Restaurant Real Estate: April 2024

Welcome to the April 2024 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company—a commercial real estate brokerage that has helped Maine’s restauranteurs buy and lease restaurant spaces since 1975.

This resource gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland (and a few in the surrounding area) that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers and retailers to locate their next business. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End/Parkside

867 Congress St – the 3,200 sq ft former church that had been slated to be a new home of Vena’s is for sale for $775,000.

Arts District

553 Congress St – the commercial kitchen in the former Five Fifty Five space (now leased by the Core Cannabis Museum) is available to a co-tenant for $2,000/month (MG).

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

594 Congress St – the 2,592 sq ft space in the Upper H. H. Hay Building formerly occupied by Starbucks is available for $35/sq ft (MG).

600 Congress St – for lease signs are in the window of the ground floor space at the corner of High and Congress. The Schwartz Building has been under renovation for a decade. For more info call (207) 773-7100.

25 Forest Ave – Portland Stage is looking for a restaurant partner to co-develop a 2,700 sq ft restaurant space in their Forest Ave building; $19.50/sq ft (MG).

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft of space in a beautiful historic building at the corner of Oak and Free Streets is available for $4,000/month (NNN).

Bayside/Inner Washington

73 Cove St – a 5,519 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is listed for $35/sq ft; it’s expected to become available later this year.

46 Elm St – this 385 sq ft corner space in the parking garage at the corner of Elm Street and Cumberland Ave. It’s available for $500/month (MG).

52 Hanover St – On the first floor of a new building will be 1,500 – 4,500 sq ft retail space available for $30/sq ft (NNN). One spot in the building has earmarked for a coffee shop.

178 Kennebec St – 2,644 sq ft of space are available in a newly constructed Bayside building for $25/sq ft (NNN).

52 Washington Ave – the 1,020 sq ft space formerly occupied by Radici (and before that by Terlingua) is for lease for $3,500/month (NNN). Text/call (207) 400-0405 to learn more.

55 Washington Ave – this 7,815 sq ft space is in the Nissen Bakery building right in between Cong Tu Bot and Hardshore Distillery. It’s available for $13,715/month (NNN).

Old Port

1 Canal Plaza – 4,284 – 14,412 sq ft of ground floor retail space will be available as part of upcoming renovations; $30/sq ft (NNN).

185 Commercial St – a new building under construction will include 2,334 sq ft of ground floor retail space that will be available in 2024 for $55/sq ft (NNN).

215 Commercial St – 2,327 sq ft of retail space near the corner of Commercial and Dana Streets is available for $65/sq ft (MG).

383 Commercial St – 1,193 – 4,805 square feet of space in a newly constructed building on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

201 Federal St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the new 18-story building under construction at the corner of Temple and Federal Streets. The 527 and 2,300 sq ft spaces are listed at $40/sq ft (MG).

420 Fore St – the space formerly occupied by the Old Port Slice Bar is for lease. The 1,100 – 2,600 sq ft space is available for $55/sq ft (MG).

446 Fore St – a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Fore and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

477 Fore St – the 1,134 sq ft space formerly occupied by B + B Bakery is available for $25-30/sq ft (MG).

40 Free St – a 1,511 sq ft space in the new building constructed by JB Brown is available for $27.50/sq ft (NNN).

28 Market St – the 850 sq ft space formerly occupied by Lucky Juju is available for lease for $2,250/month (MG).

46 Market St – the 2,100 sq ft space formerly occupied by Petite Jacqueline is for lease for $42/sq ft (NNN).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

121 Middle St – a 2,482 sq ft retail spot is available for $45/sq ft (MG).

157 Middle St – 1,091 – 5,155 sq ft of retail space is available for $27.95/sq ft (MG).

5 Milk St – this 2,199 sq ft former hair salon is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

1 Monument Square – 1,500 sq ft of first floor space adjacent to Cera is available for $25/sq ft (MG).

28 Monument Square – with the opening of their new location this year, the Mr. Tuna space in the Public Market House will become available.

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).

24 Preble St – the original Arcadia space is available. The 2,835 sq ft storefront near Dutch’s and Slab is listed for $20/sq ft (NNN).

3 Spring St – the space currently occupied by Stage Cannabis is for lease; 2,000 sq ft for $15.50/sq ft (NNN).

144 State St – 2 retail spaces are available in the former Mercy Hospital building on State Street. The 1,100 and 2,566 sq ft spaces are available for $20-24/sq ft (MG). Chocolate Passions occupies the 3rd commercial space in this new development.

23 Temple St – a 947 sq ft retail space in the Temple Street garage is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

53 Wharf St –a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Wharf and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

India Street Area

144 Fore St – the former VA building is near the Portland Foreside development and adjacent to several new office buildings off Thames Street. It has 1,560 – 10,620 sq ft of space available for $22-29/sq ft (NNN).

Outer Forest Ave

503 – 509 Forest Ave – the exterior of this building is slated to be restored to its historic design. It has 4,500 – 9,500 sq ft of space available for $10/sq ft (NNN).

634 Forest Ave – this former garage is located at the center of Woodfords Corner near Bayou Kitchen, Woodford Food & Beverage, and Bird & Co. The 1,305 sq ft building has had a change of use to allow for a restaurant use, and comes with room for 8-12 parking spaces. It is available for $2,750/month (NNN).

701 Forest Ave – 3,147 – 6,405 sq ft of space in a former Walgreens building is available for $16/sq ft (NNN). The building has its own parking lot.


164 Veranda St – the 1,000 sq ft former location of Other Side Deli is available for $2,500/month (Gross).

476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,395,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

550 Washington Ave – 2,000 – 2,400 sq ft of the former Botto’s bakery is available to lease for $18/sq ft (NNN).

Elsewhere in Portland

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,000 to 3,500 sq ft of space is available.

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

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

Outside of Portland

Trudy Birds, North Yarmouth – The business, land and both building are for sale for $1,925,000.

188 Lincoln St, Lewiston – this 2,371 – 5,554 sq ft former fire station has been renovated for use as a retail/restaurant space. It’s listed at $5-14/sq ft (NNN).

Fuzzy Udder Creamery, Whitefield – the business and property are for sale for $595,000.

60 Mile Rd, Wells – an 8,684 sq ft turnkey restaurant in Wells is for sale for $2,450,000.

Billy’s Chowder House – both the building and business of Billy’s Chowder House in Wells is for sale. The ~200 seat restaurant comes with a 62-car parking lot and sits on Mile Road which connects Route 1 with Wells Beach.


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.

Model T Coffee on Congress Street

The owners of the Bru-Thru Coffee Shack (facebook, instagram), a drive through coffee shop in Cumberland, are taking over the former Coffee by Design location on Congress Street where they plan to open a new coffee shop called the Model T Coffee Company (facebook, instagram).

Matthew and Stephanie Morgan and their family will be serving Coffee by Design coffee, donuts from Tony’s Donuts as well as baked goods from some other local producers. The full food menu is still under development. Renovations are underway with plans to give Model T a vintage vibe. The Morgans hope to launch the cafe sometime in April.

Vin Santo in Biddeford

Mainebiz reports that the owners of The Dunn Bar in Biddeford have leased the space adjacent to their Washington Street restaurant. In the new space at 12 Washington Street Doug Darby, Ciel Caldwell and Angela Napolitano will be opening an Italian restaurant called Vin Santo.

“Doug is Irish, and his dream was to open an Irish pub,” said ” said Napolitano. “Ciel is Italian, and I am Italian. We just started talking and thought this space would be perfect for branching out and doing Italian. This has been in the works for the past two months. We wanted to expand into the space to have one team and one entity. I can share my staff. We have a joint kitchen, and now it’s just pulling the pieces together to make it all work as one.

12 Washington Street in Biddeford was formerly occupied by Sublime Taco. The taco restaurant recently announced they’re taking over operation of the kitchen at Mick’s Sports Bar in Biddeford.

According to the Mainebiz article, Vin Santo is slated to open in mid to late April.

Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs

A new business called Gunnar’s Icelandic Hot Dogs (instagram) is taking a new twist on the food cart by serving a locally made version of an Icelandic hot dog.

Since Icelandic hot dogs aren’t exported to the US, owner Pete Grebowski is working with The Sausage Kitchen in Lisbon Falls to produce a version of them here in Maine. They’ll be primarily made with ground lamb with some beef and pork mixed in. A loaded Icelandic hot dog is topped with a remoulade, sweet brown mustard, and type of ketchup sweetened with apples instead of sugar as well as crispy fried onions and finely diced raw red onions on a brioche bun. The full Gunnar’s menu is still under development.

Grebowski hopes to launch his food cart June 1st and plans to locate the cart at the corner of Congress Square Park. He plans to be in operation on the weekends and some weeknights, 4;30 to close.

Luke’s Lobster at Fenway

Mainebiz reports that Luke’s Lobster will be opening a pair of concession stands at Fenway Park this season.

The deal, announced on the MLB website, gives the seafood wholesaler and restaurant group two locations at Fenway, one situated inside the first-base concourse and the other on Jersey Street near one of the entry gates.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Boston Red Sox and bring our lobster rolls to Boston’s beloved ballpark, Fenway Park,” said Luke Holden, CEO and founder of Luke’s Lobster.

The Garden at Bissell Brothers

Bissell Brothers is launching a second restaurant on Thompson’s Point. Called The Garden, the new 58-seat restaurant will operate out of the adjacent space that had been the home of the Rosemont wine bar. The restaurant will be a complementary experience/concept to the existing Bissell Brothers Kitchen pub menu and brewery tasting room.

Chef David Rinaldi and his team will be serving a pan-Adriatic menu which will include dishes like charred caraflex cabbage and taleggio, cavatelli with braise lamb neck and cherry pastissada, a porchetta sandwich, bavette steak with grilled cauliflower in saor and a crema rosada with rum raisins and almonds for dessert.

Bissell is finishing up some renovations to the space and hiring additional staff for the restaurant. An opening date is still TBD.

Flash’s Barbecue

Chris Wilcox, the chef/owner of the former Judy Gibson, has announced plans to launch Flash’s Barbecue (instagram) this summer. Wilcox will be serving Saint Louis-style barbecue.

Meats are cooked high above slow burning embers very slow giving everything a more grilled and less smokey flavor. Growing up in St.Louis, barbecue has always been a love of mine and I’m excited to cook A LOT of it. I’ll be popping up around Portland cooking my take on St.louis style barbecue while still giving everything the same JG touch we strived for in South Portland. Stay tuned for more details!

Backwoods Burger Shack in Gorham

A new business called Backwoods Burger Shack (facebook, instagram) is under construction in the space formerly occupied by Curbside Comforts at 680 Gray Road in Gorham.

Chef/owner Rick Boyd (linkedin) will be serving a menu (see below) of salads, sandwiches, hand cut fries, and burgers along with milkshakes, beer, wine, cocktails and frozen drinks. Ice cream sandwiches will be available for dessert. The Backwoods menu will be available for takeout or to enjoy on their outdoor seating area.

Boyd hails from East Texas and attended the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont in the early 1990s. He owned and operated several restaurants first in Idaho and then in the Lake Tahoe area before moving to Maine.

Boyd hopes to launch Backwoods Burger in mid-April, and has plans to expand the patio for next year to include an outdoor bar, fire pits, stage and year round seating.

Elda Moving to Portland

Bowman and Anna Brown have bought the building at 34 Portland Street where they plan to relocate their acclaimed restaurant Elda (websiteinstagram). A recent instagram post shared,

In the course of the last [CRAZY] six years we have learned so much about our adopted home state. This summer we invite you experience an even more personal and intimate deep-dive into the beauty, bounty, and magic of the woods and waters of Maine. Please stay tuned for info and inspo as we continue to learn, build, and connect. We hope to welcome to the table soon.

The new restaurant will feature an integrated kitchen/dining room on an expanded main floor of the building. Elda will be offering a shorter version of the chef’s tasting menu with a focus on utilizing indigenous ingredients. Diners will have the option of two different beverage pairings: one featuring on reserve wines, and another exploring cider and sake.

34 Portland Street was most recently the home of Candy’s which closed in 2020. The Browns hope complete the buildout of the restaurant in time to launch the new Elda in late summer.

Elda initially opened in Biddeford in December 2017, and moved to its most recent location at 14 Main Street in the summer of 2021. In January the Browns announced the closure of their Scandinavian cafe Jackrabbit.

Brown was a 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef, and a multi-year Beard Awards semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest for his former restaurant Forage in Salt Lake City. In addition he was a Best Chef: Northeast Beard Award semifinalist in 2020 and 2022 for Elda. Eater named Elda to their list of the Best New Restaurants in the country in 2018 and the New York Times reported on Elda in the same year.

Shown above are the building that will house the new version of Elda, chef Brown in his kitchen at 14 Main Street in Biddeford from 2023, and a dish served at Elda in October 2021 featuring a Merrit Island oyster, cherrystone clam, lobster ceviche and a smoke mussel.

Mama Le’s Opens Sunday

Huong Le will be launching a vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese takeout restaurant this Sunday called Mama Le’s.

Le is just back from a month long visit to Vietnam and will be folding recent dining experiences from her trip along with her decades of experience in the restaurant experience into the menu for the restaurant. The menu includes appetizers like vegetarian Cha Gio (egg rolls filled with mushrooms, carrot and taro root), a choice of vegan banh mi, and main dishes like Pho Chay (vegana pho) and Mi Xao Rau (lo mein with mixed vegetables).

Mama Le will operate out of the Banh Appetit shop at 171 Cumberland Ave, which is owned and operated by her daughter Snow Thi Le. Mama Le will be open Sunday 11 am – 3 pm, and Monday through Friday 5 – 8 pm.

The Maine Sunday Telegram published a very good feature article about Huong Le this past May. Le opened Portland’s first sit-down Vietnamese restaurant Huong’s Vietnamese Food in 2000. Below is a photo of Huong Le and her three daughters.