Urban Brunch

Urban Farm Fermentory has been approved for a restaurant license. Starting January 1st UFF will begin serving brunch 8am to 6pm Thursday through Monday. Brunch will be available in their 50-person tasting room and as takeout.

Chef Andrew Collier has joined the UFF team and will be drawing on his past experience at Bayside American Cafe to launch the new UFF brunch service. Collier has created a menu of toasts and waffles that will change seasonally to in concert with the ingredients UFF sources for use in their kombucha, cider, mead, gruits and artisanal vinegars.

Brunch at UFF is something owner Eli Cayer has wanted to do for a while, the pandemic accelerated those thoughts into a concrete plan.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Atop of the East

As part of a planned renovation of the Top of the East the Westin Hotel is planning to add a rooftop deck. The project is broken up into two phases of construction that when taken together will create seating for 108 people and will include two wood burning fireplaces in 2,200 square feet of space.

Construction is expected to start in Q2 and wrap-up for phase 1 in Q3.

Cafe Louis in Knightville

Eaux chef/owner Evan Richardson along with business partner Ben Ferri have leased space in South Portland where he plans to open a new restaurant. Cafe Louis (instagram) will be located at 173 Ocean Street in the former home of RJ’s Pub.

Cafe Louis will serve brunch during the day and become a small plate/bar at night. Richardson has Costa Rican and Honduran family, and the cuisine from those countries will be the point of inspiration for the food at Cafe Louis. The menu will include re-imagined classic dishes like gallo pinto, chicharonnes and chorreadas.

Richardson hopes to open the new restaurant this spring in March or April. It will be joining a fast growing restaurant row in Knightville that includes Taco Trio, Judy Gibson, Solo Cucina and SoPo Seafood which is also under construction.

Richardson continues to move forward with plans to relocate Eaux to a larger location in Portland—details on the new spot are forthcoming. He had started work on the Cafe Louis project back in 2019 before making the decision to move his flagship restaurant to new quarters.

East Ender >> Small Axe

Due to cold weather and the pandemic keeping diners away, East Ender has decided to retarget their energies into a takeout and delivery model.

This temporary shift will be under a new/old name. Owner Karl Deuben is reviving the the Small Axe brand—the name of the food truck that he and his then business partner Bill Leavy launched in 2013 and retired when they bought East Ender in 2015.

Follow them on instagram to stay in the loop.

Update: The first round of Small Axe dates are slated for December 17 – 19. Here’s a look at the menu.

Falafelopolis Pop-up Series

Palace Diner sous chef, Joshua Smallwood, is launching his own pop-up series. Falafelopolis (instagram) will, as the name implies, serve a falafel sandwich along with some optional ad-on sides such as hummus, harissa, pickles, and reportedly a lemon tahini cookie.

The first pop-up is tentatively scheduled for in mid-February. Follow the Falafelopolis instagram account to stay in the loop on when the date is set.

New Outdoor Deck at Little Giant

Little Giant (website, facebookinstagram) has been reconfiguring their back patio into a new outdoor dining deck. The heated backyard deck will seat up to 25-30 people and be made comfortable with 35,000 watts of electric heat.

Little Giant hopes to launch the new dining area before the end of December. They plan to use it to expand the number of nights they’re open, add a lunch service and re-start their weekend brunch. They’ll also be using the space for private dining and events (contact info@littlegiantmaine.com for inquiries).

Owners Ian and Kate Malin sees this investment in an outdoor space a middle way forward for his West End restaurant that allows him to keep business activity high enough to stay in business while side stepping the risks to his staff and customers of indoor dining.

Other establishments building-out more winter-friendly outdoor dining spaces include: Rising Tide, Thirsty Pig, Oxbow, Chaval, The Yard, Mast Landing and Terlingua.

Rwanda Bean on Thompson’s Point

Rwanda Bean (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has leased 2,400 sq ft of the former Cellardoor Winery space on Thompson’s Point where they will operate their coffee roasting, packing, shipping and wholesale business as well as an espresso bar and coffee shop. Rwanda plans to offer coffee education and experiences such as tastings and cuppings, and private events at Thompson’s Point.

Rwanda Bean was founded in 2013 by CEO Mike Mwenedata. A core part of its mission is to give back to the community that coffee is sourced from,

Rwanda Bean is committed to the farmers of Rwanda who grow the beans that they roast and sell to customers all over the world. Through its 50% for Farmers program, Rwanda Bean gives a full 50% of its profits back to the farmers, and additionally they have helped to provide healthcare to 800 of the farmers in Rwanda and their families, and provided funds, technical expertise, and project management to assist in the construction of a children’s education center in Rwanda.

Thompson’s Point is a mixed use development that is home to Bissell Brothers, Stroudwater Distillery, the Brick South event space as well as other businesses. The Children’s Museum is in the process of building their new location on the point which is expected to open this spring.