Sweet Sea Cookies Now Open

Leigh Kellis, the fonder of The Holy Donut,  opened the doors to Sweet Sea Cookies (websitefacebookinstagram) pop-up shop on Monday. Located in the former Old Port Sandwich Shop location at 89 Market Street. The goal of Sweet Sea Cookies is to raise money for Less Plastic Portland which encourages businesses to reduce plastic use.

Cookies come in 3 flavors: oatmeal raisin, sea salt chocolate, and sunflower crunch. The cookies are produced by Baristas + Bites for Sweet Sea.

Boston Globe: Struggling Portland Restaurants

The Boston Globe has published an article on the impact the pandemic is having on the Portland restaurant scene.

Across the city, Portland’s restaurateurs are asking the same question. Battered by pandemic restrictions, the city’s once-thriving dining scene is now in depressing straits, contracting in ways that were unthinkable before the virus hit in March.

One-quarter to a third of the restaurants in the Portland area have closed after a sparse tourist season and might never reopen, industry observers said. And for those that have survived — so far, at least — revenue has shrunk to a small fraction of its pre-pandemic total, the workforce has been reduced to skeleton crews, and hopes for a turnaround next year are guarded, at best.

New Browne Trading Market Open

Browne Trading (website) has reopened their Commercial Street market after a long rebuilding project. The overall layout is the same as the old store. The seafood counter is fully stocked. Browne is working to scale-up the wine and specialty foods they have on hand.

Browne was the scene of a 3-alarm fire back in April. The fire shutdown the retail side of the business. Hours for the market are 10 – 6, Monday through Saturday.

Urban Brunch

Urban Farm Fermentory has been approved for a restaurant license. Starting January 1st UFF will begin serving brunch 8am to 6pm Thursday through Monday. Brunch will be available in their 50-person tasting room and as takeout.

Chef Andrew Collier has joined the UFF team and will be drawing on his past experience at Bayside American Cafe to launch the new UFF brunch service. Collier has created a menu of toasts and waffles that will change seasonally to in concert with the ingredients UFF sources for use in their kombucha, cider, mead, gruits and artisanal vinegars.

Brunch at UFF is something owner Eli Cayer has wanted to do for a while, the pandemic accelerated those thoughts into a concrete plan.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Evo NYE Chef Collaboration

Chefs Matt Ginn and Colin Wyatt are collaborating on an Evo New Year’s Eve takeout menu.

Ginn is the executive chef of the Prentice Hospitality Group and Wyatt is the former executive sous chef from Eleven Madison Park. Wyatt and his wife Selena Juneau-Vogel recently resettled to the Portland area—part of a longstanding plan to return to Maine (where Juneau-Vogel grew up) that was accelerated by the pandemic.

The friendship between Ginn and Wyatt dates back to 2007 when they both worked for Steve Corry at Five Fifty-Five. As a reference back to those earlier days, the NYE menu includes a black truffle lobster lasagna as a nod to the truffle lobster mac and cheese that was a signature item on the menu at Five Fifty-Five.

The 5-course menu includes:

    • Caviar / Mini Pita Taramasalata / Everything Crumble / House Pickle
    • Maine Root Vegetable / Winter Citrus / Local Maine Scallops
    • Black Truffle Lobster Lasagna
    • Braised Short Rib / Delicata Squash
    • Petit Fours
    • Main Dessert
    • Celebratory Toast

You can pre-order Evo’s New Year’s Eve takeout dinner online, $130 per person.

Atop of the East

As part of a planned renovation of the Top of the East the Westin Hotel is planning to add a rooftop deck. The project is broken up into two phases of construction that when taken together will create seating for 108 people and will include two wood burning fireplaces in 2,200 square feet of space.

Construction is expected to start in Q2 and wrap-up for phase 1 in Q3.

Batson River Opens Friday

The new Portland location of Batson River (websitefacebookinstagram) in Bayside is slated to open Friday at 4pm.

The 9,000 sq ft restaurant and bar is located at 82 Hanover Street in the Public Works building that’s home to Wilson County, The Yard and Banded Horn. The space features a large main bar and fireplace, along semi-private table in a first floor alcove, a balcony seating and games area, and a second smaller bar area with a side entrance on Parris Street.

“We designed the space to feel like a grand, established home that had welcomed many visitors, hosted many gatherings, and whose walls could tell endless stories of adventure. We wanted the fireplace and staircase to be grand and majestic and the seating to be welcoming and intimate. This opening winter season, couples can cozy up by a fire, play some scrabble, sip some whiskey, and eat a good meal. When we get back to a time of larger gatherings, Batson is also designed as a community gathering hub, with lots of sunshine and fresh air in mind – we put in a retractable full ceiling height garage door in the back bar.”

Batson River’s own beers and spirits will be center stage on the drinks menu. The food menu created by chef Tucker Creveling will expand on the “gastropub style” fare served at the original Batson River in Kennebunk. Creveling moved to Maine from Colorado where he worked at several restaurants including Chimney Park.

Batson River plans to be open Wednesdays through Fridays 4pm – 9pm; and Saturdays and Sundays 12pm – 9pm for both inside dining andd take-out.

Batson River opened in late 2018 in Kennebunk. A third Batson River location to be located in Biddeford is in the planning stages and is expected to open in 2022.



Christmas Resource List

Christmas is a little more than a week away. Here’s an evolving  list of the takeout, dine in, or provisions options that I’ve learned of are. I’ll be adding to the list as restaurants and other food producers announce their plans:

    • Ada’s – family sized pasta and dessert option, order deadline December 21st for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th. Email hello@adaspasta.com to order.
    • Belleville – cookies and baked goods. Pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
    • Big Tree Hospitality – a wide range of dishes and provisions for pick-up on December 23rd. Order online.
    • BlueFin – will be serving a special holiday menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • Boone’s – sides, mains and dessert, order deadline December 21st for pick-up on December 24th.
    • Botto’s – baked goods and breads. Pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Central Provisions – takeout sides, dinner, dessert, order deadline December 20th. Order online.
    • Chaval – 4 different holiday cakes (call for gluten-free option) plus eggnog, order deadline December 20th. Pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Cheese Shop of Portland – baked good, and cheese and charcuterie platters, order deadline December 18th for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
    • Dandelion Catering – has a Christmas menu, order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Dizzy Bird – meals for individuals and families as well as sides and desserts, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th. Order online.
    • Evo – choice of five pound lamb or beef roast with a variety of sauces and roasted potatoes, $90 (includes tax). Order deadline December 22nd for pickup on December 23rd or 24th. Available cooked or marinated and ready to prepare at home. (207) 358-7830.
    • Greeks of Peaks – 3-course Greek takeout dinner for $33/person. Pickup in Portland or on Peaks on December 23rd. Order online.
    • Gross Confection Bar – Christmas desserts, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Lake & Co. – meals for 2 or 4 people along with side dishes and desserts, order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Leeward – holiday take n bake dinner kit, order deadline December 23rd for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Little Giant – Ribeye steak roast with all the sides and dessert for 2 ($160) for pick-up on December 24th. Also a bûche de noël log, $35 for pick-up on December 23rd and 24th.  Order online.
    • Luke’s – takeout Christmas Eve lobster dinner for four, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Mami – roast pork, ramen, dumplings and cookies, order deadline December 20th, pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Norimoto – a variety of baked goods for pick-up on December 24th. Email to order atsukonorimoto@gmail.com.
    • Other Side Deli – apps, sides, main dishes and desserts order deadline December 17th for pick-up on December 24th. (207) 761-9650 for Veranda St, (207) 874-7414 for Vaughan St.
    • North 43 Bistro – has options for a breakfast, Christmas dinner and appetizers all sized for a group of 6 people. Order deadline December 18th for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th. (207) 747-4009.
    • Prairie Baking Co. – bûche de noël log, cookies, and holiday cookie kit. Order online.
    • Roll Call – Fully cooked 1/2 porchetta (feeds 10-15 people, $150) or 1/4 porchetta (feeds 5-8 people, $80) with reheating instructions. Order deadline December 15th for pick-up on December 22nd or 23rd.  (207) 200-4050 or email hello@rollcallmaine.com to order.
    • Scratch Baking – has a range of baked available for pick-up on December 23rd or 24th.
    • Sichuan Kitchen – has a family-sized Christmas menus for 3-4, 6-8, and 10-12 people. Order online.
    • Sur Lie – prime rib or ham dinners for 2 or 4 people, order deadline December 20th for pick-up on December 24th. Order online.
    • Sweet Woodruff Provisions – takeout pastry chef Kate Fisher Hamm is holding a pre-Christmas pop-up selling cakes, tarts and cookie boxes, order deadline December 18th. Order online.
    • Tandem – has yule log cakes and cookie boxes. Call to order (207) 760-4440.
    • Terlingua – 4-course dinner for 4 people, $165. Order online.
    • Tipo – has menus for a Christmas Eve cocktail party, and Christmas morning breakfast. Order online.
    • Two Fat Cats – cakes, pies and other desserts, pick-up December 22-24. Order online.
    • Union – 3-course Christmas dinner at the restaurant for $79 per person (optional pairings for $13), or a family style takeout meal for 2 $100 for pick-up on December 24th (order by the 20th). See menus. They also have a Christmas Eve brunch.
    • Verbena – appetizers, salads, mains annd dessertss, order deadline December 22nd fofr pick-up on December 24th. (207) 767-2011.
    • Via Vecchia – will be serving a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve at the restaurant. 7-courses for $70 per person (with optional $25 cocktail and wine pairings). Make reservations.
    • Westin Hotel – takeout 4-course dinner , $42 for 1 person or $80 for 2 people; order deadline December 20th. Pick-up on December 24. Order online.
    • Wine Wise and Chaval are teaming up on a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve (Sold Out), $190 for 2 people. Order online.

Restaurant industry folks please DM on instagram or email at anestes@portlandfoodmap.com with details on your Christmas Eve/Day options.

Additionally, if you’re able, please consider making a donation to one or more of these organizations to help fight hunger in Maine: