Bom Dia on India Street

A new quick-service acai and coffee shop called Bom Dia Cafe (website, instagram) is under construction at 47 India Street in a space immediately adjacent to Dok Mali on India Street. Owner Fletch Moffett hopes to open Bom Dia in February.

Bom Dia will be serving acai bowls, coffee, smoothies, and bagels. Their signature Bom Dia Bowl will contain an acai blend with gluten free granola, topped with banana, strawberry, blueberry, natural peanut butter, and cacao nibs.

Prior to moving to Portland, Moffett owned and operated the Freshies (instagram) acai food truck in North Conway. He gained initial experience working at Carioca Bowls acai shop in Portland, Oregon.

The 26-seat cafe was designed by Dextrous Creative, an architecture firm that’s also designed the new Tandem on Anderson Street, Dok Mali, Belleville and Rose Foods.

To get caught up on all the new restaurants, bars, breweries, bakeries and other hospitality businesses in development visit the Portland Food Map Under Construction List.

The 2023 Year In Review

Here’s a look back at the 2023 year in food. It’s been a very busy year of events, openings and, sadly, of closings too. Read on for a refresher on the year we just experienced and for a look at the new restaurants, bars, pizzerias, and other business that are in the pipeline.

Closings – Some restaurant close every year whether due to retirement, lack of business success, owners interest in pursuing a new venture or external personal circumstance. However, 2023 has clearly seen much more than its fair share. 2023 has been notable not only for the overall number of business closures, but also for touching established businesses as well as more recent arrivals alike.

To name just a few there was Little Woodfords, Maine Mead Works, the Rosemont wine bar, and Bull Feeney’s in Q1, Blue Spoon (since reopened in Rockport), Tiqa, Full Turn and Timber in Q2 and Vena’s shared plans not to launch their new bar/retail shop, Petite Jacqueline, Rick’s Lobby Cafe, The Danforth, Wolf Peach in Camden in Q3, and the CBD on Congress, the Other Side Deli, Judy Gibson, Radici, The Snug and Cabana in Q4. See this page and the month-by-month recap below for a fuller accounting of the departures.

Hopefully as we head into 2024 we’ll see this peak in these losses to the food and dining community subside.

Maine Food Map – The energy that’s powered the Portland area restaurant scene for the last decade is also now making an impact on communities across the state. New hospitality businesses are launching in small towns like Waterford and Alna as well as in tourist destinations like Rangeley and Eastport. Nowhere has that entrepreneurial activity been more keenly evident than in the Midcoast. However, the last two years have also seen notable establishments opening in locations like Gardiner and Lewiston—cities that weren’t at the top of anyone’s #TheNextBiddeford list. A pandemic influenced in-migration to Maine from other states is one of the contributing factors which has brought experienced professionals to (or back to) Maine and a growing customer base for the businesses they’re creating.

Take a look back the 2023 reporting on the Maine food scene for more details, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Beard Awards: The Quarry in Monson was a Beard Awards winner in the Outstanding Hospitality Category, and Nezinscot Farm in Turner was named a James Beard America’s Classics Award winner
  • Kennebunk: Chefs Nate Norris and Annie Callan opened Bev’s Cafe and Market in Kennebunk
  • Bath/Brunswick: Caballeras, BizziBuns, Oysthers, and The Abbey all opened. A new Holy Donut shop, Reverie Coffee and Linden + Front are under construction. After a long hiatus Tao Yuan reopened.
  • Camden/Rockport: Costa Media opened in the former Wolf Peach building. Additionally,  Albatross, the new bar at The Norumbega, The Place Bakery, Sea Hag Cidery and the relocated Blue Spoon opened. Buttermilk Kitchen is under construction.
  • Thomaston: Honey’s is under construction and Uproot Pie Company just opened.
  • Alna: The Maine Sunday Telegram named The Alna Store their pick for the Best New Restaurant of 2023.
  • Greenville: the Blair Hill Inn hired Max Snyder as their new chef.
  • Belfast: a new wine bar called Pulling Corks, and a taco/cocktail bar called Dos Gatos are under construction.
  • Wiscassett: The “prettiest village in Maine” saw the opening of Jolie Rodger’s and Yonder, and Jodie’s took the place of Sarah’s.
  • Blue Hill Peninsula: Travel and Leisure declared the Blue Hill peninsula “One of the Best Places to Eat in the U.S. Right Now“.
  • Union/Warren: Alsace opened in Union and the Black Goat Test Kitchen opened in Warren.
  • Lewiston: The opening of Bon Vivant brought fine dining back to Lewiston.
  • Waldoboro: The Waldoboro Inn launched Ida’s their fun bar and pop-up collaboration venue.
  • Gardiner: Table Bar launched a dinner service with chef Jimmy Leftis.
  • Buxton: Oak & Ember opened in September.
  • Saco: The Scandinavian bakery Fika opened.
  • Waterford: The launch of Tallulah’s at The Waterford Inne.

Upcoming in 2024 – There remains a strong pipeline of new businesses under development in the Portland area. For a full list see our Under Construction list. Here are just some highlights to look forward to:

There are also several other exciting new projects in the works that we’ll be writing about soon. Check back soon for all the details.

Notable Events of 2023


Top 10 Articles

The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.

  1. Salvatore’s Hoagies – first word of the new sandwich takeout business.
  2. Oak & Ember – first word about a new restaurant in Buxton.
  3. 2023 Beard Semifinalists – 11 Maine restaurants and chefs were named as awards semifinalists.
  4. Battery Steele – first word of the brewery’s expansion to Wells.
  5. Bistro Leluco – opening of the restaurant in South Portland.
  6. Wander at Longwoods – first word about the farm-to-table restaurant in Cumberland.
  7. Tacos La Poblanita – first word of their new restaurant in Westbrook.
  8. Thanksgiving List – the 2023 edition of our Thanks giving Resource list.
  9. Lambs – opening announcement for Lambs in South Portland.
  10. Lecha – first word about the new boba tea and ice cream shop in Deering Center.

For an additional perspective on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram Dine Out Maine: Best of 2023 article, and the Portland Old Port 2023 wrap-up.

This is the 14th year running that Portland Food Map has published a year in review article. Take a walk down memory lane by checking out these past editions that covered 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Looking Back at 2023 and Forward to 2024

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a look at twelve bars and restaurants that are set to open next year.

But the batch of new restaurants coming in 2024 helps take the sting out of the losses and will enrich a drinking and dining scene that already feels like a treasure trove. We can look forward to big, bold bars going into Thompson’s Point and Bayside; new brewpubs and daytime cafes in Biddeford; old faves like Brea Lu relaunching in new Westbrook digs; fine dining in far-flung locales; and New York-style slices in the Old Port. If all goes according to plans, expect Cambodian express takeout, a chicken sandwich palace and a cheesesteak mecca.

It also includes restaurant critic Andrew Ross’s picks for the Best of 2023.

Yosaku Outdoor Seating

Yosaku (website, facebook, instagram) is building a new outdoor seating structure. When it’s finished Yosaku plans to use the 50-seat post and beam structure to extend their outdoor seating season.

Yosaku was founded in 2003 by Takahiro and Susan Sato. They retired in 2022 and sold the restaurant to Rattanak Tray and Hope MacVane-Tray. Rattanak Tray had been a sushi chef at Yosaku since it opened for business.

Buttermilk Kitchen in Camden

Chef Suzanne Vizethann (website, instagram) has purchased the Marriner’s Restaurant in Camden where she plans to open a new restaurant that blends elements of Marriner’s and her Atlanta restaurant Buttermilk Kitchen.

Marriner’s has been in business for 82 years and its been owned and operated since 1982 by Dan and Becki Gabriele. Vizethann will temporarily close Marriner’s in January for renovation with plans to re-open it as Buttermilk Kitchen at Marriner’s (instagram) by the end of April.

Some of the Atlanta Buttermilk Kitchen staff will be visiting Maine in the spring to help with the launch. Brandon Muggy will be moving permanently from Atlanta to Maine to be the general manager.

Vizethann is the author of Welcome to Buttermilk Kitchen and founded Buttermilk Kitchen (instagram) in 2012. She was a James Beard Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow in 2022. She has appeared on Food Network shows Beat Bobby Flay, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. She’s also a Chopped champion. Her food has been described as having a “whimsical and modernistic approach to the typical American breakfast”.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Vizethann

Linden + Front in Bath

A new restaurant called Linden + Front (instagram) is under construction in Bath in the former Relish/Salt Pine Social building at 244 Front Street. Owners Zac and Khristine Leeman are renovating the 3,535 sq ft building and hope to launch the 85-seat restaurant in February.

The Linden + Front menu is still under development but the overall plan is to serve modern takes on classic comfort food with a wide selection of small plates and entrees including woodfire dishes, steak and chop, and dishes for vegetarian and vegan diners. The bar program will offer local draft beers, wine and L+F takes on classic cocktails. Linden + Front will initially be open for dinner but they do hope to eventually add brunch/lunch service too. They’ll have a 20-seat patio open seasonally.

Zac Leeman grew up on nearby Orrs Island and is a graduate of Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. The Leemans met in Minnesota where they were both worked in the restaurant industry.

They opened their first Maine restaurant, Sundrenched, on Bailey Island in 2022. Sundrenched will reopen for the season in May.

Another Round – Board Game Bar and Cafe

A board game bar and cafe called Another Round (website, instagram) is under development at 549 Congress Street in the storefront between Nosh and Regards.

Another Round will have around 250 board games available to play. Owner Harry Sultan hopes to have something for just about everyone with games for people playing in groups, in pairs and solo. Another Round will have classics like Monopoly (including the Portland edition) and Uno, games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride as well as perhaps less well known ones like Brass Birmingham, Scythe and Twilight Imperium.

Sultan envisions Another Round as “laid back place to relax with great games, specialty coffee, excellent beer, and a welcoming community”. The 36-seat cafe (see floor plan below) will have a variety of seating options including a bar, couches and tables for gaming and a banquette along the right wall. Sultan is working with Woodhull to designer buildout the 1,397 sq ft space. The interior is expected to make use of natural materials with wood running throughout the space accented by an abundance of greenery. He hopes to launch Another Round by the start of summer.

Another Round will be serving brewed and espresso-based coffees, local beers on tap, wine, a selection of cocktails as well as nonalcoholic options. Sultan hopes Another Round will eventually be roasting its own coffee, but he will initially be sourcing from independent Maine roasters and from Coffee Project New York. Another Round will also have a light food program including pastries for their morning coffee customers and light fare throughout the day.

Sultan (linkedin) attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and has a background in digital media and audio/podcast production. He most recently worked as an executive producer at Food52.

Leisure Time Cocktail Company

A new 50-seat bar called Leisure Time Cocktail Company (instagram) is under construction on Thompson’s Point. Leisure Time will feature draft cocktails and freezer cocktails using local ingredients and premium spirits. A future phase of the business will see Leisure Time expand into selling canned and kegged cocktails.

We are dedicated to using the science of botany and molecular gastronomy to make craft cocktails accessible to a wide audience while also adhering to the longstanding traditions of mixing a good drink you can sit back, relax and have fun with.

The Leisure Time food menu prepared by chef Emma Reed will include pierogis and hand cased hotdogs/sausages as well as a rotating selection of soups and salads. Vegan and gluten free options are expected to be on the menu.

Leisure Time is being launched by Kai Parrott-Wolfe and his business partner Matt Noyes. Parrott-Wolfe grew up on Peaks Island and after working at a number of NYC bars launched his own establishment in Brooklyn—the now closed Post Office Whiskey Bar. He returned to Portland in 2019 and has been working as the bar manager at Luke’s Lobster.

Leisure Time will be located in the back right corner of the building Bissell Brothers is in. The space was originally a Cellardoor event room and most recently was a Rwanda Bean cafe. Noyes and Parrott-Wolfe will be renovating the 1,400 sq ft space to add banquette and table seating and reconfigure the space behind the counter with equipment needed for the bar. They envision a space that is “a mix of 60’s lounge, your grandparents’ camp and a botanist’s lab” which is a “cozy space at lunch for professionals to do work or families from the children’s museum and a cocktail lounge at night to have snacks or dinner at before a show down at the Point.”

Parrott-Wolfe and Noyes hope to open Leisure Time this spring.

To get caught up on all the new restaurants, bars, breweries, bakeries and other hospitality businesses in development visit the Portland Food Map Under Construction List.

Catface Cafe in Biddeford

Sur Lie owner Krista Cole and business partner Tyler VanScoy have leased the space being vacated by Part & Parcel in Biddeford where they plan to open the Catface Cafe (website, instagram).

Catface will be serving breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. Chef Mimi Weissenborn is planning a seasonal Maine-inspired menu with “elevated modern flare.” The cafe will have a specialty coffee program, beer, wine and “fun boozy cocktails” to go with the food. Weissenborn is the executive chef of Sur Lie and Gather.

Cole and VanScoy want Catface to be a community gathering place. The location includes a back patio which can host warm weather events or be a spot to hang out solo or with friends. They plan to hosts monthly special events at Catface for the people of Biddeford to gather and socialize.

Cole is a co-founder of Sur Lie which opened for business in 2014. In 2023 she was a James Beard Awards semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurateur category and Sur Lie was a semifinalist in the Outstanding Hospitality category. In 2022 Cole took over ownership of Gather in Yarmouth from the restaurant’s founder, Matt Chappell. VanScoy has worked in the hospitality industry in a variety of front and back of house roles for over 10 years.

Part & Parcel owners Danielle O’Neill and Ali Preble announced on November 25th that they plan to close their market/cafe. Their last day in business is December 23rd.

The Chametz in New Vineyard

A new fine dining restaurant called The Chametz (website, facebook, instagram) is under development west of Skowhegan in the town of New Vineyard, Maine. The restaurant promises to bring “Michelin-level dining experiences” to Franklin County.

Founders Lina Mamut and chef Jared Rudnick plan to source all their ingredients from within a 100-mile distance from their restaurant and in 2023 planted a biodynamic garden to augment the produce they’ll have available from Maine farms and from foraging in the local area.

When it launches the 20-seat restaurant will offer a 10-course tasting menu served at a communal table (see architect’s rendering above). The Chametz will have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic pairings to go with the meal and with a full liquor license will also have a cocktail program. The menu is expected to showcase seasonal ingredients and Rudnick’s skills in whole animal butchering and fermentation/preservation techniques.

The couple met while working at Journeyman in Somerville, Massachusetts. They have extensive front of house and back of house experience at a variety of restaurants in the Boston area. Rudnick’s resume includes Craigie on Main and No. 9 Park as well as being the chef de cuisine at Journeyman. In addition to their hospitality experience, Mamut also has MS in Data Science, and has worked in the food tech startup world.

For Mamut and Rudnick how they operate their business is perhaps as important as the food and dining experience they and their team will create.  The Chametz will be run as a collective that gives all the team members a voice in decision making and an approach to compensating staff that reflects that shared responsibility.

The build out of a commercial kitchen for The Chametz is underway with the hope the restaurant can launch in early June. To support the launch of The Chametz, Rudnick and Mamut have set-up a $150k Kickstarter campaign. The campaign has already raised $25k towards its goal.

If you are in the Sugarloaf area on this Saturday December 16th you may want to stop by at Cork & Rind for an event featuring tastes of Rudnick’s cooking.

Credit: Image courtesy of The Chametz.