Under Construction: Coals Pizza (Updated)

Coals Pizza (website, instagram, twitter) has leased 114 Preble Street where they plan to open their first location outside of New York. They specialize in grilled pizza. You can see their full menu online.

A 2015 review in the New York Times sums up coals this way,

The atmosphere is as quirky and appealing as the food, with a Catskills-meets-Brooklyn vibe from mounted deer antlers and painted country scenes. Sit there long enough and you’ll become aware of the rhythmic sound of the pizza cutter, a guy who wields a huge half moon of a knife that he rocks across the pies as they come out, dividing them into three- or four-bite squares. It’s a kind of siren call — one that should be heeded by all pizza lovers.

Coals was founded in 2004 in the Bronx. Their first two locations are located in Bronxville and Port Chester. 114 Preble Street has not been used as a restaurant since 2014 since Portland & Rochester closed.

Back Story: Coals owner Billy Etzel was born and raised in NYC, but he’s been visiting Maine since age 3 and always felt connected to the state. Four years ago Etzel’s son began doing some family genealogical research. Etzel himself is adopted, and through the research online they discovered that his biological family was trying to get in contact with him. As it turns out his biological family is from Kittery, just 30 minutes away from where Etzel owns a cabin. It’s as a result of this connection to Maine to Etzel decided to open his latest branch of Coals Pizza here in Portland.

Under Construction: Royale Lunch Bar

Garrett FitzGerald along with business partners Teagan Curry, Joe Farr, and Mike Willett have leased the 855 square foot space at 11 Union Street where they plans to open the Royal Lunch Bar (website, facebook, instagram) a 25-seat serving “lunch daily from 8am-6pm”.

The draft menu (page 121) pastrami sandwiches, reubens, roast chicken sandwiches, burgers, and grilled cheese. Royale’s menu will be available for take-out via online ordering. They also plan to offer catering both from the Royals Lunch and Bar Harbor Lobster menus.

FitzGerald owns the Bar Harbor Lobster Company. His last venture in Portland was the Portland & Rochester on Preble Street.

Under Construction: Island Lobster Company

Katie and Thom Werner are planning to launch the Island Lobster Company (facebook, instagram) in the space formerly occupied by Peaks Island House. The restaurant has seating for 64 seats. The draft menu (page 69) supplied with the liquor license application can be seen in Monday’s City Council meeting packet.

Island Lobster Company is a trap to table restaurant harvesting from the sea and local farms. A small and simple menu, letting the product speak for itself and the patrons enjoying a traditional Maine meal.

The Werners hope to open in May.

Nonalcoholic Bars

Vena’s was featured in an article on Eater about nonalcoholic bars.

Born out of a love for seltzer, Vena’s Fizz House in Downtown Portland, Maine is made to feel like a old-fashioned soda fountain spot. Bartenders shake up fizzy specialty mixed drinks like “The Pear Drop” (pear purée, pear shrub, lime, rosemary, and bitters) and “The Bangladesh Express” (coconut crème, blood orange, lime, ghost pepper, bitters). Downstairs, there’s a mixology shop, where owners, Johanna and Steve Corman sell homemade bitters and syrups, allowing attendees to make fun for themselves at home, too. The catch? When the bar opened in 2013, all of its drinks were zero proof.

The artcle also shares potential plans for a second Vena’s in Utah,

And while she’s not Mormon herself, she’s also seriously considering opening a second location of Vena’s Fizz House in Utah, because many tourists have come in saying nothing like it exists for the Mormon community there.

Under Construction: Maiz

Maiz (websitefacebookinstagram) owners Martha Leonard and Niky Walter have submitted their liquor license application for their new Woodfords Corner location. Their cover letter indicates they’ll be open 3 – 10 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. They included a draft menu with the materials submitted to the City Council.

The 1,200 square foot restaurant will be located at 621 Forest Ave. Maiz opened their original location in the Public Market House July 2, 2017.

Under Construction: Giant (Updated)

The owners, Andrew & Briana Volk and Ian & Kate Malin, of Little Giant have shared plans to transform their Clark Street market into a wine bar and cafe. The new business will be named Giant.

The first phase of development for Giant will launch March 1st with the addition of banquet seating in place of the current store shelves and additional table which will seat 25. Giant will serve a menu of “breakfast, baked goods, soups, salads and fresh sandwiches daily. There will also be wine, beer, and heat n’ eat meals made daily to-go that will be for sale”. The owners also plan to hold weekly pop-ups with changing themes and menus.

The second phase will take place after the Summer with the build out of a full bar and the launch of a evening wine bar focusing on natural and organic wines, and wines from small producers, and serving “tinned fish and snacks”.

Giant will be open 7 days a week from 8am to 9pm.

Update: Giant plans to serve Stumptown Coffee.

Under Construction: Kuno

A new food truck called Kuno (instagram) is under development. Kuno will be serving Peranakan cuisine which Wikipedia explains is “the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community,” and with some Thai influences. Nick Yee is the owner of Kuno, and Peranakan is his family’s food culture.

Yee has acquired the former Thainy Boda food truck and hopes to launch Kuno sometime in February.

Tandem Construction

Tandem Bakery is undergoing remodel and  kitchen expansion which will add a new walk-in to the side of the building and an additional five feet of depth to the kitchen.

The good news is that the construction will result in even more baking capacity and more baked goods for all of us to consume. The not so good news, is that the bakery will be out of commission for three weeks starting February 18th.

Little Tandem (on Anderson Street) will still be open, and will be stocked with baked goods from a rotating selection of local bakeries.

New Cafe Slated for Aurora Property

West Enders will be happy to read the report in today’s Press Herald that the former Aurora Provisions building has been bought by a developer with plans to “replace the longtime West End eatery with a similar business”.

In an interview Friday, Landry said he was interested in the property because his office is nearby and he wanted to ensure that the property’s new owner would replace Aurora, a West End fixture that opened in 1997, with a similar type of business. Aurora’s gourmet market and café shut down in August, followed by the closure of its catering business in November.