Smalls Staff Forms Union

The staff at Smalls (websiteinstagram) on Brackett Street have formed a union which has been voluntarily recognized by the business owners. Smalls is the third Portland food and beverage business with a unionized staff. The other two are Cong Tu Bot and Coffee by Design.

The One Small Union is joining the New England Joint Board Unite Here organization which represents “workers in the textile, garment, manufacturing, warehousing, laundry, human service, and hospitality industries in New England and New York”.

Brea Lu Cafe Reopened

Brea Lu Cafe (website, facebook, instagram) reopened at their new Westbrook location this morning. The new 109 seat cafe—more than doubles the capacity of their former cafe on Cumberland Street— is located at 511 Main Street.

Brea Lu is open daily 7am to 3pm serving a menu of breakfast standards, a range of omlette variations and lunch dishes like the Cuban pork sandwich shown above.

Upcoming Events & Valentine’s List

MondayAnoche is holding their La Familia Paella Party.

WednesdayFood Coma and Oak & Ember are serving a collaboration dinner with a menu focused on Japanese and Norther Chinese cuisine with special sake, beer and Japanese inspired cocktails available.

Saturday – The Portland On Tap beer festival is taking place at the Cross Insurance Arena. Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca and The Purple House.

Valentine’s Day – we’ll be sharing V-Day specials here as restaurants announce them. Please let us know if you see someplace missing. Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year.

  • Alto Terrace – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $85 per person.
  • Black Goat Test Kitchen (Warren) – will be serving a 4-course dinner.
  • Evo Kitchen + Bar – will be serving a 5-course tasting menu for $125 per person. Reservations go live Tuesday.
  • Helm – will be serving a 3-course dinner for $65 per person.
  • Ida’s (Waldoboro) – the wine bar at The Waldoboro Inn in collaboration with The Crooked Spoon is serving a Valentine’s Day dinner for $60 per person.
  • Isa Bistro – will be serving a 3-course dinner (see menu) for $110 per person.
  • Knotted Apron – will be serving a 4-course dinner with champagne and optional wine pairings for $120 per person.
  • Locally Sauced (Yarmouth) – is teaming up with Battery Steele Brewing on a 5-course dinner for $100 per person.
  • Love at First Bite – is offering a variety of Valentine’s Day treats including chocolate dipped strawberries.
  • Me Lon Togo – will be serving a 4-course dinner.
  • Miller’s Table – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $85 per person.
  • Mr. Tuna – has a selection of three Valentine’s Day takeout sushi boxes.
  • Nina June (Rockport) – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $100 per person.
  • Noble Kitchen + Bar (Brunswick) – will be serving a 6-course dinner with optional wine pairings for $115 per person.
  • Novare Res – is serving a 3-course “Belgian Bolognese” dinner with 2 Belgian beers for $60 per person.
  • Ore Nell’s North (Biddeford) – is serving a 3-course dinner with a complimentary glass of bubbly for $49.99 per person.
  • The Alna Store (Alna) – will be serving a 5-course with optional pairings for $95 per person.
  • Thistle & Grouse – will be serving a 3-course dinner for $90 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Twelve – will be serving a 4-course French-inspired dinner.
  • Wander at Longwoods (Cumberland) – will be serving a 4-course dinner for $100 person.
  • Wayside Tavern – will be serving a Roman-inspired dinner for $90 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Woodford F&B – will be open serving their regular menu augmented with some Valentine’s Day specials.
  • Other Options – While we’re waiting for details, check for open reservations on February 14th via OpenTable and Resy.

February 16 – the Fare and Ice food event is taking place in Freeport.

February 18Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti from Chaval and Devin Finigan from Aragosta.

February 21 – A West African Culinary Workshop and Dinner is taking place in Brunswick in collaboration with Jordan Benissan the chef/owner of Me Lon Togo in Rockland.

February 22-24 – The Inn by the Sea is holding their annual Ice Bar and Seafood Celebration.

February 23 – Deryck Todd will be leading a mixology class at Bow Street.

February 27 – Chef Sam Hayward will be participating in a Maine Voices Live event organized by the Press Herald.

March 1-12 – The 16th Annual Maine Restaurant Week is taking place.

March 13Tap & Taste, a gluten-free tasting event, will be taking place at Orange Bike Brewing in collaboration with Mrs. Gee Free Living and 2Gether.

March 28Ballast will be hosting a murder mystery dinner.

April 3 – The Beard Foundation will release the 2024 list of restaurant and chef awards nominees. There are 10 semifinalists from Maine this year.

April 29 – The Good Food Awards winners will be announced. Eight Maine food producers are finalists in the 2024 Good Food awards program.

May 11CiderFeast, an “all-inclusive tasting event celebrates craft ciders from some of the top cider makers in New England and beyond” is taking place.

May 18 – The Maine Wild Wine Fest is taking place in Freeport.

June 10-16Portland Wine Week is taking place.

June 26 – Secret Supper (instagram) is holding a dinner in the Portland area.

June 29 – The 3rd Annual Mast Landing Wavy Days Festival is taking place.

July 25/26 – The Kneading Conference is taking place in Skowhegan.

August 30September 1Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

September 20-22 – The Common Ground Fair will be taking place.

Thai Tree Opens Today

Thai Tree (websiteinstagram) restaurant is opening today. It’s located at 571 Congress Street in the former location of Pom’s Thai Taste. Thai Tree is being launched by Nonsee Oumkasem along with his parents Poj and Tunya Oumkasem—both were chefs at Pom’s since it opened back in 2007.

The menu (see a few pages of it below) includes a wide range of appetizers, skewers, soups, noodle and rice dishes, and curries and stir fries. It features dishes from the Nakhon Ratchasima ‘Korat’ province where the Oumkasem family hails from.

A Madonna-themed cocktail program has options like Express Yourself (rye whiskey, Malibu, Thai coffee, mango, coconut) and Like a Prayer (whiskey, tamarind, coca cola).

Thai Tree is open Monday through Thursday, 11 am – 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm; Friday 11:00 am – 2:30 pm and 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm;  Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm; and Sunday noon – 9:00 pm.

Review of Tacos La Poblanita

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a 3 star review of Tacos La Poblanita in Westbrook.

Despite its blemishes, Tacos La Poblanita is OK by me. Too nice, you say? I challenge you to visit the revivifying, seasonal-affective-disorder-annihilating yellow dining room and not feel the tiniest spark of summer joy. But more to the point: Any restaurant that can deliver a spicy fried-shrimp taco, a well-mixed Michelada and appealing, onion-forward guacamole with fresh-from-the-fryer tortilla chips ($4.25 guacamole, $2.50 chips) deserves a little latitude.

Restaurant Real Estate: February 2024

Welcome to the February 2024 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company—a commercial real estate brokerage that has helped Maine’s restauranteurs buy and lease restaurant spaces since 1975.

This resource gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland (and a few in the surrounding area) that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers and retailers to locate their next business. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End/Parkside

867 Congress St – the 3,200 sq ft former church that had been slated to be the new home of Vena’s is for sale for $775,000.

Arts District

554 Congress St – 1,621 sq ft former Dunkin’ Donuts space with hood for $2,301/month (NNN).

594 Congress St – with the upcoming close of the Congress Street Starbucks, their 2,592 sq ft space in the Upper H. H. Hay Building will become available for $35/sq ft (MG).

600 Congress St – for lease signs are in the window of the ground floor space at the corner of High and Congress. The Schwartz Building has been under renovation for a decade. For more info call (207) 773-7100.

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft of space in a beautiful historic building at the corner of Oak and Free Streets is available for $4,000/month (NNN).


73 Cove St – a 5,519 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is listed for $35/sq ft; it’s expected to become available later this year.

46 Elm St – this 385 sq ft corner space in the parking garage at the corner of Elm Street and Cumberland Ave. It’s available for $500/month (MG).

52 Hanover St – On the first floor of a new building will be 1,500 – 4,500 sq ft retail space available for $30/sq ft (NNN). One spot in the building has earmarked for a coffee shop.

178 Kennebec St – 2,644 sq ft of space are available in a newly constructed Bayside building for $25/sq ft (NNN).

34 Portland St – the 3,400 sq ft building that was formerly occupied by Candy’s is for sale for $525,000. It’s also available to lease for $13.50/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Canal Plaza – 4,284 – 14,412 sq ft of ground floor retail space will be available as part of upcoming renovations; $30/sq ft (NNN).

185 Commercial St – a new building under construction will include 2,334 sq ft of ground floor retail space that will be available in 2024 for $55/sq ft (NNN).

215 Commercial St – 2,327 sq ft of retail space near the corner of Commercial and Dana Streets is available for $65/sq ft (MG).

383 Commercial St – 1,193 – 4,805 square feet of space in a newly constructed building on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

441 Congress St – the 2,400 sq ft former Guitar Grave retail space is available for $15/sq ft (MG).

8 Exchange St – the 3,600 sq ft space formerly occupied by The Bar is available for lease for $33.25/sq ft (MG).

201 Federal St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the new 18-story building under construction at the corner of Temple and Federal Streets. The 527 and 2,300 sq ft spaces are listed at $40/sq ft (MG).

420 Fore St – the space formerly occupied by the Old Port Slice Bar is for lease. The 1,100 – 2,600 sq ft space is available for $55/sq ft (MG).

446 Fore St – a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Fore and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

40 Free St – a 1,511 sq ft space in the new building constructed by JB Brown is available for $27.50/sq ft (NNN).

28 Market St – the 850 sq ft space formerly occupied by Lucky Juju is available for lease for $2,800/month (MG).

46 Market St – the 2,100 sq ft space formerly occupied by Petite Jacqueline is for lease for $42/sq ft (NNN).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

121 Middle St – a 2,482 sq ft retail spot is available for $45/sq ft (MG).

157 Middle St – 1,091 – 5,155 sq ft of retail space is available for $27 – 29.95/sq ft (MG).

5 Milk St – this 2,199 sq ft former hair salon is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

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

28 Monument Square – with the opening of their new location this year, the Mr. Tuna space in the Public Market House will become available.

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

66 Pearl St – 5,796 sq ft of space—the former Bull Moose retail shop—is available for $15.75/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the original Arcadia space is available. The 2,835 sq ft storefront near Dutch’s and Slab is listed for $20/sq ft (NNN).

3 Spring St – the space currently occupied by the Stars & Stripes tasting room is for lease; 2,554 sq ft for $17.50/sq ft (NNN).

3 Spring St – the space currently occupied by Stage Cannabis is for lease; 2,000 sq ft for $15.50/sq ft (NNN).

144 State St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the development in the former Mercy Hospital building on State Street. The 1,100 and 2,566 sq ft spaces are available for $20-26/sq ft (MG).

23 Temple St – a 947 sq ft retail space in the Temple Street garage is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

53 Wharf St –a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Wharf and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

India Street Area

144 Fore St – the former VA building is near the Portland Foreside development and adjacent to several new office buildings off Thames Street. It has 1,560 – 10,620 sq ft of space available for $22-29/sq ft (NNN).

Outer Forest Ave

503 – 509 Forest Ave – the exterior of this building is slated to be restored to its historic design. It has 4,500 – 9,500 sq ft of space available for $10/sq ft (NNN).

634 Forest Ave – this former garage is located at the center of Woodfords Corner near Bayou Kitchen Woodford Food & Beverage, and Bird & Co. The 1,305 sq ft building has had a change of use to allow for a restaurant use, and comes with room for 8-12 parking spaces. It is available for $2,750/month (NNN).

701 Forest Ave – 3,147 – 6,405 sq ft of space in a former Walgreens building is available for $16/sq ft (NNN). The building has its own parking lot.


164 Veranda St – the 1,000 sq ft former location of Other Side Deli is available for $2,500/month (Gross).

476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,395,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

550 Washington Ave – 2,000 – 2,400 sq ft of the former Botto’s bakery is available to lease for $18/sq ft (NNN).

Elsewhere in Portland

1339 Washington Ave – the 4,150 sq ft former Parker’s Restaurant building in North Deering is for sale for $1,995,000.

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,000 to 3,500 sq ft of space is available.

Westgate Shopping Center – three spaces are for lease at $18-40/sq ft (NNN).

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

Outside of Portland

188 Lincoln St, Lewiston – this 2,371 – 5,554 sq ft former fire station has been renovated for use as a retail/restaurant space. It’s listed at $5-14/sq ft (NNN).

Fuzzy Udder Creamery, Whitefield – the business and property are for sale for $595,000.

521 Route 1, Scarborough – the 9,211 sq ft former Amore restaurant is for sale for $595,000.

60 Mile Rd, Wells – an 8,684 sq ft turnkey restaurant in Wells is for sale for $2,450,000.

Billy’s Chowder House – both the building and business of Billy’s Chowder House in Wells is for sale. The ~200 seat restaurant comes with a 62-car parking lot and sits on Mile Road which connects Route 1 with Wells Beach.


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.

Paella Seafood Now Open

Paella Seafood (facebook, instagram) opened for business Thursday at their new location, 865 Forest Ave.

Owners Casey and Dahlia Jabrawi are serving a seafood-forward menu (a few pages shown below) that includes both their seafood and chicken paellas, appetizers like a Mediterranean octopus salad or a bruschetta of smoked salmon and avocado. There are a variety of seafood skewers which can be paired with sides like bulgar wheat, onion rings or Spanish rice. There are also four options for pizza (shrimp, octopus, smoked salmon, chicken, vegetable), lobster rolls, and seafood and chicken sandwiches or cones. A children’s menu is also available. The new Paella Seafood also has a dedicated space for a Turkish coffee bar.

Starting today Paella Seafood will be open daily 10 am – 9 pm.

Maine Food & Dining News: North Berwick, Brunswick, Belfast, Camden, Fort Kent, Liberty

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know on what’s going on:

  • A new bakery called Baker Bru (instagram) is under development in North Berwick. It will be co-located at the Boulay Farm and Market (facebook) currently under construction at 381 High Street. Owner Alex d’Emarese will be channeling his South African and Italian heritage selling a menu that includes focaccia and ciabatta bread, various types of cornetti, tarts, cookies, and featuring South African meat pies (spinach and feta, peppered steak, chicken and veggies, bacon/egg/cheese). Baker Bru will also have ready to eat sandwiches and prepared meals to go. d’Emarese plans to have gluten-free variations for many of his menu items. The bakery and market is expected to launch by the end of February open 8 am – 6 pm daily.
  • Reverie Coffee House (instagram) in Brunswick opened for business (upper left) on Sunday. Reverie serves a variety of baked goods and coffee drinks prepared with beans from Time and Tide in Biddeford. They’re located at 117 Maine Street and will be open Thursday through Monday, 7 – 2.
  • Dos Gatos Gastropub (instagram) in Belfast launched on Friday. Their menu features tacos and a drinks list that includes mocktails, classic cocktails, margarita variants and a small list of specialty cocktails. See this report from Camden Famous for additional details. They’re open Friday through Monday, 4:30 – 10 pm.
  • The First Fig (instagram) cafe/winebar/wine shop in Camden is scheduled to open on Friday. Owner Joanna Spinks will be serving Kavka Coffee, croissants from The Place bakery, breads from Brazen Baking as well as wine and beer by the glass. First Fig will be open Wednesday through Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.
  • The Madawaska location of Sami’s Cuisine and Cocktails is closing but the Fort Kent location will remain in business.
  • Down East has published a profile of Pottles in Liberty. “Comfort food and a complete lack of pretense prevail at the cozy new pub in Liberty.”
  • The Bowdoin Orient has published an article about The Abbey—a hybrid coffee shop and cocktail bar that opened in December in Brunswick.
  • Edelweiss in Biddeford and Tres Leches in South Portland recently opened for business.
  • Meridians in Fairfield (upper right photo) and Maples in New Gloucester recently went out of business.
  • Blake Orchard has announced plans to expand to Brunswick and Scarborough.

Blake Orchard to Expand

Blake Orchard (websitefacebook, instagram) has announced plans to open two new locations in 2024. The first is scheduled to open this spring at 2 Station Ave in Brunswick, and the second will be in Dunstan Village in Scarborough and will open this fall.

Blake Orchard serves a menu of plant-based foods including smoothie drinks and bowls, raw cold-pressed juices, matcha and coffee. Alexandra Blake Messenger founded Blake Orchard in 2015. The business was initially located on Exchange Street before moving to 561 Forest Ave.