Fine Fried Chicken

Crispy Gai chef/owner Cyle Reynolds is featured in a Washington Post article about fine dining chefs making the leap to fried chicken.

It’s easy to forget, but chefs are consumers, too. Cyle Reynolds recalls frequently going out to eat Thai-style fried chicken after his shift at Canvas, a fine-dining restaurant in Bangkok that he helped open in 2016. In Maine a few years later, when his plan to sign a restaurant lease fell through — on March 30, 2020, no less — Reynolds turned to happier memories of fried chicken. He now runs a Thai-style fried chicken restaurant called Crispy Gai in downtown Portland, Maine, with two business partners.

Taste Bud Travel Guide

The Taste Bud Travel Guide has posted an eating guide to kid-friendly dining destinations in Portland.

Rocky and beautiful, this city by the sea is ready to roll. More than just lobster (although don’t miss that either) the tide is rolling in on Portland, which was named Restaurant City of the Year in 2018. We’re rounded up the top eats, bakeries and fine dining in Forest City for Food Adventures that will delight Taste Buds big and small.

More photos on instagram.

Night Mares on Romasco Lane

A new neighborhood bar called Night Mares (instagram) is under development on Romasco Lane. Night Mares will co-occupy the same space as the Prairie Baking Company’s cafe now under construction by Night Mares co-owner Elizabeth Rzoska.

We intend to operate a small, neighborhood-oriented bar that respects and reflects Portland. We’re all Portland residents who’ve worked here in various capacities and live just a short walk from our business’ proposed location. We’re excited to contribute to the dynamic, delightful food and beverage scene in this City, hopefully carving out our own niche.

Owners Louis Masi, Elizabeth Rzoska, Devan Marr, and Christian Roadman hope to open the new establishment by July. The draft menu included with Night Mares’ liquor license application include cocktails like Fog Cutter and The Last word, beer, wine, cider as well as food options like soup with focaccia, salad, cheese boards, gougeres, a vegan board and a beet bruschetta.

Rzoska is the owner of Prairie Baking Company. Masi will be curating the cocktail menu, both Masi and Devan Marr currently work at Jing Yan. Roadman has previously worked in the restaurant industry in Chicago and is now a urban planner.

The name of the bar is meant to “acknowledge the serious, refined aspects of a bar slightly mysterious and intriguing with a lighthearted, welcoming touch.” The team hopes to “earn a beloved reputation over time minimizing noise and hype while maximizing warmhearted quality.”

To get caught up on all the new restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses in development visit our Under Construction List.

Upcoming Events

April 21-30Maine Seaweed Week is taking place; visit for information on related events and participating restaurants.

April 24 – Crispy Gai sous chef Amadeus Florendo will be holding a pop-up dinner serving contemporary Filipino cuisine.

April 24-27 – The National Seaweed Symposium will be taking place in Portland.

April 26 – It’s the first day of the summer Portland Farmers’ Market. The market was founded in 1768. If our math is correct that makes 2023 its 255th year in operation.

April 27 – the first of three webinars to food and beverage webinars delivered by Score and Fork Food Lab.

April 28 – Salli Wason of Rosanna’s Ice Cream will be holding a monthly pop-up at Two Fat Cats in South Portland. The ice cream will be available by the pint, scoop or a la mode. This months flavor will be Strawberry Oreo.

April 30 – The Casco Bay chapter of the American Culinary Foundation is holding their annual gala.

May 1 – Scratch Baking is teaching a bagel baking class, and the Garden Bar (instagram) is scheduled to open in Biddeford.

May 4Chaval is holding their annual May the Fourth Star Wars dinner.

May 7Crispy Gai is holding a 5-course dinner in collaboration with chefs from Norimoto, Pho Huong, Little Brother Chinese, Golden Wat, Frying Dutchman, Thai Esaan, and Mitr. A special cocktail menu featuring Golden Wat Cognac will be available.

May 8Bar Futo is holding an 8-course dinner in collaboration with chefs Tracy Chang from Pagu; Christine Lau from The CLAU Group; Tim Ma from Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, Lucky Danger, and Chase the Submarine; Shuai Wang from Jackrabbit Filly and King BBQ; Sang Lee from Sushi Sang Lee, and Nikhil Naiker.

May 11 – The film City of Servers will premiere at the Maine Mayhem Film Festival taking place at the Nickelodeon.

May 12The Daily Grind and The Sinful Kitchen/Pig Kahuna are holding a pig roast as a benefit for Brea Lu. The Westbrook cafe recently suffered a fire at the construction site for their new location.

May 17/18Percy’s and Disco Jalisco are teaming up to produce a pair of dinners.

May 20Maine Wild Wine Fest is taking place in Freeport.

May 30GMRI is leading an Alewife Migration Walk at the Mill Brook Preserve.

June 5 – The James Beard Awards ceremony will take place. Nezinscot Farm will receive an American Classics award and The Quarry in Monson will learn if they have won in the Outstanding Hospitality category.

June 11Big Tree Hospitality is holding a farm to table dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

June 12-18Portland Wine Week is taking place with events at restaurants all over the Portland area.

July 23Maine Open Farm Day is taking place.

August 23 – An Outstanding in the Field dinner is taking place at Dandelion Spring Farm with guest chef Neil Zabriskie from Regards.

September 10Maine Cheese Festival.

September 24The Saltyard is holding a cocktail brunch at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

September 30 – Tender Table is holding their 3rd annual food and art fair in Congress Square Park.

October 8Maine Open Creamery Day is taking place.

November 5Chaval is holding a late harvest dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

Restaurant Required to Replace Doors

Today’s Press Herald reports that Papi is being required to replace their front doors with ones more in keeping with the architectural history of the Old Port.

The doors simply don’t meet historic district standards, said Evan Schueckler, the city’s historic preservation program manager.

“They’re much more ornate and have a different shape than the doors that would have originally been on that building,” Schueckler said. “They’re sort of creating what we would call a false sense of history, where they’re trying to represent a design and historic character for that building that isn’t authentic to it.”

7 Maine Good Food Award Winners

Congratulations to all seven Maine winners at last night’s Good Food Awards ceremony held in Portland, Oregon.

New Restaurant in Cumberland

Tobey Moulton
, Simone Burdet and chef Rocco Marzilli are taking over Louie’s Grille in Cumberland where they plan to open a new restaurant. The team aims to provide Cumberland with a “casual, family-friendly spot on Main Street to gather, grab a drink, watch the game, and dine-in or take out great food.” The menu will focus on pizza and pub fare.

Tobey Moulton moved to Maine in 2003 and has worked at Maine inns and hotels before helping found Nosh, Taco Escobarr and Slab. He and life partner Simone Burdet met when they worked together at The Portland Regency—she also has extensive experience working in the restaurant/hospitality industry. Moulton and Marzilli met when working together at Nosh before Marzilli went on to be the chef at The Monhegan House and then helped establish Owl & Elm.

Louie’s Grille closed on April 14th when the longtime owner, Jim Guidi, decided to retire from the business. The new owners hope to open their not-yet-named restaurant this summer.

Coastal Creamery on Commercial Street

A new ice cream shop called Coastal Creamery (instagram) is under construction at 136 Commercial Street in the former Captain Sam’s Ice Cream space.

Owners Kevin and Hayley Ward will source most of their ice cream from a Maine creamery but will also be making some “nut-free allergen safe homemade flavors” of their own and hope to engage in collaborations with other ice cream shops as well. They plan to feature special house-made ice cream cookies and cookie cakes on the menu.

The Wards aim to fully open Coastal Creamery sometime in May.