Food Trucks: DiMillo’s, 2021 Surge, Finder Apps

DiMillo’s has announced plans to launch a food truck this year called DiMillo’s on a Roll. The truck will be serving “lobster rolls, clam chowder and some sweet treats” and will be located in the front of the DiMillo’s lot on Commercial Street. DiMillo’s hope to launch their truck by the end of May.

They are not alone in seeing opportunity in opening a mobile business this year. Vy Banh Mi launched in March and there are at least another 15 new food trucks aiming to operating in the Portland area this year: Boomin Burrito Bus, Cheese the Day, Curbside Comforts, DiMillo’s on a Roll, Hi Bar Brunch Truck, Highroller Lobster Co., Hunt & Alpine, Iron Clad Eats, La Fritanga, Paddy Wagon, Snowology 207, Sok Sabai, The Pink Waffle, The Shuck Wagon, and Wicked Fresco.

So many new food trucks are launching that WGME’s Dustin Bonk has reported on the 2021 Food Truck Surge, and Nick Schroeder from the Bangor Daily News has reported on services that help customers find the food trucks that are in business on any given day.

Eighty8 & Sugar Giant

Two businesses have found a new home:

Eighty8 Donuts (website, facebook, instagram) has leased 225 Federal Street, the longtime location of Federal Spice in the Old Port. Owners Ellen O’Keefe Garrett Champlin hope to open the new donut shop by early June. The new shop won’t mean the retirement of the Eighty8 food truck ‘Rosie’ which will still be at events and on the Eastern Prom on Sundays.

Sugar Giant (websiteinstagram) is moving into the Clark Street space in the West End formerly occupied by Roll Call. Sugar Giant is a takeout bakery concept launched by Little Giant restaurant during the pandemic.

Vagabundo Salvadoran Pop-up

This Friday a Salvadoran pop-up called Vagabundo (instagram) will be having a few items on the take-out menu at Central Sandwich and Provisions (aka Central Provisions).

The Vagabundo menu will include:

  • Tamale de Cerdo – wrapped in banana leaf, braised pork, chickpea, potatoes, olives
  • Chilaquiles de Frijoles y Queso – tortilla stuffed with beans and cheese pan fried in an egg batter served with spicy tomato sauce
  • Pan con Pollo – Braised chicken, watercress, tomato,cucumber, fermented radish on a baguette style bread

With Vagabundo chef Khristian Martinez plans to share the traditional and modern takes on the Salvadoran food he grew up eating. Follow Vagabundo on instagram to stay in the loop on future events.

Zephyr Ice on Spring Street

Zephyr Ice (instagram) has leased 129 Spring Street, the former home of the Maine Juice Co. Owners Julie and Don Martin plan to use the space as a commissary kitchen for their food cart. Early this summer they hope to also open up as a takeout retail location for their shave ice treats.

129 Spring Street was the original location of Miyake before moving to Fore Street and subsequently was home to the Miyake Diner izakaya and Home Catering.

Food Trucks: Cheese, Moose, Burritos

Here are some updates on the 2021 food truck season:

Starting in May Cheese the Day (facebookinstagram) is planning to be at Bunker Brewing on Tuesdays, Battery Steele on Wednesdays, and Foundation Brewing on some Thursdays. They also plan to make a monthly stop on Saturdays at Three of Strong. The concept for Cheese the Day is “grilled cheese for adults made with regionally sourced, seasonal, fresh, quality ingredients, with a bit of indulgence.”

A new food truck called the Boomin Burrito Bus (instagram) is under construction and the owners hope to launch sometime in May. Here’s a look at their menu.

Another new food truck called The Salty Moose (instagram) is also under construction. Owner Taylor Stanton is the former chef de cuisine at David’s KPT in Kennebunkport and executive chef at Tides Beach Club in Goose Rocks Beach. Stanton plans to be located in Limerick at the Gneiss Brewing Company Friday – Sunday, and hopes to launch in May. The truck menu will include gluten free and vegetarian options.

A&C Grocery

The Portland Phoenix caught up with owner Joe Fournier about the evolution of A&C Grocery and his search for a new location.

Fournier said he’s not in a rush to find a new home for the business, since his lease won’t expire until next February. But he said he wants the new space to continue to be a “reflection of what Portland is,” which he described as a “melting pot of personalities and weirdness.”

He said he’s keeping an open mind on where the next phase of A&C Grocery, which is named after his two daughters, will be. But he did say he’d prefer to find something closer to downtown rather than staying on Munjoy Hill.

 

Freeport Mast Landing

Westbrook-based Mast Landing Brewing will be opening an 11,000 square foot brewery and tasting room in Freeport later this year at Freeport Crossing.

Mast Landing’s two-story home at Freeport Crossing will serve as a year-round destination that showcases small-batch recipes made and offered exclusively at the Freeport location, as well as some of the brewery’s flagship beers. The venue will feature Freeport Crossing’s signature all-glass curtain wall, allowing for tremendous natural light, as well as a spacious outdoor area accessible from a garage door style entrance. The tasting room will prioritize a warm, family-friendly atmosphere, and will accommodate guests with high top tables, comfortable lounge seating, and bar service. 

Outdoor Dining

Eater Boston has assembled some suggestions for outdoor drinking and dining in Portland.

As spring slowly approaches, and as eaters begin itching to get outside and dine al fresco, patio dining in Portland, Maine is re–emerging. The City of Portland has expanded its rules for outdoor spaces, which means diners will find more open-air options than in previous years. After a snowy (and freezing cold) winter, who doesn’t want to take advantage of as much time in the sun as possible?

For the full list of outdoor options see this list on Portland Food Map.

Process Improvement

Dave Aceto from Arcadia, racial equity activist Tori Lyn and Alec Haviland from Dear Dairy are working together to identify needed improvements to the Portland permitting and inspection process. Here’s how Haviland wrote about this effort on instagram,

Dave Aceto, Tori Lyn and I have been working on a project to try to make the permitting and inspection process in Portland more equitable, more accessible and more efficient. After slogging through the process this past year I felt like, if we came together as constituents and legislators, we could build a better future for all current and prospective business owners. We’ve all heard the joke made when talking about our new projects, You: “So we are planning to be open in June!” Them: “Oh that’s so cute! So we’ll see you in February?” Honestly, I feel like we joke about it so we don’t cry about it. I sincerely believe that, especially coming out of the pandemic and into a time of healing and growth, our community needs to come together to make it easier for everyone to grow their projects.

As part of their process Lyn, Haviland and Aceto are looking to get input from a wide variety of business owners about their own experiences. You can contribute to their efforts by filling out this survey.

Higgins Beach Market

Big Tree Hospitality—the restaurant group that includes Eventide, The Honey Paw, XO, and Hugo’s—are the new owners of Higgins Beach Market (webiste, facebook, instagram)  in Scarborough. Big Tree intends to operate the seasonal market much like it has been with no plans to convert it to an outpost of their Middle Street restaurants.

It is our hope that Higgins Beach Market continues to be the well-loved local mainstay it has been for many seasons’ past, serving the Higgins Beach community and beyond. In keeping with the market’s previous offerings we will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, as well as grab-and-go options, local produce, beer and wine, fresh flowers, and some sundries. 

Higgins Beach Market will be  open 7 days a week, 7 am – 8 pm starting on Memorial Day weekend.