Location, Location, Location No. 2

Last September I published a list of real estate for lease that could serve a future home for a new restaurant, coffee shop, market, or other local food business. Several of those listings have been picked up since then to become restaurants (Buck’s Naked, Blue Rooster, The North Point, Teriyaki Exchange and the future homes of Central Provisions and Vinland).

There are 20+ restaurants and other food-related businesses under development in Portland and new ventures are being announced with increasing frequency. The demand for vacant restaurants and retail space remains quite high. So I’ve put together this revised list to help out anyone who’s at that stage in getting their new venture off the ground.

If there are any good ones I’ve overlooked give a shout out in the comments or email me at anestes@portlandfoodmap.com and I’ll add them to the list.

Old Port

  • 145 Commercial St—this spot is in the Cianchette Building. It’s adjacent to the new Starbucks that opened this summer.
  • 321 Commercial St—the plans for the hotel under construction on Commercial Street includes a 7,000 sq ft space for a restaurant.
  • 17 Exchange St—longtime home of the Paper Patch is for lease.
  • 92 Exchange St—currently occupied by Wyler’s, several year’s ago this was the home of Della’s Catessen.
  • 106 Exchange St—the former Oriental Table is available on upper Exchange Street.
  • 339 Fore St—this spot in Boothby Square was briefly home to the Compass Rose Restaurant. It’s across the street from Dock Fore and adjacent to Vena’s Fizz House.
  • 363 Fore St—currently occupied by Dunkin Donuts, this spot is on the corner of Fore and Market Streets.
  • 432-436 Fore St—a block of about 6 buildings on the western end of Fore and Wharf Streets will be up for auction in late September.
  • Hyatt Place Hotel—a new hotel under construction on the corner of Fore and Union Streets. The plans for the first floor includes a 1,000 square foot retail space.
  • 50 Middle St—there are plans are to develop the remainder of the lot that used to be the home of the Jordan Meat plant which will include 12,500 square feet of retail space. Eventide, Duckfat, Miccuci”s and Duckfat are all right in the immediate vicinity.
  • 25 Preble St—PowerPay is leasing the part of the old Public Market. The space for lease used to house Dana Street’s excellent restaurant Scales.
  • 115 Middle St—this office space is immediately adjacent to the old Bresca on Middle Street. It could potentially be renovated into a retail shop.
  • Bay House—this new building going up off India Street has several ground floor retail spaces available.
  • 437 Congress St—for the past couple years this has been the location of Mike’s Rock ‘N’ Roll sandwich shop.
  • Portland Press Herald Building—the former Press Herald building at 390 Congress Street is being converted into a hotel. Plans include an 80-seat restaurant. Construction on this building is expected to begin in early 2014.
  • Milk & Market Streets—years ago this was Molly’s, a great spot for a business lunch in the Old Port. For the last several years it served as the showroom for a luxury condo project, but it would be great to see it brought back to life as an Old Port restaurant.

Art District

  • First floor of the Schwartz Building—the building at the intersection of High and Congress is still under renovation, but you can imagine that once it’s finished the corner space on the first floor could be a killer street cafe.
  • 604 Congress St—this space was formerly a thrift store. It’s currently under construction along with the rest of the Schwatz Building. It’s immediately adjacent to the Down Town Lounge and across from the State Theater.
  • 640 Congress Stthis space is located just outside Longfellow Square. Until earlier thus year it was the location of a pawn shop. A longtime Portland resident told me it used to be a tea shop. I’ve heard an off-peninsula restaurant may be moving in here but the For Lease signs are still up.
  • 658 Congress St—the former home of Apartment Finder, it is next to the Merchant Company.
  • 660 Congress St—the Queen Anne style building was the first space Roxanne Quimby originally bought to house her artist colony. The last business to operate there was Zinnia’s Antiques. A developer is now working on a plan to renovate the building; a retail space is planned for the first floor.

West End

  • Pine & Brackett Streets—the latest blue prints for the apartment building planned for the corner of Pine and Brackett Streets show a restaurant space on the first floor.
  • 26 Brackett St—has been the home of Blue Hydrangea, it’s across the street from Outliers Eatery and next to a new coffee shop called Omi’s that’s under construction.
  • 769 Congress St—for a few years 769 served as headquarters for The Quimby Colony. 1935-2009 it was the home of the Roma restaurant. As part of the renovations to the Roma it now has a very nice commercial kitchen. Downstairs from the restaurant used to be the old Bramhall Pub.
  • 870 Congress St—there a first floor space for lease located in the Maine Medical Center parking garage almost across the street from La Bodega Latina.
  • 3 Deering Ave—until last year this was the home of Mr Sandwich & Mrs. Muffin. Street parking is less than ideal but it’s very near Maine Medical and could be successful as a lunch alternative for hospital employees as well as serve the Parkside neighborhood that it is a part of.


  • Amergian Bros on Pearl Stthe sign for this neighborhood market is one of the last vestiges of a large Armenian community that thrived here during the early 20th century. With the development of Bayside taking place perhaps it’s time to see this historic location once again serve as a neighborhood market.
  • 249 Congress St—Lee Farrington did an excellent job of converting this former hair salon into a restaurant. It’s unfortunate that Figa closed but it would be even sadder to see this space go unused.
  • 337 Cumberland Avethe building that Maria’s Ristorante is located in is for sale. According to the listing the restaurant will be relocating.
  • 646 Forest Avethe former StarEast Cafe in Woodfords Corner is available. It’s adjacent to Bayou Kitchen. Parking in this intersection can be a bit challenging.
  • 184 Saint John Stthe Eagle’s Club is for sale. The building has a commercial kitchen.
  • Share a Space—there are plenty of restaurant’s in town that are only open for dinner and closed up for breakfast and lunch, or vice versa. There’s a great opportunity here to more fully utilize the commercial kitchens that already exist. Artemisia Cafe is a great example of this. The owner has leased out the space to a chef who runs a separate dinner restaurant there 4 nights a week.

Give a shout out in the comments or email me at anestes@portlandfoodmap.com if there are any additional properties I’ve overlooked and I’ll add them to the list.

4 comments on “Location, Location, Location No. 2

  1. Great post, thanks for the hard work! Learned some things for sure. Compass Rose is already closed?? It was only open, what, a month? Hope there were no family tragedies or anything.

    Appreciated the mention of Scales. I really liked that place and miss it. Also, would love to see the Bramhall reopen.

    The properties you have listed that interest me the most are the one’s that might have cheap(er) rent. I would love to see more places of the Po’ and Pickles, Kim’s Sandwiches, dumpling shop, Miccuci’s takeout, big fat gyro sort of thing. Hope that makes sense. I’m famished as I write this.

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