Big Tree Hospitality owners Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith announced that they will not be reopening Hugo’s their fine dining restaurant on Middle Street.
Portland, you made Hugo’s such a special place to dine and gather since 1988. We will always be grateful for the love and community that these walls have created. While Hugo’s closed over two years ago due to COVID, we are finally ready to announce that Hugo’s will not be reopening in its previous form as a fine dining restaurant.
Hugo’s was where the Big Tree Hospitality story began, and it will always be one of the most important parts of our history. First opened in 1988 as a bistro and piano-lounge by Johnny Robinson as a tribute to his son, Hugo, the restaurant underwent many iterations over the years. Bought in 2000 by Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh, Hugo’s quickly became one of the most avant garde restaurants in the country, earning Rob Evans significant national accolades such as Food and Wine Best New Chef 2005 and James Beard Best Chef Northeast 2008. Big Tree Hospitality founders Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith, and Mike Wiley worked together under their mentors Rob and Nancy for four years prior to purchasing the restaurant in 2012. The Big Tree trio renovated the space in 2015 where it thrived until the COVID closure in March 2020.
Future plans for the space are still TBD but it’s available for private parties and small events.
Update: The Press Herald has also published an article on what the closure of Hugo’s says about the state of fine dining in Portland.