For anyone interested in the history of Portland’s restaurant scene (that’s all of us, right?), Epicuranoid has published a very interesting history of Portland’s restaurants in the 70’s and 80’s.
Long before The Old Port renaissance, Portland had a hopping restaurant scene. There was a famous French restaurant named Marcel’s. Several good steak houses like John Martin’s Art Gallery (where Asylum is now) and many restaurants that did all kinds of seafood baked, broiled & fried. However, In the time before The Old Port boomed, the last great features of Portland’s restaurant landscape were Italian. I refer to it as the old Italian guard because much like Boston’s North End today, the Italian restaurants dominated. Only DiMillo’s was actually in the area we call The Old Port, but the city was littered with the likes of Verillo’s, The Sportsman’s Grill, The Roma, The Village Cafe, Maria’s and my old favorite, Giobbi’s.
If that’s wet your appetite for Portland food history, take a look at the restaurant timeline here on PFM.