Rosenthal on Palace Diner

Phil Rosenthal was interviewed by Forbes about the upcoming season of Somebody Feed Phil which is being released on Netflix tomorrow. In the interview Rosenthal calls out his meal at Palace Diner as his “happiest food experience” from the new season of the show.

Rosenthal: The Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine. It’s an old railroad dining car [built in 1927] with a counter for 15 people. That’s it! And a little kitchen. The young chefs there have worked at very good restaurants like Gramercy Tavern in New York City. What they’ve done [in Biddeford] is kept traditional diner foods on the menu, but upgraded all the ingredients and cooking techniques. So [customers] are getting idealized versions of omelettes, French toast, pancakes, burgers, sandwiches. I loved them all. [Eating at the diner] became one of the favorite things I’ve ever done on this show.

Upcoming Events: Little Tandem, Scratch Baking, Somebody Feed Phil, Cocktails

TuesdayLittle Tandem is reopening in East Bayside.

Tuesday through Sundaya number of local restaurants and bars are taking part in a week-long cocktail collaboration organized by Bully Boy, Lincoln & Maine and New England Distilling. Cocktail specials will be on the menu at participating venues that make use of spirits from those distillers and part of the proceeds will benefit Maine Needs. Maine Needs is a grassroots organization that tries to “meet the basic needs of families and individuals all over Maine.”

Wednesday – the debut of Season 5 of the Netflix show Somebody Feed Phil. Season 5 includes an episode shot in Portland, Biddeford and the Midcoast. Owners of Stars & Stripes Brewing and of Eighteen Twenty Wines will be among the honorees at the 2022 Maine Small Business Awards Ceremony.

ThursdayScratch Baking is opening their renovated bakery in Willard Square.

June 13 – The 2022 Beard Foundation Awards gala is taking place in Chicago. Five Maine chefs and restaurants are contenders for this year’s awards.

June 13 – 19 – the 5th Annual Portland Wine Week will be taking place—see details on their Women in Wine Dinner.

June 18 – the grand opening of the Absolem Cider tasting room in Winthrop, Maine.

July 21Magnus on Water chef Ben Jackson will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb.

July 23Chaval chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti will participating in the Outstanding in the Field series with a dinner at Dandelion Spring Farm in Bowdoinham. The Wavy Days Beer Fest is taking place.

July 25 – 30 – the Kneading Conference is taking place.

September 3Tender Table is holding their 2nd Annual Food & Art Fair in Congress Square Park.

September 19 – 25Maine Lobster Week is taking place in Skowhegan.

September 23 – 25 – the Common Ground Fair is taking place in Unity.

October 9 – the Maine Cheese Guild is holding Maine Open Creamery Day.

Scratch Reopening Thursday

Staff at Scratch Baking Company (instagram) are busy putting the finishing touches on their newly renovated bakery. They are scheduled to reopen their landmark Willard Square location Thursday May 26th. Going forward their new hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, 7 am – 2 pm.

The new space features a roundtangle shaped space with a center island. Customers will enter through the left set of doors. First up on the trip around the bakery will be breads and bagels, followed by pastries along the long back counter, and then refrigerated and packaged goods on the final side. Coffee will be available—drip and espresso drinks—from the central island.

Blue Hill Peninsula: Harbor Cafe, Dennett’s Wharf

The Bangor Daily News has the scoop on some interesting restaurant developments in Castine and Stonington.

Max Katzenberg, who worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant and owned two highly praised restaurants in Brooklyn, recently took over the Harbor Cafe in downtown Stonington and plans to reopen Dennett’s Wharf on the Castine waterfront next month.

While Katzenberg, who had previously spent summers in Maine and moved to Deer Isle during the pandemic, brings big-city credentials and acclaimed chefs to the two projects, he promised he and his team are focused on upgrading what already made the two local favorites great.

The article explains that Max Katzenberg worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and was a co-owner of Olmsted (a Beard Best New Restaurant nominee in 2017) and Maison Yaki, both in Brooklyn.

The Harbor Cafe (instagram) project is in collaboration “with friend and Deer Isle dining veteran Matt Spector” which they bought “to prevent the town losing the Main Street fixture.”

For the relaunch of Dennett’s Wharf (instagram) in Castine is Katzenberg is working with Ingrid Paronich and Taylor Hester. Paronich has degrees from Johnson & Wales in Food Marketing and Hospitality and in Italian Gastronomy and Tourism from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Parma. Her recent work has been in restaurant operations and management in the Northeast.

Taylor Hestor will be the executive chef at Dennett’s Wharf. He was part of the original team at Sean Brock’s launch of Husk in Nashville. In 2017 he joined the team at Olmsted which that year was on the Bon Appetit list of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America and which was the Food & Wine 2017 Restaurant of the Year.

A Philly Eating Guide to Portland

Philadelphia Magazine has published an eating guide to Portland.

If your first thought when you hear “Portland” is the West Coast version, you’re missing out on one much closer to home. The coastal city about a six-hour drive from Philly is home to a surprisingly vibrant food-and-drink scene. Thanks to thriving local farms and seafood purveyors, an influx of chef talent from cities like Boston and D.C., and a supportive, hungry year-round community, the city proves that Maine cuisine is more than blueberry pie and lobster rolls (though you can get those, too!).

The article mentions: Tandem, Hot Suppa, The Holy Donut, Luke’s, Boone’s, Eventide, The Shop, Totally Awesome Vegan Food Truck, Maine Maple Creemee, Scales, Fore Street, Baharat, Minato, Twelve, Duckfat, Bissell, Oxbow and Allagash.

Review of Nura

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed Nura,

…chef Dylan Gardner assembles nuanced, sub-$15 salads that showcase bitter greens, shaved watermelon radish and mint leaves along with the restaurant’s signature falafel – toasty outside and vivid green from cilantro and parsley inside. Here, you’ll also find excellent chicken shawarma sandwiches and bowls, spice-dusted French fries, and our favorite dish on the menu: Nura’s airy, garlicky, newly re-imagined hummus…Nura might represent the best bang-for-your-buck in Portland dining right now. Get there before the tourists and returning office workers do.

Mainebiz: Burundi Star Coffee

Burundi Star Coffee owner Jocelyne Kamikazi and her husband André Nzeyimana grace the cover of the latest issue of Mainebiz. They’re featured in an article about a microloan program that is helping immigrant owned businesses in Maine.

The loan she secured from Portland-based cPort Credit Union is underwritten by the Indus Fund, a new microloan program for small business owners in Maine’s growing immigrant community. Kamikazi was able to borrow the money at a much lower interest rate than the $44,000 bank loan she used to start her business and still has to repay, since all Indus Fund loans have a fixed rate of 3.5% and a maturity of five years.

With close to $300,000 raised from 14 individual and corporate investors, the Indus Fund is touted as Maine’s first and only immigrant-specific microfinance loan program connected to the existing banking system. The goal is to break down barriers for immigrants who might otherwise be shut out of traditional bank financing.

Other Portland food businesses featured in the article are Mimio’s Boutique owned by Mimie Mobesha from the Congo, and Maiz co-owned by Niky Watler from Colombia.

Andrew Zimmern’s Portland List

Andrew Zimmern has shared a round-up of his favorite Portland food spots on his substack email newsletter site, Spilled Milk.

It’s the pearl of New England. Great food, an incredible art scene, a small-town vibe with big-city amenities. My dad, who passed away in 2015, called Portland home for the last 10 years of his life. I’d spend a lot of time visiting him and my stepdad Andre Laporte, and through their eyes I watched the city transform into the food destination it is today.

Mentioned in the article: Tandem, Standard, The Holy Donut, The Porthole, Becky’s, Duckfat, Fore Street, Eventide, Crown Jewel, Boda, Terlingua, Slab, Via Vecchia, Pai Men, Scales, Chaval and Gorgeous Gelato.

Food Truck Petition

Nearly 2,300 people have signed a petition in support of local food trucks that have operated on the Eastern Prom for the last few years.

As Portland locals, one of our favorite ways to enjoy the city is to hang out on the Eastern Prom, eat from food trucks, and enjoy the beautiful views and historic park. Over the past several years, we have supported the various food trucks who consistently park on the Eastern Promenade road, and are saddened to hear that their ability to do business there may be in jeopardy. 

The city recently announced new rules that go into effect in June that would limit the number of trucks to 10 and relocate all of them to the mid-hill parking lot on Cutter St. With more than 10 trucks interested in the spots a lottery would be used to select who can do business on the Eastern Prom.

As local citizens, we are deeply concerned about the small Portland based companies who have built their businesses and livelihoods at this location. We fear that a lottery will exclude the businesses whose food has made Portland into New England’s premiere food truck scene. We worry that these changes will impact their ability to staff locals to whom they pay living wages.

Little Tandem Reopening


The long awaited reopening of Tandem’s Anderson Street location is taking place Tuesday May 24th. Little Tandem will be open Tuesday through Saturday 8 am – 1 pm to start.

The newly renovated space features additional counter and table seating including a spot that the architect has labeled “Kathleen’s Cozy Corner”. As you can see from the photo, the coffee bar has moved from the left side of the building to the section of the building where the original roastery was located.

The Little Tandem building in East Bayside is where Kathleen and Will Pratt first opened their coffee roastery and coffee bar back in 2012. Tandem’s Congress Street coffee shop and bakery opened in 2014.