Back River Bistro

The owners of Ruby’s West End, Matt and Corrinna Stum, have leased 65 Gardiner Street in Wiscasset where they plan to open Back River Bistro (website, instagram).

Back River Bistro will serve a menu of seasonally-driven bistro fare prepared with ingredients sourced from farms within a 30-mile radius of Wiscasset. The bar menu will offer both traditional and natural wines, and cocktails.

The Stums have moved to Morris Farm in Wiscasset where they plan to grow produce for the restaurant along with additional sourcing from Tarbox Farm, Heritage Home Farm, Broad Arrow Farm, Morning Dew Farm, and others.

Aaron and Alison Hansen have joined the Stums in launching the restaurant. Aaron Hansen will be the chef de cuisine for Back River Bistro and Alison Hansen will be leading the bar program. Aaron Hansen and Matt Strum formerly worked together at restaurants in Indianapolis before moving to Maine.

The Stums opened Ruby’s in April 2021, and hope to open the Back River Bistro for dinner by the end of November. They plan to add a lunch service this coming summer. Back River will be open Thursday through Sunday, 5 – 10 pm.

Longfellow Hotel

The Longfellow Hotel (website, facebook, instagram) is currently under construction at 754 Congress Street. It’s located next to Tandem and across the Street from The Francis. Both The Francis and Longfellow are operated by Uncommon Hospitality led by Tony and Nate DeLois.

The first floor of the hotel will feature the Twinflower Cafe and Five of Clubs bar. The cafe will be “a wellness focused café serving clean and wholesome breakfast and lunch offerings, as well as espresso drinks and fresh juices” and the bar menu will focus on “classic cocktails, local seafood and charcuterie”. Both establishments will be run by Siobhan & Mike Sindoni the co-owners of the Wayside Tavern.

The Longfellow Hotel is expected to open this summer.

Botto’s Moving to Westbrook

Botto’s Bakery (website) is moving their operation to a 14,000 sq ft facility at 5 Karen Drive in Westbrook. The new bakery represents a 25% increase over their current bakery. It’s expected to go into production in April 2023. According to a report in Mainebiz,

The bakery produces 4,000 loaves of bread each week and an average of 100,000 rolls at the Portland location. The new space is being designed for ease and efficiency as well.

“I had to turn down business this summer,” said co-owner and Vice President Steve Mathews. “It was like a 3-ring circus trying to manage it all, and it hasn’t been easy on the employees. It was either expanding or downsizing and going backwards didn’t make sense. The new facility is going to provide a better working environment for a great team, and now there’s a plan in place for the next generation.”

Botto’s has been located on Washington Ave since the company was founded in 1949. There’s no word yet on whether the new Westbrook location will include a retail store.

The current 9,000 sq ft Botto’s building at 550 Washington Ave is listed for sale by Boulos for $1,200,000. It’s situated near the intersection of Washington Ave and Veranda Street in the East Deering neighborhood. The current configuration include an 800 sq ft retail space. The Roux Institute is planning a major build out at the former B&M factory property nearby.

Goodfire Freeport Opening Saturday

  • Goodfire Brewing (websitefacebookinstagram) will be opening their new tasting room and restaurant in Freeport on Saturday. The new location has seating for 75 (including the bar shown above) along with an additional 75 of outdoor seating. The 24-tap draft system will be set-up to serve 12 beer, 6 wines and 6 cocktails.

The kitchen is headed up by Ben Christie along with sous chef Colin Kennedy. The menu (see draft menu below) features “interesting & approachable takes on bar food classics” such as Smoked Ricotta Dip served with tomato confit, olive salad and focaccia,  a Napa Cabbage salad served with a roasted jalapeno and pepita viniagrette, cotija, pickled onions and herbs, and a Fried Pork Cutlet sandwich made with apple mostarda, basil and cabbage slaw. There will be four different styles of wings a kids menu and a selection of desserts that includes a soft pretzel bread pudding.

Christie along with Goodfire Freeport general manager Kevin Nelson are both Big Tree Hospitality alums where Nelson was the general manager of The Honey Paw and Christie was the chef de cuisine at Hugo’s. Kennedy’s resume includes time as the sous chef at Leeward.

Goodfire Freeport features a private dining room that can seat up to 14 and is decorated with a mural (see below) by artist Lydia Jane Brown from October Wilde. A few steps away at the end of the bar Goodfire has built in a pilot system brewing system which they’ll use to produce small batch and experimental one-off beers.

Goodfire Freeport is located at 180 South Freeport Rd, Freeport Maine 04032 which owners David and Julia Redding have been renovating since taking over the space in the summer of 2021. Hours will be Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday noon – 9 pm, Friday and Saturday noon – 10 pm, and open for retail sales only on Monday (1 – 6 pm).

Goodfire Brewing launched their original location on Anderson Street in East Bayside almost exactly five years ago in November 2017.

Restaurant Real Estate: November 2022

Welcome to the November 2022 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 monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/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

156 State St – 1,250 – 7,550 sq ft of space on the first floor of the Portland Club is available for $13.50 – 24/sq ft (NNN).

235 Vaughan St – the 700 sq ft space most recently occupied by Other Side Deli and which had been the longtime home of Vaughan Street Variety is for lease. Call (207) 650-0846 for more information.

Arts District

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

642 Congress St – the former Ada’s space is available to sublet; 2,569 sq ft (MG).

649 Congress St – the 3,000 sq ft former Dos Naciones storefront is available for $22/sq ft (MG).

142 High St – a 543 sq ft retail space in the State Theatre building that faces High Street is available for $35/sq ft (MG).


75 Chestnut St – a 2,100 sq ft ground floor retail space under construction in Bayside is for sale for $649,999.

31 Diamond St – this 2,800 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $2,500/month.

82 Hanover St – the 3,067 sq ft former Yard space in Bayside is available for $30/sq ft (NNN); the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

178 Kennebec St – 2,644 sq ft of space are available in a newly constructed Bayside building for $30/sq ft (NNN).

127 Marginal Way – 3,040 sq ft of space that’s been the home of Allspeed Cycle & Snow is for lease for $32/ sq ft (NNN).

34 Portland St – the 4,256 sq ft building that was formerly occupied by Candy’s is for sale for $649,000.

65 Portland Street – the beautiful restaurant space that was home to Back Bay Grill for 34 years is available; 2,750 sq ft for $22/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the former Arcadia space is available; 2,835 sq ft for $20/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

Canal Plaza – the former Copper Branch building in Canal Plaza is available for $60/sq ft (NNN).

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is undergoing renovations and is expected to be available in 2023. The 900-2,950 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

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).

441 Congress St – 2,400 sq ft of retail space is available for $15/sq ft (MG).

443 Congress St – 5,280 sq ft of space for lease for $16-20/sq ft (MG). It’s located across Elm Street from the Portland Public Library.

86 Exchange St – the 1,438 sq ft Swiss Time space on upper Exchange Street is for lease for $31/sq ft.

446 Fore St – 1,600 to 3,400 sq ft of space for lease for $30-40/sq ft (MG). It’s located in the building that was formerly occupied by the Pearl Tap House.

40 Free St – the new building constructed by JB Brown has four storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft for $30/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 $24/sq ft (NNN).

100 Middle St – a 350 sq ft cafe space on first floor of an Old Port office building is available for $850/month (MG).

157 Middle St – 1,091 – 5,155 sq ft of retail space is available for $27 – 29.95/sq ft (MG).

1 Monument Square – 1,500 sq ft of first floor space for $3,125/month (MG).

28 Monument Square – turnkey former Roll Call space in the first floor of the Public Market House, $2,250/month (NNN).

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).

1 Pleasant St – an 1,800 sq ft restaurant space in the Cinnamon Building available for $25/sq ft (NNN).

15 Temple St – the 2,086 sq ft space formerly occupied by Bubble Maineia is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

110 Thames St – two spots (2,700 and 3,200 sq ft) are now available in the newly constructed building in the Portland Foreside development. Both are listed at $35/sq ft (NNN).

42 Wharf St – this 3,770 sq ft space in the Old Port includes a 2,000 sq ft patio, $45/sq ft (MG).

43 Wharf St – the former 1,350 sq ft Drink Exchange space is for lease for $43/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

100 Fore St – 1,914 sq ft of space that the listing says is “ideally suited for a restaurant use” is available for $30/sq ft.

5 India St – 1,250 – 2,500 sq ft for $35/sq ft (NNN) in a new building under construction near the intersection with Commercial St.

47 India St – 1,000 sq ft of the former Lois’ Market building is for lease, $3,333/month (NNN).

83 Middle St – 1,480 sq ft of retail space is available in the new building being constructed across the street from Eventide; $30/sq ft (NNN)

Forest Ave

945 Forest Ave – the former Photo Market building is for sale for $995,000.

1871 Forest Ave – the former Tortilla Flat building is for sale for $3,800,000.


936 Brighton Ave – 1,995 sq ft of space in an 11k sq ft building that’s the future home of Allspeed Cycle and Snow for $20/sq ft.

155 Riverside St – the Season’s Bar & Grille and Banquet Center is for lease. The 23,750 sq ft facility includes parking and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,650,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

1341 Washington Ave – the former Parker’s restaurant is available for sale for $2,500,000.

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,200 to 5,700 sq ft of space is available.

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

Biscuits & Co, Biddeford – Biscuits & Co closed on October 16th and the business and equipment is for sale. Contact for more information.

Buxton – the former Buxton Commons restaurant is available for sale or lease. Lease terms are $4,500/month (NNN) for 3,600 sq ft of space.

Longwoods Preserve – the Longwoods Preserve is seeking a partner to operate a restaurant on their 55-acre property in Cumberland. The 3,500 sq ft building is expected to seat 70-80 indoors plus a three season porch. For more information contact Joe Atwood at (207) 899–7373,

18 Ocean St, South Portland – the 4,351 sq ft former Snow Squall is for lease for $15/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.


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.

Clam Bar & Royale Lunch

Owner Garrett Fitzgerald has been renovating his restaurant space on West Commercial Street and expanding the building footprint with prefabricated structures from OpBox. The new complex will be the joint home for Clam Bar (instagram) and the Portland Beer Garden for lunch and dinner, and the Royale Lunch (instagram) for breakfast and lunch service.

Fitzgerald’s Christmas tree business will launch on the property on the day after Thanksgiving. Royale Lunch will likely open this winter and the full ensemble cast to open in the spring.

Full Turn in East Bayside

A new restaurant called Full Turn (instagram) is under construction in the former Baharat space in East Bayside. The launch of Full Turn is being led by Chloe Kessell and Melissa Pappas in collaboration with the owners of Baharat. Josh Lemay will be running the bar program.

Full Turn will be serving seasonal menus that change-up frequently with restaurant concepts that shift with each ‘turn’ of the menu. Pappas and Kessell plan to collaborate with local farms, breweries and other food producers on special items for their menus. They also hope to create opportunities at Full Turn for chef residencies, pop-ups, and special events. While by design the food and concept will change often, the team is aiming for a steady price point, service level and atmosphere.

Kessell has worked in the restaurant industry for 12 years in both Boston and Portland, and most recently was the general manager of Baharat. Pappas comes from a restaurant family and has worked both front and back of house roles most recently the kitchen manager of Baharat. The pair have worked together in the past to organize pop-ups and events and as hospitality consultants through Sate at Home and Sate at Work.

For us, hospitality is about sharing and taking care of each other. Sharing food, sharing drinks, sharing experiences and sharing knowledge, and that care and respect starts in your own house with your own team. We are so fortunate to have a staff of like minded hospitality professionals with incredible skills and ambition. When the opportunity to take this truly collaborative approach both with our staff and the restaurant community came up, we couldn’t turn it down. We’re excited to have the chance and circumstances to make the changes we’ve wanted to see in the industry and get back to the reasons we all love it after such a difficult run. We want to make good food with good people and share it with our great community in an environment focused on the experience and putting locals front of mind.

The owners hope to open Full Turn in December after construction to expand the kitchen and light renovations to the dining room.

Vena’s Fizz House

Vena’s Fizz House (website, facebookinstagram) is making good progress in renovating their new location at 867 Congress Street in Parkside and the owners hope to launch in December.

The former church will be home to the expanded Vena’s cocktail/mocktail bar and mixology shop which will eventually span three floors with seating for 129 people. The main floor with bar and mixology shop and the mezzanine seating area will be open for the relaunch of Vena’s.

The mixology shop will offer a similar mix of products as the old Vena’s with bar tools, books, bitters, mixers, and glassware as well as Vena’s branded products. Vena’s will also be hosting their mixology classes on Congress Street and the space will be available for private events.

The draft menu supplied with their liquor license application includes drinks like the Sea Rose (gin, rose petals, apple, hibiscus, tonic, lime, Vena’s meadow bitters), Mezcalcillin (mezcal, drambuie, ancho chili liquer, ginger, sfumato, Vena’s fiesta bitters) and a the Maine Maple Fire mocktail (maple syrup, apple cider syrup, lemon, ghost pepper, Vena’s aromatic bitters).

Vena’s Fizz House was founded in 2013 and was originally located at the corner of Silver and Fore Streets in the Old Port.

Old Port Noodle House

Khanhly Nguyen has applied for a liquor license for the Old Port Noodle House at 245 Commercial Street.

Nguyen is in the process of buying the Veranda Noodle House from family members. He expects to continue to operate the business along the same lines but will rename it as the Old Port Noodle House.

The Veranda Noodle House originally opened in 2015.