Bistro Leluco Opens Friday

A new 36-seat restaurant called Bistro Leluco (website, instagram) is under development at 347 Cottage Road in the building that was formerly the home of Enio’s. Leluco is scheduled to open this Friday January 13th.

Bistro Leluco will be serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes utilizing seasonal and local ingredients. There will be a full bar program including craft cocktails, wine and local beers. Some example of dishes from the menu include Bluefin Crudo with burnt orange, Sicilian olive oil, Calabrian chili, Squash Toast with farmers cheese boursin, maple, aleppo, pepitas, Octopus with paella rice, preserved pepper, saffron aioli, and Parisienne Gnocchi with maitake mushrooms, ripe cheese, mustard greens

Leluco is being launched by owners Michele Trizzino and Antonio Rappazzo with chef William Durst. Rappazzo and Trizzino both have a background in the hospitality industry. Their move to Portland from NYC has opened the door to act on a long-term dream to open a restaurant of their own. Durst moved to Portland from Vermont where he’s worked at Hen of the Woods, and was the sous chef at Prohibition Pig. His career has also taken him to the west coast where he worked in Portland, Oregon.

The name of the restaurant is inspired by the names of Trizzino and Rappazzo’s three children Leo, Lucca and Coco.

Bistro Leluco will begin taking reservations on later today. In the meantime call (207) 536-1690 to reserve a table.

George + Leon’s in Westbrook

Logan Abbey the owner of the George’s North Shore food truck has leased space in Westbrook where he plans to open a restaurant called George + Leon’s Famous Roast Beef (instagram). The new restaurant will be located at 9 Cumberland Street in the building that’s currently home to the Brea Lu Cafe. Abbey hope to open the restaurant in mid-summer.

George + Leon’s will serve an expanded menu and will also have a full bar. In addition, Abbey plans to use the space to host pop-up events with other food trucks. George + Leon’s is named for Abbey’s dog (George) and 3-month old son (Leon).

Abbey expects to continue operating the The George’s North Shore food truck in addition to the new restaurant. Brea Lu Cafe itself is moving to a larger space on Larrabee Road that will open this spring.

Ruby’s Moving

Ruby’s West End (websiteinstagram) owners Matt and Corrinna Stum have announced plans to move their West End restaurant. They have not yet released the new location for Ruby’s.

Ruby’s is currently located in the former Aurora Provisions building at 64 Pine Street and that space was recently listed for lease. The Stum’s opened  Ruby’s in April 2021, and recently launched a new restaurant called Back River Bistro in Wiscasset.

The 2022 Year In Review

Here’s a look at the highlights, themes and key moments from the 2022 year in food:

Concept Shift – with the pre-pandemic closure of Five Fifty-Five and the 2022 shuttering of Back Bay Grill and Hugo’s, Portland’s fine dining ranks have thinned quite a bit. Twelve is the new standard bearer for white table cloth dining in Portland. In the meantime, daytime cafes and combination restaurant/markets are increasing in number. Smalls and Friends & Family are a prime examples, and coming online in 2023 are the Bread and Friends bakery/cafe, The Ugly Duckling in the West End, the Night Moves/Lambs collaboration, and the new LB Kitchen.

National Recognition – while none of the nominees came home with the gold in June, the 2022 James Beard Awards season saw Maine honored with 10 semifinalists (just shy of the record 11 set in 2020) and a record 5 finalist nominees—a confirmation of the strength of the Maine restaurant industry and hopefully an indication of what’s to come (watch for the 2023 semifinalists list in February). National recognition came in other forms as well this year: Bon Appetit included Regards on their list of the Best New Restaurants in America, the NY Times identified Leeward and Twelve as two of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” Food & Wine and CN Traveler shared their love of Biddeford, and Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.

Maine Food Map –Biddeford will continue to be a hot spot, and new restaurants are opening in South Portland and the Portland suburbs. However, there’s also been a growing drumbeat of new and interesting food and beverages businesses opening outside the Portland area, and in 2022 that seemed to have gone into a higher gear…here are just a few examples from the past year: Table Bar in Gardiner, Aboslem Cider in Winthrop,  Nomad in Brunswick, Solo Pane in Bath, the new Dennett’s Wharf in Castine, The Alna Store in Alna, Sidereal Brewing in Vassalboro, Wolfpeach in Camden, Sophia in Belfast, Perch in Waldoboro, Hey Sailor in Searsport, and The Rooting Pig in Bristol.

Upcoming in 2023 – For a rundown of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the more exciting ones in the pipeline:

  • Bread and Friends – an elevated bakery/cafe located on Fore Street.
  • Lambs/Night Moves – Kerry Haines is bringing her bakery to South Portland and her partner Wade Ritchey is opening a bar in the adjoining space.
  • LB Kitchen – Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind are reopening LB Kitchen in an expanded space on the corner of Congress and Smith Streets.
  • Lenora – a taco bar focusing on Mexican-inspired street food from the creators of Lone Star in Boston.
  • Mr. Tuna – a new iteration of Mr. Tuna located on Middle Street is slated to open this summer.
  • Papi – a Puerto Rican-inspired bar and restaurant expected to open early in 2023.
  • Quanto Basta – a brick and mortar version of the popular Neapolitan pizza food truck which will be located in the original LB Kitchen space.
  • Room for Improvement – a modern dive bar being brought to life on Wharf Street by Arvid Brown and  Nick Coffin.
  • The Continental – European pub food meets cocktails and featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts in the Oakdale neighborhood.
  • The Ugly Duckling – Chaval owners Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti are launching this daytime cafe and bakeshop on Danforth Street in early 2023.
  • Vertical Harvest – a 70,000 square-foot hydroponic vertical greenhouse in Westbrook.

There are also several other exciting new projects that are currently under wraps but will go public soon. Check back later this year for details.

Top 10 Articles

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

  1. Eastern Prom Food Trucks – early report by the Portland Phoenix that the city was considering new rules to manage food trucks on the Eastern Prom (March 30th)
  2. Somebody Feed Phil – debut of the Somebody Feed Phil episode from Maine (April 7th)
  3. Sacred Profane Brewing – first report on Sacred Profane Brewing being under construction in Biddeford (February 21st)
  4. AC Moving to SoPo – first report on A&C Grocery moving to South Portland (March 2nd)
  5. The Danforth – interim report on The Danforth (February 15th)
  6. The Continental – first report on The Continental (April 14th)
  7. Indy’s Sandwich – first report on Indy’s (February 6th)
  8. Paper Tiger – first report on Paper Tiger (January 6th)
  9. Fish & Whistle – first report on Fish & Whistle in Biddeford (February 1st)
  10. Tobi Open – report on the opening of Tobi (June 3rd)

Notable Events of 2022


For an additional perspective on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram Best of 2022 article.

This is the 13th 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 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Dedalus Wine in Portland

Dedalus Wine (website, facebook, instagram) from Burlington, Vermont has leased a 3,040 sq ft space at 127 Marginal Way where they are expected to open a Portland outpost of their business. They filed as an LLC in Maine in September 2021.

Dedalus was founded by Jason Zuliani in Burlington in 2007 and has since added shops in Stowe and Middlebury. Dedalus acquired Cured in Boulder, Colorado and it became the base for them to expand into Colorado. Dedalus has also reportedly bought a property in Brooklyn in August.

Allspeed Cycle and Snow will be moving into a new building on Brighton Ave that they purchased earlier this year.

Tar Coffee in Monument Square

A new coffee shop called Tar Coffee (website, facebook, instagram) opened this morning in the Public Market House in Monument Square.

They’re serving a full spectrum of brewed and espresso-based beverages, along with a menu (see below) of sandwiches, house-made cinnamon rolls, beignets, and New York-style bagels. The beans for Tar are initially being sourced from Carpe Diem from North Berwick but Tar plans to eventually set up an in-house roastery.

The owners previously operated a coffee shop called Dermody Road in Gorham, New Hampshire.

Mr. Tuna Moving to Middle St

Co-owners Jordan Rubin and Marisa Lewiecki have leased space in the new building under construction at 83 Middle Street where they plan to relocate Mr. Tuna (website, facebook, instagram) from Monument Square.

The new restaurant will serve an updated Mr. Tuna menu with the addition of a full bar program of cocktails, sake, beer, wine. Rubin shared that the new restaurant will bring to life the full vision he had for Mr. Tuna when he first launched the business as a food cart in 2017. The space will have 25 indoor seats (see draft floor plan below) with additional sidewalk seating in season.

Lewiecki and Rubin hope to open the new Mr. Tuna this summer. The current Mr. Tuna location in the Public Market House will continue to serve as a commissary kitchen for the Mr. Tuna food trucks and catering operation, and may also be a pick-up spot for Mr. Tuna takeout.

Rubin launched Mr. Tuna as a food cart in 2017. The Mr. Tuna sushi counter opened in the Public Market House in 2018. Rubin, Lewiecki Sasha Brouillard, and chef Cyle Reynolds launched Crispy Gai in the summer of 2021. Rubin and Lewiecki launched Bar Futo on Fore Street earlier this month.

A Home for Quanto Basta

Quanto Basta (website, instagram) owner Betsy English has leased the original LB Kitchen location where she plans establish a permanent home for her Neapolitan pizzeria.

If you had told me two years ago that the world’s tiniest little food truck would become an actual pizza place, I’d say you were out of your mind. And perhaps I am..a little..but you kind of have to be to do this, right?! This was always the dream, but it really came down to finding the perfect space, & I couldn’t be happier to have landed in #lowermunjoy with Lee & Bryna of LB Kitchen as my neighbors. They have welcomed me with open arms, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to grow next to them in their new space.

English plans to serve a menu inspired by regional Italian cooking with a rotating selection of sourdough pizza along with natural wines from Southern Italy, beer and spritzes, plus some additional small plate “snackies”.  After some renovations (construction starts in February) she hopes to have the new brick and mortar QB open in June. The Quanto Basta food truck will be taking a vacation in 2023 while English puts her energy into launching the restaurant.

Quanto Basta launched as a food truck in August 2021, and has built a strong following for their mobile pizza operation. LB Kitchen is in the final stage of building out a larger restaurant for themselves at the corner of Smith and Congress Streets – just two doors down from their current location. LB Kitchen expect to open their new spot in January.

Room for Improvement

Owners Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin have applied for a liquor license for their new bar Room for Improvement (instagram) providing a first look at the draft menu and cocktail list, and floor plan (see below).

The cocktail menu (see first 3 pages below) is broken up into six categories: From the Freezer, Classics, Wildcards, Escapism, Large Format, and Shots. Additionally, the bar will serve beer and wine.

As previously reported, the concept for Room for Improvement is a 36-seat modern dive bar and will be located at 41 Wharf Street. Coffin and Brown hope to open in March.