Location, Location, Location No. 3 (Updated)

There are 20+ restaurants and other food-related businesses currently under development in Portland and new ventures are being announced all the time. The demand for vacant restaurants and retail space remains quite high. So, once again, I’ve put together this list of retail spaces to help out anyone who’s searching for real estate to get their new venture off the ground.

If there are any good spots 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

  • 245 Commercial St—this space was the home of The Salt Exchange for the past 5 years.
  • 13 Exchange St—until very recently 13 Exchange Street was occupied by the Old Port House of Jerky.
  • 34 Exchange St—until late last year this was the location of JL Coombs.
  • 57 Exchange St—Country Noel is located in the basement space on the corner of Exchange and Middle. They’re closing at the end of January.
  • 90 Exchange St—this restaurant space had been occupied by Thai 9, before that it has been a succession of establishments: Little Seoul, Greek Corner, Bandol and Rachel’s.
  • 363 Fore St—over the last couple years this space was a Dunkin Donuts and then an Orange Leaf franchise. It would be nice to see this store front on the corner of Fore and Market occupied by a local business rather than yet another national chain.
  • 367 Fore St—on Fore Street near Bull Feeney’s.
  • 420 Fore St—this is the former home of Joe’s NY Pizza which went out of business after a fire broke out in the building a couple years ago.
  • 455 Fore St—right on the corner of Fore and Union Streets, this space used to house Gingko Blue.
  • 465 Fore St—for a few month last year this was a vegan juice bar called Liquid M2; it’s adjacent to Dean’s Sweets and across the street from Miyake.
  • 24 Free St—across from Sur Lie, this was the original home of Sapporo in 1985.
  • 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. Hugo’s, Eventide, Duckfat, Eat Ender and Miccuci’s are all right in the immediate vicinity.
  • 151 Middle St—this listing on Loopnet indicates that both the Bull Moose and Videoport spaces are both for lease.
  • 15 Monument Square—This was the location of the Portland branch of Wannawaf for a season, prior to that it had been the home of Cobblestones.
  • 11 Temple St—this is the former Minot’s Flower Shop on the corner of Temple and Federal Streets.
  • Widgery  Wharf—a new construction project on Commercial Street that includes a 5,175 sq ft restaurant space.

Art District

  • 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.
  • 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 renovating the building; a retail space is planned for the first floor.
  • First floor of the Schwartz Building—the building at the intersection of High and Congress is still under construction. Once it’s finished the corner space on the first floor could be a really sweet street cafe.

West End

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 79 Mellen St—the Mellen Street Market building is for sale.
  • 72 Pine St—a small street level commercial condo in Andrews Square is for sale.
  • 260 Saint John St—the former Jan Mae restaurant in the Saint John strip mall is available.
  • 237 Spring St—this store is located at the corner of Spring and Clark Street is for lease. It used to be the Spring Street Variety store.


  • 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. Perhaps it’s time to see this historic location once again serve as a neighborhood market.
  • 337 Cumberland Avethe building that Maria’s Ristorante is located in is for sale. According to the listing the restaurant will relocate.
  • 45 Marginal Waythe old Century Tire property is being turned into the Century Plaza strip mall. Two national franchises have already signed on, two spaces remain.
  • Midtown—the new plans for Midtown include 87,0000 sq ft of retail space located on the first floor of the buildings.

East End/Washington Ave/India St

  • Bay House—this new set of building near India Street has several ground floor retail spaces available.
  • 229 Congress St—the space to the right of Ramen Suzukiya currently occupied by Goody G’s
  • 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.
  • 58 Washington Ave—this space was the former home of Falmouth Flower & Gifts.


  • 34 Vannah Stthis space has housed a number of neighborhood markets over the past few years. It garnered some attention in 2014 when Hugo’s/Eventide briefly considered leasing it.
  • 1207 Forest Avefor several decades this had been the home of the Wok Inn.
  • 1706 Forest Avefor many this was a neighborhood variety store called Papa’s Place. I’ve heard that since then it’s been renovated and there’s a new commercial kitchen on the premise.
  • 906 Brighton Avethis space was formerly occupied by La Familia restaurant.
  • 1363 Washington Avethis space is currently occupied by Sala Thai.
  • Pine Tree Shopping Mallseveral different store fronts in the mall are available for lease including, presumably, the Full Belly Deli space.
  • 305 Rte 1, Yarmouth—this building was recently Oscar’s New American and before that was home to the Sea Grass.

Some of the best spots out there aren’t officially on the market. If there’s a space you’re interested in, it never hurts to talk with the current occupant and see if you can work out a deal that they’re happy with. They move to another address and you get the perfect location for your  business.

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.

27 comments on “Location, Location, Location No. 3 (Updated)

  1. What’s the deal with the bull moose/videoport listing? Says both available with 3 month notice. Sounds more like them wanting to boot out those two and jack up the rents.

  2. I seriously doubt that eith Bullmoose or video port is for lease as particularly Bullmoose is highly profitable business.

  3. LOL, not at all. Just trying to be helpful. I have no financial interest in any of these building. I do want restaurant industry people who are searching for a space to have a resource to make that search a bit easier.

  4. Well if they’re seeing country Noel’s spot getting jacked up to 10k a month, plus they have anthropologie going above , they must be trying to cash in. Bull moose could find a better first floor spot.

  5. Speaking of Bull Moose / Videoport, I was surprised the last time I went in there to find that the space upstairs that used to house the tea shop appears to be completely sealed off. I wonder what the plan is for that space.

  6. Wow, this makes it seem like Portland is a ghost town. I would not be at all surprised to see Videoport close, but it would be sad.

  7. Any idea what is going in on both sides of what was once Shanghai Tokyo on Congress? I forget what the restaurant is now but both side locations are for lease/under contract, I believe.

  8. The restaurant is called Golden Lotus (511 Congress St). I’m not sure why the other spaces in the building are for lease.

  9. Think they moved out those businesses next to golden lotus for stronger anchor tenants, which I think was said by the art gallery there. That plaza has been a waste in my opinion . Feels like it’s set back 2000 feet. They should build out to sidewalk.

    Is that restaurant from blue rooster(not Damien) that was going into Mesa verde dead?

  10. Also: I have heard that, since the Reali family decided not to reopen the Village Cafe at Bay House, the condo agreements specifically forbid any of the retail spaces from being a restaurant. I don’t have proof, though.

  11. What a great list, Anestes! We’ve looked at a few of these spaces; rent is still reasonable (from the markets we’re coming from), but what isn’t feasible is bringing some of these spaces up to code or upfitting them from retail to restaurant. But that being said, the location/potential on some of these spaces is worth the investment, and there are still a lot of under-represented cuisines in Portland. Hope these spaces don’t sit empty for too long!

  12. Nick, I think you mean Lazzari. It’s still under development. It’s Tom Barr’s (from Taco Escobarr) project, not Damian’s.

  13. Seems like the brand new spaces are hardest to get leased. Maine med on congress, bayhouse, ocean gateway garage. Unless we can stop these nimby groups opposing residential height, I have no idea how we could support all the new infill planned around town

    The one to keep your eye on involves the recent sale of one and two portland square. I’ve heard the massive price paid means they have to have plans for a tower/complex in the parking lot next to it

  14. The space above Bullmoose and such is part of Anthropologie. I’m told that area’ is their dressing rooms.

  15. I didn’t think Sala Thai had closed; according to the listing it says “Current restaurant tenant renting space. For more info on this, call broker. ” I haven’t checked on them lately, though.

    Glad you caught the Papa’s Place/India Bazaar listing!

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