Restaurant Real Estate: October 2021

Welcome to the October 2021 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/retailers to locate their next business.

Even in these tough times for the hospitality industry some people are pursuing their dreams and opening new food businesses. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this new resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End

101 York St – a 15,000 sq ft sub-dividable space in the new building on the corner of York and High Street is available for $15-20/sq ft (NNN). The space already has a hood vent and grease traps installed.

Arts District

554 Congress St – 1,621 sq ft former Dunkin’ Donuts space with hood for $17.04/sq ft (NNN).

555 Congress St – the former Five Fifty-Five building is for sale for $2,400,000.

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft on first and basement floors for $30/sq ft (MG).


170 Anderson St – 2,000 – 3,500 sq ft in East Bayside available for $15/sq ft (NNN).

15 Chestnut St – the 14,000 sq ft building that was the former home of Grace is for sale for $3,730,000.

360 Cumberland Ave – two spaces (900 sq ft on Cumberland Ave and a 1,000 sq ft space in a building set back from the street) are available for $24-25/sq ft (NNN).

31 Diamond St – this 2,800 – 22,034 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $16/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

30 Danforth St – 3 units (1,800, 1,881, 2,900 sq ft) are for lease at $2,475 – $3,950/month (MG).

88 Danforth St – a 1,231 sq ft free standing building on Danforth Street is for sale for $320,000.

100 Fore St – 1,914 sq ft of space that the listing says is “ideally suited for a restaurant use” for $27-30/sq ft (NNN).

446 Fore St – 1,600 – 3,400 sq ft in the former Pearl space with entrances on Wharf and Fore Streets is available for $30-40/sq ft (MG).

505 Fore St – The 2,996 sq ft former Pizzarino space is available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

40 Free St – A new building is under construction on Free Street by JB Brown. The first floor will have 4/5 storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft. The construction is expected to be completed in 2021. The rate is $30/sq ft (NNN).

38 Market St – a 1,200 subterranean space near the intersection with Milk Street for $1,175/month (MG).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

111 Middle St – this 1,600 sq ft space has a storied past as the former location of Piccolo and before that Bresca. It’s available for $3,500/month (NNN), the building is also for sale.

1 Monument Square – 1,500 sq ft of first floor space for $3,125/month (MG).

28 Monument Square – the former Coco Cones space in the Public Market House is for lease. Contact the Market manager at (207) 939-0980 for information.

25 Pearl St – 1,689 sq ft former Subway space available for $30/sq ft (MG).

1 Pleasant St – 850 sq ft of space adjacent to Hi Bombay for $4,000/month (NNN).

3 Portland Square – This new building will include 2,500 – 20,000 square feet of retail space for$28.50/sq ft.

3 Spring St – the 2,554 – 3,500 sq ft former Lio space is available at $19/sq ft (NNN).

41 Wharf St – the former Jager space is available; 1,107 sq ft for $43/sq ft (MG).

42 Wharf St – this 3,770 sq ft space in the Old Port includes a 2,000 sq ft patio, $45/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

47 India St – the former Lois’ Market; 1,000 – 3,300 sq ft for $3,000 – $8,200/month (NNN).

100 Fore St – 3,184 sq ft are available in the new WEX building for $27 – 30/sq ft (NNN).

22 Hancock St – 978 sq ft for $2,300/month (MG).

Forest Ave

333 Forest Ave – a 2,468 retail space is available for $16/sq ft (MG).

701 Forest Ave – this former Rite Aid building is being converted and has 4 retail spaces available for $20-25/sq ft (NNN).

945 Forest Ave – 500-5,510 sq ft of space in the former Photo Market building for $12/sq ft (NNN).

1190 Forest Ave – located right in the center of Morrill’s Corner. 3,000 – 5,082 sq ft at $12 – 20/sq ft (NNN).

1569 Forest Ave – a 1,400 sq ft “soon to be completed restaurant/retail building” is available on outer Forest Ave.


865 Brighton Ave – a 1,232 sq ft former gas station/quick market is for sale for $400,000.

1041 Brighton Ave – 1,500 -7,000 sq ft of space available in the strip mall that’s the longtime location of Panda Garden. The space is available for $10-13/sq ft (NNN).

437 Congress St – 1,000 sq ft for $20/sq ft (MG).

441 Congress St – The 2,400 sq ft former home of Guitar Grave across the street from 1 Monument Square is available for $20/sq ft.

155 Riverside St – the Season’s Bar & Grille and Banquet Center is for lease. The 23,750 sq ft facility includes parking and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

240 Saint John St – 1,600 – 10,000 sq ft in Union Station Plaza for $12-14/sq ft (NNN)

Westgate Shopping Center – two spaces are for lease at $17-37/sq ft (NNN).

158 Pickett St, South Portland – the former home of 158 Pickett Street Cafe is for lease. Call (207) 615-2858 for more information.

23 Lincoln St, Biddeford – a 12,600 sq ft space divided equally on two floors, each floor has a kitchen with hoods is available for $11/sq ft (NNN). Contact Tony Delois for more information at

Gather, Yarmouth – Owner Matthew Chappell has put his Yarmouth restaurant, Gather, up for sale.

Biscuits & Co, Biddeford – Biscuits & Co is closing on October 16th and the business and equipment is for sale. Contact for more information

Other Spaces – some vacated restaurant spaces haven’t yet been formerly listed for by the owner. Check the closing announcements for the latest information.


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.

Fork Food Lab Expanding

MaineBiz reports that Fork Food Lab is planning to move out of their digs in Bayside to a larger space in South Portland.

Fork Food Lab, a Portland shared commercial kitchen and business incubator, has signed an agreement to buy a bigger space in South Portland to alleviate current capacity constraints.

“We signed a purchase and sales agreement for 42,000 square feet in South Portland, which is about eight times what we have now,” Bill Seretta, Fork Food Lab’s executive director and president of its Yarmouth-based nonprofit owner, told Mainebiz on Wednesday.

The article indicates “[i]f the deal does close, Seretta said a move would occur in stages, over the course of two years.”

Friends & Family Opening Thursday

Friends & Family (instagram) is slated to open on Thursday. The new bar/cafe and specialty market is located in the former Vinland space at  593 Congress Street.

The 30-seat counter service eatery will serve wine, beer, and aperitivos along with menu items such as cheese and chacuterie boards and small plates like chicory salad and pork rillettes on toast. A range of sandwiches will be added to the menu in the coming weeks.

Owners Cecily Upton and Michael Malyniwsky situated their restaurant near the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Stage, Space Gallery, and State Theater to be a casual space to gather pre/post a show or visit to a gallery.

Upton grew up in Maine. Early in her career she worked at former Portland restaurants Natasha’s and Pepperclub, as well as Space Gallery and the PMA. In New York she was part of the front of house staff at Gabrielle Hamilton’s restaurant Prune. She worked as the youth programs director at Slow Food USA before co-founding FoodCorps. Upton returned to Maine in 2015.

Malyniwsky grew up in Ottawa and moved to the US in 2001. The last 7 years he’s worked in California where most recently he was the founding chef of Cellarmaker House of Pizza in San Francisco.  Malyniwsky was on the opening teams of Birch & Barley in DC, and was the sous chef at CityZen working with Michelin-starred chef Eric Ziebold.

Hours to start will be 11:30 am to 8 pm Thursday through Sunday. Monday night will be pizza night open for evening service, 4 to 8 pm. 

The Grateful Cup

A new business called The Grateful Cup (instagram) is under construction at 46 Veranda Street in the space formerly occupied by Union Bagel Company. The Grateful Cup will be a juice and smoothie cafe and will also serve coffee, salads and wraps.

The four founders (Samantha Allen, James and Amy Harder and Jessica Rexford) are owners or managers at the Float Harder Relaxation Center just a block or so away at the corner of Veranda and Washington. They’re launching the cafe to expand the range of “healthy and convenient lunch options” that they were looking for themselves in the neighborhood.

An opening date for The Grateful Cup is TBD as they work through the remainder of the renovations.

Upcoming Events: Pasta Club, Goods/Woods, Open Creamery Day

Wednesday – it’s the kick-off day for the 11-week Ada’s Pasta Club from Ada’s Portland (the deadline to sign-up is Monday October 4th).

Thursday – Friends & Family will open at 11:30 am.

SaturdayOxbow Brewing is holding their annual Goods from the Woods event in Newcastle, and Seth Goldstein will be speaking at SoPo Seafood about the history of the fishing industry in South Portland.

Sunday – it’s Maine Open Creamery Day—visit the Maine Cheese Guild website to locate a creamery near you.

October 11thLuke’s Lobster is holding an Indigenous Peoples’ Day Dinner.

October 17thCraft Curbside and Portersfield Cider are collaborating on a 5-course cider dinner, and Mami, Sur Lie and Austin Street are collaborating on a pop-up event to celebrate Sur Lie’s 7th anniversary, and Norumbega Cidery is teaching a cider making workshop (also taking place October 24th).

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.

Regards at 547 Congress Street

A new Los Angeles-inspired restaurant called Regards (website, instagram) is under construction at 547 Congress Street with plans to open this winter.

Owners Neil Zabriskie, Kimberly Lund and Cameron Lewin plan to serve a menu that melds the “fresh, clean [approach of] California cuisine which is intrinsically tied to techniques and flavors from Mexico” with “produce and vegetable driven dishes while shining a spotlight on the bounty that Maine provides.” Chef Zabriskie clarified that Regards isn’t a Mexican restaurant but those food “memories, techniques and flavors are a deep part of LA and my palate”.

Regards will have a natural wine and agave focused beverage program.

Regards will be located in the space that’s been the home to Emilitsa for the past 13 years. The Greek restaurant held their last dinner service on Saturday September 25th.

Ocean Street in SoPo

This week’s Portland Phoenix has a report on the growing number of restaurants and food businesses on Ocean Street in South Portland.

“We chose this area because we knew, from personal experience, that all our friends and people we knew that were of the age to want to go to breweries were moving out of Portland, and South Portland was becoming a cool place to live,” Julia Dilger [co-owner of Foulmouthed Brewing] said. “We knew that young families in this area wanted a place to come with their kids and not have to go over the bridge.”

My Kitchen Your Table: Kelly Nelson

Welcome to the September edition of My Kitchen, Their Table, an interview series with the chefs and culinary professionals who work hard to satisfy our small city’s big appetite. This month we’re featuring an interview with Kelly Nelson from Fore Street. Photos and videos will continue to expand on the story throughout the rest of the month on instagram, so stay tuned.

She is unmistakable, eccentric, and nothing short of fabulous. Her hair shifts from one vibrant shade to the next (it’s currently flamingo pink) and cephalopod tattoos wrap her arms and legs. On Instagram she’s @geeksquid, and if you follow her you are well aware of her fondness for hairless rats. After contributing to the Portland food scene in various ways for over a decade, she now revels in the role of wine coordinator at Fore Street. She is, of course, the one and only Kelly Nelson.

Kelly’s wine expertise has been years in the making. In fact, there was a time when she disliked red wine altogether. Long before she began curating thoughtful and intentional wine lists, Kelly attended College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. At the ripe age of nineteen, she became the kitchen manager at Reel Pizza, but her personality screamed front-of-the-house. Since then, she’s held nearly every front-facing restaurant role outside of the kitchen, from host to general manager.

In 2008, Kelly left Bar Harbor for Portland where she was persistent in her pursuit of working at Local 188. “Local 188 was a hotbed of creativity. It was one of those places that everyone wanted to be,” Kelly explains. She dropped her resume off multiple times, but it wasn’t until she bumped into chef-owner Jay Villani at Whole Foods that she finally got her foot in the door. She told him how much she wanted to work there and he responded with, “Yeah yeah kid, just show up at 4:30 pm.”

Kelly was a loyal employee of Local 188 and its sister restaurant, Sonny’s (now closed) for six years. She rose through the ranks, eventually running events and building wine lists. She continued to expand her wine knowledge at the beloved Italian restaurant, Piccolo (now closed), for more than five years. Then, in January 2019, Kelly became general manager and wine coordinator at Evo Kitchen + Bar where she also planned wildly popular monthly wine dinners. While most of her expertise is self-taught, she has a Level 2 Award in Wines from Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and is also a member of Maine Sommeliers Society, a blind tasting group run by Erica Archer of Wine Wise.

Since April 2021, Kelly has been breathing new life into Fore Street’s wine list. Vintage wines and Napa Cabernet Sauvignon are still plentiful but now you can also try something a little off the beaten path. Read on to learn her favorite wines on Fore Street’s expansive list, her go-to Portland restaurants, and where she ate her most memorable meal nearly ten years ago.


AA: How was Local 188 influential to your career in wine?
KN: When I started at Local 188, I knew nothing about wine. I didn’t even like red wine then. I drank Pinot Grigio because I knew how to pronounce it. I learned about wines from Gary Boycott, who is now the operations manager. He had an incredible way of translating what was washing over his tongue when he tasted wine. Without him, I wouldn’t be as passionate about wine as I am now or have had that kind of introduction that made this path possible.

AA: How do you pair wine with food?
KN: There are two ways of pairing wine with food; one is with a wine that cuts through the richness of the dish. It has that palette cleansing experience. The other is with a wine that becomes one with the dish. Each bite of the food and sip of the wine becomes a full-circle experience. You’re not quite sure where one begins and the other ends.

AA: What is your favorite winery or wine region?
KN: Chateau Musar in Lebanon is my favorite winery. It’s one of the most unique wineries in the world. It’s all French varietals grown in the Bekaa Valley. Every sip is layered with spice, acidity, fruit, and tannins. It fascinates me that it comes from such a war-torn country and a place of strife and pain, but also so much beauty. It’s all the things that I love in life trapped inside a bottle. Evo really gave me the opportunity to highlight that winery.

AA: How does your wine list at Fore Street differ from the one you created at Evo Kitchen + Bar?
KN: At Evo, I wanted to create an esoteric wine list that connected wine with food in the way that it is meant to be. Their food is more delicate and vegetarian-based. Because of that, you don’t need tannic, aggressive wines. You need wines that are more quaffable in nature. At Fore Street, I wanted to blow a little dust off of the wine list. I’ve been designing the wine list to make it all-inclusive. I have everything from the classics to a Gaglioppo from Calabria, which pairs well with grilled meats. Of course, that’s what Fore Street is known for. You need wines that balance all that smoke and char.

AA: What are some of your favorite white wines by the bottle at Fore Street?
KN: The Château Simone Palette Blanc (2014) is a beautiful expression of a varietal that you don’t hear about often. It has the right amount of oxidative notes and this really interesting full-body palette without being too cloying. It goes beautifully with our turnspit roasted chicken, which is next level. I also love the Dona Maria Amantis Reserva Viognier (2016) from Portugal. Viognier can be a very temperamental variety. With the right amount of care, it can either be very bright and light or rich and voluptuous. This one has nice spice and caramelized notes. It tastes like it’s from Portugal.

AA: What is one of your favorite red wines by the bottle at Fore Street?
KN: One bottle that I added to our list is the 2013 Movia from Slovenia. I actually priced it a little lower because I want to make it more accessible to the general public. It’s sultry with dark fruit, like blueberry and bramble. It has a lot of depth, but also a burst of acidity that opens up your palette. That’s what sets this one apart from pinot noir.

AA: Where do you go to eat in Portland?
KN: One of my favorite restaurants in town, and has been since they opened in 2011, is Schulte and Herr. Brian and Steffi are some of the most kind, generous, humble, hospitality-driven people that I know. Their restaurant has that hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop kind of feeling. It’s one of the only places in town that is BYOB. The potato pancakes are to die for and hopefully they will bring back the Sunday Brunch. For the Sunday roast, they do this beautiful big pan of roast beef or pork with gravy and potato dumplings. I’ve never been anywhere that’s as consistent as they are.

AA: Where else do you dine often in Portland?
KN: Izakaya Minato. I’m a huge fan of Thomas Cooke’s food and Elaine Alden does an incredible job with the wine and sake list. I love their warm cozy atmosphere and fine detailed food that’s also so comforting. Again, I’ve never had a bad meal there. My favorite dish is the age ochazuke. I usually get at least two servings.

AA: Where have you had an incredibly memorable meal?
KN: At Hugo’s on January 4th, 2012. It was my birthday. I still have the menu from that night on my refrigerator. Nicholas, my partner, planned this incredible meal with the then chef-owner, Rob Evans. He is wildly talented. He made twenty courses and it ran the gamut. The Fantasy of Lamb was one of my favorite dishes. It looked like a Salvador Dalí landscape of food. The whole meal was memorable beyond imagination.

AA: Are there any newer restaurants that you’re loving right now?
KN: Leeward is so good. Raquel Stevens is amazing. She put together a wine list that I’m obsessed with. It’s so unique that I get overwhelmed by how awesome it is. I just asked her to pick a wine for me. The chef, Jake Stevens, made a Nero pasta with squid that was awesome and a stuffed squash blossom with maple cream, mushrooms, and fried lemon. It was so interesting and really well done.

AA: We know you’re a big fan of Ruski’s. What is it that you love about the West End institution?
KN: I love Ruski’s for many reasons. The main one is comfort. Ruski’s is that old comfy robe that you’ve had for years that shows its age in the best ways — frayed and stained it keeps the importance of nostalgia at the forefront of your mind. I’ve literally walked from my house in my pj’s and robe to enjoy a beverage with some of my favorites both behind and at the bar.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

A few notes on the restaurants mentioned in this article: Local 188, Evo, Izakaya Minato, Leeward, and Ruski’s are open with indoor and outdoor seating. Schulte & Herr is open for takeout. Hugo’s has been closed during the pandemic. Fore Street is open for indoor seating—reservations are strongly recommended but if you don’t get one join the line that forms starting at around 4:30 to grab a seat at the bar or one of the seats held back for walk-ins each night.

Previous editions of My Kitchen Their Table have featured Courtney Loreg, Chad Conley  Atsuko Fujimoto, Matt Ginn, Jordan Rubin, Cara Stadler, Thomas Takashi Cooke, Ilma Lopez, Bowman Brown, and Brian Catapang.

The My Kitchen Their Table series is brought to life through the talent and hard work of food writer Angela Andre, and the generous sponsorship by Evergreen Credit Union and The Boulos Company.

Free Street Restaurant & Cocktail Bar

Eli Shapiro along with business partners Jay Town from New York and James Duhamel from Falmouth have leased the former Binga’s Stadium location where they plan to open a restaurant and cocktail bar called Free Street (instagram). Free Street looks forward to being a go to location for diners looking to grab a meal before or after events at the Cross Insurance Arena, and to also be a destination for Portlanders and visitors regardless of their evening plans. Shapiro is a former Boston-based bartender who will be Free Street’s co-owner and general manager.

The 17,000 square foot space is currently under renovation. The interior will be a blend of the former Binga’s Stadium layout plus wall murals by Max Erwin and Alexis Wells, some new furnishings, taxidermy, rainbow colored epoxy floor designs, and sculpture to create a truly  unique space.  For a quick take on the vibe they’re aiming for read this recent instagram post.

The first floor will feature a bar and lounge with seating for 175+ people. Additionally Free Street will have a large basement performance space where Free Street plans to showcase local and national talent that focuses on original music.

Chef Josh Carraha will be serving a menu of casual pub-style food, Shapiro has plans for a draft cocktail program along with novel house-made ice cube. Both the cocktail and food menus are currently under development so stay tuned for more details. One drink sure to be on the menu is the Recess which is garnished with an ice cream sandwich.

Upcoming Events: Lager Dog, Wine Dinner, Gluten-Free Dinner, Etc

Monday Lager Dog will be popping-up at Oxbow today.

Tuesday Cocktail Mary is holding a wine dinner.

ThursdayMrs. Gee Free Living and Sur Lie are collaborating on a gluten-free dinner.

October 9thOxbow Brewing is holding their annual Goods from the Woods event in Newcastle.

October 17thCraft Curbside and Portersfield Cider are collaborating on a 5-course cider dinner, and Mami, Sur Lie and Austin Street are collaborating on a pop-up event to celebrate Sur Lie’s 7th anniversary.

For more information on these and other upcoming food happenings in the area, visit the event calendar.