at Helm.

Buoye and Hager plan to offer a menu focused on laminated pastries and breads with a seasonal selection of sandwiches and salads. The counter service bakery will have some indoor seating and will serve Tandem coffee and have espresso-based beverages. Shown above is a zucchini cake with lemon icing that was on sale at their first pop-up back in August.

Waxwing will be located at 868 Roosevelt Trail (aka Route 302). An opening date is still TBD, but they hopes to launch the business later this year. In the meantime you can find them and their baked goods the second Saturday of every month at the Bumbleroot Farm Maker’s Market in Windham.

The name of the bakery is a reference to waxwing family of bird species. See the initial Waxwing instagram post for more info on these birds and their inspiration for the name of the bakery.

Walter’s Cafe in Brunswick

Prolific Maine restaurateur Walter Loeman has leased space in the Tontine Mall in Brunswick where he plans to open a new business called Walter’s Cafe. Loeman hopes to launch the cafe in May.

This new Walter’s will be a counter service cafe serving soups, stews, salads, sandwiches and drinks along with grab and go food to go as well as stock and bone broth for cooking/enjoyment at home. Four Maine farms (Whatley, Six Rivers, Goranson, Morning Dew) will be featured on the salad menu, each with a dish that highlights seasonal ingredients sourced from them. Bread will be baked in-house and Loeman plans to serve his grandmother’s lobster bisque that some diners (including this writer) will recall was on the menu at Perfettos nearly 25 years ago.

Walter’s will be located in a space formerly occupied by Butchers & Bakers which closed in October 2022. The cafe (located downstairs from Brickyard Hollow) will seat ~30 and Loeman hopes to create a community space where people will want to remain for a time and return to often. He also sees part of the cafe’s mission is to showcase the bounty of Maine farms. He shared that a guiding principle for Walter’s Cafe will be to make it approachable, affordable and repeatable experience.

Loeman has been a member of the Maine restaurant community dating back to the 1980s when he launched the Mariner’s Church Bakery. He’s been the creator or co-creator of many noted establishments including the bakery, the original Walter’s Cafe on Exchange Street, Perfettos, Joe’s Boathouse, Cotton Street Cantina, 15 Independence, Maza, Perfettos Kennebunkport, Fresh, and Farm Truck Juice. In addition he’s the founder of the Farm Truck Institute.

Noble Pizzeria & Barbecue

Ryan Carey has purchased the former Elsmere BBQ building at 476 Stevens Ave in Deering Center where he plans to open Noble Pizzeria & Barbecue. The new restaurant will serve the barbecue menu his restaurant Noble Barbecue (instagram) has become known for, and will expand the offerings to include New York-style pizza and milkshakes.

Carey intends to do some light renovations to the building before opening in July. The Noble BBQ restaurant on outer Forest will remain in business until shortly before the new restaurant is ready to open. In addition to Noble BBQ, Carey also operates the Fire & Co. (instagram) catering company.

A New Bakery on Spring Street

The former Stars and Stripes tasting room space at 3 Spring Street has been leased and is slated to become a new bakery called Yuri’s Desserts (instagram). The owners hope to launch Yuri’s in September.

The menu at Yuri’s will include items like whipped cream cakes, fruit tarts, macarons, cookies, and milk shaved ice as well as croissants and donuts with a variety of cream and fruit toppings.

Daewon Kim and his wife Eunjee Park will operate Yuri’s along with bakers Yuri Kim and Gunsang Park who have a combined 34 years of baking experience including work for Paris Baguette and Tous les Jours in South Korea and in the US.

3 Spring Street was most recently the home of a tasting room for Stars & Stripes Brewing, and prior to that was the location of Cara and Cecile Stadler’s restaurant Lio.

Angoor Wine Bar Update

Construction is well underway at Angoor Wine Bar (website, instagram). Owners Sangeeta Nasiff and Rafael Dones hope to wrap up the final stages of the buildout and be open for business in late spring.

Angoor will be a self-pour wine bar. Customers will be able to dispense 2, 4 or 6 ounce pours from one of 32 different wines. In addition, they’ll also be offering a range of whiskeys and draft beers.

Nasiff and Dones will initially be sourcing the food from local shops and restaurants including The Cheese Shop, Sugarcane, Empanada Club, Two Fat Cats and Hi Bombay.

Angoor is located at 100 Fore Street in the newest WEX building. You can read more about the bar and its owners in this article in Portland City Lifestyle magazine.