A History of Maine Restaurant Unionization

The Maine chapter of the AFL-CIO has taken a look at the history of restaurant union organization in Maine.

As early as the 1890s, Maine restaurant and hotel workers began organizing and forming worker organization known as “labor and benefit” orders, according to labor historian Charlie Scontras. In 1919, members of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees’ International Alliance and Bartenders’ International League of America (HERE) established locals in Augusta and Portland. Then in 1928, the Portland local brought HERE’s international president, Edward Flore, and an organizer to the city where they reportedly “met with good success, adding several new houses to the fair list and strengthening the Local.”

Tender Table

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Tender Table, an organization that “celebrates Black and Brown community by connecting and honoring our identities, traditions, joy, resilience, and fight for collective liberation through storytelling and food.”

“I knew this was a space I hadn’t seen or experienced in Portland before that I deeply knew I wanted to be a part of as a biracial person,” added Perez, who works as a sculptor and is now a Tender Table co-organizer with Tran. “Tender Table allowed me to embrace that part of my identity I thought was gone or missing.”

After being introduced to Tran and Tender Table, Perez grew motivated to cook traditional Puerto Rican dishes they remembered their father talking longingly about, like mofongo, a plantain-based dish with plenty of garlic and salt.

Review of Cafe Louis

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a 4½ star review of Cafe Louis.

The food: Exceptional. Chef/owner Evan Richardson, whose restaurant Eaux closed during the pandemic, moved across the bridge to South Portland, gutting the former RJ’s Pub and transforming it into a restaurant that deserves national attention. Nearly everything I ate on a recent visit was memorable, from mussels in coconut green curry and stewed yuca, to cheesecake-like rhubarb-rosewater flan, to an insanely inexpensive and insanely tasty cabbage salad topped with puffed wild rice and pineapple vinaigrette ($5).

Rebel Blend Fund

Coffee by Design is now accepting applications for their Rebel Blend Fund which helps support Maine artists and small arts organizations. They are especially interested in “projects which somehow fall below the funding radar screen; projects that we believe are thought-provoking and engage people in the State of Maine in conversation.”

The Rebel Blend Fund is supported through the sale of CBD’s Rebel Blend coffee which is a blend of coffees from Asia, Americas and Africa. Coffee by Design donates $1 from each pound sold or brewed to the fund.

To apply for a Rebel Blend grant send in your application by the August 31st deadline.

Indie Chefs 2022

The Indie Chefs organization is returning to Maine in September for a series of 3 dinners that brings together Maine chefs with peers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, DC, Texas, South Carolina, California and New Hampshire. The dinners are scheduled to take place September 8, 9 and 11 at Tao Yuan/Zao Ze in Brunswick—tickets are now on sale.

The fun kicks off Thursday, September 8th, with the first Collaborative Dinner. Featuring half of the lineup, each cooking a course of their own showcasing their culinary aptitude, night one will be followed by the second dinner on Friday, September 9th featuring the other half of the roster. Sunday, September 11th, we wrap up the weekend with a Grand Finale collaborative evening, featuring all the chefs together for one incredible dinner, where each chef is paired up with a partner and given a key ingredient to incorporate into their dish. 3 nights of unique multi-course menus. All dinners will start at 6pm.

The line-up of participating chefs includes:

The dinners will take place outdoors in Brunswick to “ensure the well-being of the chefs and guests alike, at Zao Ze Café and Market”.

Indie Chefs was last in town 3 years ago for 3 nights of dinners featuring 22 chefs from Maine and away.

Upcoming Events: Radici, St Peter’s Bazaar, Doshi at Onggi

Wednesday – Radici is serving a 5-course dinner with pairings.

Saturday – the 91st Annual Saint Peter’s Bazaar.

Sunday – chef Susan Kim will be holding a Doshi Korean pop-up at Onggi.

August 18 – a gluten-free sushi and slushi event at Apres co-produced with Mrs. Gee Free Living.

August 19 – 21 – the 2022 edition of the Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

August 21Crispy Gai and Turkey and the Wolf from NOLA are holding a joint food event and book signing.

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

September 19 – 25Maine Lobster Week is taking place.

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

October 8 – Oxbow is holding their annual Goods from the Woods event in Newcastle.

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

Restaurant Real Estate: August 2022

Welcome to the August 2022 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 monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/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

156 State St – 5,250 sq ft of space on the first floor of the Portland Club is available for $14/sq ft (NNN).

235 Vaughan St – the 700 sq ft space most recently occupied by Other Side Deli and which had been the longtime home of Vaughan Street Variety is for lease. Call (207) 650-0846 for more information.

Arts District

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

605 Congress St – a 1,180 sq ft retail space in the State Theatre building is available for $25 – 35/sq ft (MG).

642 Congress St – the former Ada’s space is available to sublet; 2,569 sq ft (MG).

647 Congress St – 1,107 sq ft of space near Longfellow Square is available for $20/sq ft (MG).

649 Congress St – this 3,000 sq ft space is available for $22/sq ft (MG).

142 High St – a 543 sq ft retail space in the State Theatre building that faces High Street is available for $25 – 35/sq ft (MG).


31 Diamond St – this 2,800 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $16/sq ft (NNN).

178 Kennebec St – a 2,644 sq ft space on the first floor of a new building in West Bayside is available for $30/sq ft (NNN).

127 Marginal Way – 3,040 sq ft of space that’s been the home of Allspeed Cycle & Snow is for lease for $32/ sq ft (NNN).

65 Portland Street – the beautiful restaurant space that was home to Back Bay Grill for 34 years is available; 2,750 sq ft for $22/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the former Arcadia space is available; 2,835 sq ft for $20/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

383 Commercial St – 2,223 square feet of retail space on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

443 Congress St – 5,280 sq ft of space for lease for $16-20/sq ft (MG). It’s located across Elm Street from the Portland Public Library.

446 Fore St – 1,600 to 3,400 sq ft of space for lease for $30-40/sq ft (MG). It’s located in the building that was formerly occupied by the Pearl Tap House.

40 Free St – the new building constructed by JB Brown has four storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft for $30/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 $24/sq ft (NNN).

75 Market St – the 5,474 sq ft space on the corner of Market and Middle Streets occupied by Rambler’s Way is for lease for $37/sq ft (MG).

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

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

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).

15 Temple St – the 2,086 sq ft space formerly occupied by Bubble Maineia is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

41 Wharf St – the former Jager space is available; 1,107 sq ft for $43/sq ft (MG).

42 Wharf St – this 3,770 sq ft space in the Old Port includes a 2,000 sq ft patio, $45/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

100 Fore St – 1,914 sq ft of space that the listing says is “ideally suited for a restaurant use” is available for $30/sq ft.

5 India St – 1,250 – 2,500 sq ft for $35/sq ft (NNN) in a new building under construction near the intersection with Commercial St.

83 Middle St – 1,480 sq ft of retail space is available in the new building being constructed across the street from Eventide; $30/sq ft (NNN)

Forest Ave

369 Forest Ave – 5,040 sq ft of space adjacent for Forest Gardens on Forest Ave is available for $15/sq ft.

500 Forest Ave – a 1,500 – 3,200 sq ft space is currently occupied by Starbird. It’s available for $16/sq ft (MG).

945 Forest Ave – the former Photo Market building is for sale for $995,000.


936 Brighton Ave – 1,995 sq ft of space in an 11k sq ft building that’s the future home of Allspeed Cycle and Snow for $20/sq ft.

155 Riverside St – the Season’s Bar & Grille and Banquet Center is for lease. The 23,750 sq ft facility includes parking and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

1339 Washington Ave – the former Parker’s restaurant is available for sale for $2,750,000, or for lease for $9,000/month (NNN).

Buxton – the former Buxton Commons restaurant is available for sale or lease. Lease terms are $4,500/month (NNN) for 3,600 sq ft of space.

Longwoods Preserve – the Longwoods Preserve is seeking a partner to operate a restaurant on their 55-acre property in Cumberland. The 3,500 sq ft building is expected to seat 70-80 indoors plus a three season porch. For more information contact Joe Atwood at (207) 899–7373, 76longwoods@gmail.com.

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,200 to 5,700 sq ft of space is available.

18 Ocean St, South Portland – the former Snow Squall is for lease for $15/sq ft (NNN).

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

Biscuits & Co, Biddeford – Biscuits & Co closed on October 16th and the business and equipment is for sale. Contact Biscuitsandcompany@gmail.com for more information.

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


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.

Brienne Allan, Sacred Profane

The Press Herald has published an article about Brienne Allan, a co-owner and the head brewer at the soon-to-open new Biddeford brewery Sacred Profane (more info).

The lagers she’s producing now are like the brewer’s equivalent of double-black diamond ski trails. They demand technical expertise, an intuitive feel for the brewing process that comes from years of experience, and a sophisticated, nuanced palate.

“Brienne is easily one of the most knowledgeable brewers I’ve ever encountered, especially when it comes to Czech- and German-style lagers,” said Robert Hughes, marketing manager of Notch Brewing. “No one is as fastidious, passionate, creative or knowledgeable as she is in that field, for sure.”

New Owners at Nosh

Owners Jason Loring, Matt Moran, and Tobey Moulton closed on the sale of Nosh Kitchen Bar to Michael Fraser, Michael Barbuto and Kevin Doyle on Monday. They expect to reopen Nosh later this week.

The new owners plan to remain true the spirit of Nosh with a focus on well executed comfort food. They will be keeping some of the standards from the Nosh menu and folding in some new ideas of their own including a classic cocktail program. Chef Aaron Taylor was been hired to lead the kitchen.

In addition to Nosh, Barbuto and Doyle are currently working to launch The Continental on Brighton Ave. The pair also are co-owners with Fraser at CBG.

Loring has been involved in the launch of a number of new restaurants since Nosh opened in 2010. He’s currently focusing his time on the Slab retail pizza business. Moran is partnering with Joe Fournier in the relaunch of A & C in South Portland.