ONGGI Ferments & Foods

Amy Ng, Erin Zobitz, and Marcus Im are leasing a space in The Black Box container building on Washington Ave where they plan to open ONGGI Ferments & Foods (website, instagram) this spring.

Their goal is to make the cultures of fermentation more accessible and approachable. ONGGI will be a market for fermented food, a retail shop for fermentation equipment and a resource through classes and workshops to learn the skills to produce your own fermented foods at home.

Ng, Zobitz and Im describe themselves as having been “obsessed over ferments for years” and are excited to share their passion for the topic and to become part of the broader Portland food community. During 2020 they operated an online initiative called 100 Days of Ferments which featured their “own recipes daily, alongside contributing recipes from people all over the fermentation space”. Additionally, Im has apprenticed with James Beard award-winning author Sarah Owens and has worked for both Tonx Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee.

The team is currently working with architect Jacqueline Zhao to design their space. They will have more to share about their vision for the business in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime follow ONGGI on instagram and visit their website to sign-up for their mailing list.

Wicked Fresco Food Truck

A new food truck called Wicked Fresco (instagram) is under development with plans to launch this summer operating in Portland and the surrounding area.

Co-owners Camila Sohm and Eric Mendoza plan to tap into their Colombian and Salvadoran food cultures and Maine seasonal ingredients to serve a menu of sweet and savory salads as well as sides and hand-crafted sodas.

Sohm has worked in the food industry since moving to Maine 6 years ago. For both Mendoza and Sohm, they draw inspiration from seeing how the Portlanders supports restaurants from different cultures, and it’s made them want to launch the Wicked Fresco to be part of that community.

Follow Wicked Fresco on instagram to stay in the loop on their development.

Twelve at Portland Foreside

The Prentice Hospitality Group—owners of Evo Kitchen + Bar, Evo X, and the Chebeague Island Inn—has begun work on a new restaurant concept expected to launch in January 2022.

Twelve (instagram) will be located at 58 Fore, in the historic Pattern Storehouse building. The building itself was disassembled and is slated to be rebuilt brick by brick at 58 Fore later this summer. The storehouse is building #12 and hence the name of the restaurant.

The kitchen will be led by chefs Matt Ginn and Colin Wyatt. Ginn is the executive chef of the Prentice Hospitality Group, and Wyatt is the former executive sous chef at Eleven Madison Park. They initially worked together back in 2007 at Five Fifty-Five when Ginn was just starting his career and Wyatt was the chef de cuisine.

The menu concept is leaning towards an ingredient driven farm to table approach that pays homage to the food of Maine. Stay tuned for more details on precisely what form that will take as the project continues to move forward.

Evo Kitchen + Bar will now be remaining on Fore Street rather than moving to new digs at 58 Fore as originally planned.

La Fritanga Food Truck

The team at Maiz are working on launching a food truck this spring.

La Fritanga (instagram) will serve an abbreviated version of the Maiz menu focused on their “pasabocas/street eats (like empanads, buñuelos, carimañolas, arepa e’ huevos).” The concept for the truck is modeled after  the street food carts in Cartagena.

Bread and Friends Bakery and Market

A new bakery and market called Bread and Friends (website, instagram) is under development in Portland. Bread and Friends is the creation of two couples: Maggie and Tanner Rubin and Jessica Rattey and Jeremy Broucek, who all recently moved to Portland from the California where they worked in the bakeries and restaurants of the Bay Area including Tartine, State Bird Provisions and The Progress (more details below).

Bread and Friends will be an artisan bakery and specialty market that will serve a menu of breads, pastries, sandwiches, house-made products (spreads, jams, etc), prepared foods, and wine and beer.

The team plan to launch this spring initially selling through subscriptions, wholesale and at some local farmers’ markets. They are looking for a space to open a brick and mortar establishment by the end of 2021. The team shared with us that they “love how food can tell a story, and want to be a space where Portland can find approachable products that have integrity of ingredients and process, and where they can learn about the people behind their food.”

Tanner Rubin will be the head baker for Bread and Friends. He has spent a number of years in the Bay Area baking for Josey Baker Bread, Midwife and the Baker, and Tartine, and prior to moving West got his start at Publican Quality Bread in Chicago. Rattey, Broucek, and Maggie Rubin met when all three worked at the Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions and at its sister restaurant The Progress. Rubin was part of the admin and operations staff, Rattey worked front of house, and Broucek was the chef de cuisine at The Progress.

All four have worked together before on small projects and pop-ups and have wanted to expand on that experience on a larger scale. The impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry accelerated the process of honing a vision for Bread and Friends and turning it into a reality. Broucek and Rattey are from New England and were drawn to Portland for the outstanding food scene and quality of life.

Tally’s Cafe on Stevens Ave

Julie Taliento Walsh, owner of Tally’s Kitchen (instagram) on Marginal Way, will be opening Tally’s Cafe at the Steven’s Square Community Center. The 950 square foot space (kitchen, bakery, retail counter) is adjacent to the SSCC atrium with seating for 50 people.

Walsh expects to being serving a similar menu to what she offers at Tally’s Kitchen with the addition of some new options like smoothies, dinners to go, and specialty coffee drinks. She hopes to be open in time for early summer.

The Pink Waffle Food Truck

A new food truck called The Pink Waffle (instagram) is now under development, and owner Roux Kehoe hopes to have renovations completed in time for a launch on March 1st.

This Sunday you can try out their waffle-centric menu at a Pink Waffle pop-up taking place at Figgy’s on Walker Street (10 am – 1 pm).

The pop-up menu features a variety of waffle breakfast sandwiches, a vegan waffle breakfast sandwich, and a build your own waffle option with a variety of sweet and savory toppings.

Kehoe is a 2009 graduate of the culinary program at SMCC, cooked in Colorado for several years, and since moving back to Maine has worked in catering and in restaurants and helped launched the kitchen at Candy’s when it opened on Portland Street.

Bissell Brothers Kitchen

Bissell Brothers has leased the kitchen adjacent to their Thompson’s Point brewery. The kitchen was formally occupied by Locally Sauced. They’ve posted a want ad for an executive chef position and are in the very early stages of planning out the new food service component of their business. Stay tuned for more details as their vision comes into focus.

New Ventures and Strategies During the Pandemic

The Portland Phoenix checked in with five businesses about the new ventures, locations, investment and strategies they’re deploying in 2021.

Some other local restaurateurs are also moving forward with plans to open new businesses in the coming months, while others are changing their business models to better navigate the pandemic after a year that saw the U.S. lose more than 110,000 restaurants, according to a recent study by the National Restaurant Association.

The article features Bam Bam Bakery, Belleflower Brewing, Cale Louis/Eaux, Little Giant/Sugar Giant, and Fork Food Lab.