Wayside in the West End

A new wine-centric restaurant and bar called Wayside is under construction in the former Flood’s space in The Francis hotel. The plan is create a space that can be both a restaurant and also a neighborhood spot to grab a glass wine and snack with friends. The wine program will be weighted to old world wines from Europe.

Wayside is being launched by the founders of Roll Call, Michael and Siobhán Sindoni.  Prior to moving to Maine, Michael was the executive chef of the Joule Hotel and opened the restaurant CBD Provisions in Dallas. Siobhán was the sommelier/manager at FT33 in Dallas. They also worked together for Makeready as culinary director and service/wine director. Their most recent Makeready opening was Frannie & the Fox in Hotel Emeline in Charleston.

Experience Maine Market

Experience Maine Market (website, facebook, instagram) has leased the former Rosemont Market space at 5 Commercial Street where they plan to open a retail shop, tasting space and cafe that specializes in Maine made products.

Experience Maine plans to serve coffee and baked goods from local roasters and bakeries in their cafe. The space will be set-up with an area that can hold up to 21 people for tastings of Maine beers and wines. There are also plans to build out a demonstration kitchen to host chef demos, cooking classes and tasting events.

Hospitality Labor Shortage

The Portland Phoenix has published an article on challenges restaurants and other food and beverage business are currently encountering in hiring staff.

A recent HospitalityMaine membership survey found 96 percent are hiring right now. Member establishments were also asked to rank how difficult hiring has been on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 the most difficult; 80 percent of respondents said hiring has been at a 4 or 5, which indicates “difficult” or “extremely difficult.”

For more information on this subject read this recent article by Restaurant Manifesto.

Après in East Bayside

Après (website, instagram) a cidery and hard seltzer producer is under construction at 148 Anderson Street in East Bayside. Ian Goering, former head brewer at Tributary Brewing has been hired as the head of production at Après, and the operations manager Sarah Bryan—formerly with Schilling Beer—will manage front of house operations.

Après is being launched by co-owners Ryan Houghton from the Hop Yard and Michael Cardente. Extensive renovations to the industrial building are in full swing with hopes to open the 80-seat tasting room and outdoor seating area sometime this summer.

Après is looking forward to being part of Maine’s burgeoning cider industry, and will be Portland first hard seltzer producer. The production space includes 15-barrel brewing operation and a barrel-ageing room for their cider. A food program for the tasting room is in the early planning stage and will be augmented with appearances by local food trucks.

For people that want the most unique social drinking adventure, Après is redefining the tasting room experience by creating the most unique house-brewed hard seltzer + cider and an unforgettable social environment. We facilitate the simple act of discovery – where people enjoy rare products and connect with others in exciting ways.

Maine has 21 on-market cider producers and now 7 cider producers under construction.

Stacks Pancake Co.

A new restaurant called Stacks Pancake Company (instagram)  is under construction at 139 Riverside St. Stacks will serves breakfast and lunch all day, along with bloody marys, mimosas and coffee from Arabica.

The business is being launched by the Papanikoleau family. They previously ran a number of restaurants in New York and New Jersey before moving to Maine. The family is hoping to launch Stacks sometime in May.

Stay tuned for more details on the menu. In the meantime take a look at their instagram-ready breakfast options.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The Small Business Administration page for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is now live. In contains information on the guidelines for the $28.6 billion grant program as well as details on the paperwork and data that will be required to apply.

According to information from the Independent Restaurant Coalition, the application portal for the grants should launch by the end of April. The IRC also has assembled an FAQ to address key pieces of background information.

Changes at Tiqa

Emil Rivera is taking over as the executive chef at Tiqa, the pan-Mediterranean restaurant in the Courtyard restaurant on Commercial Street. Chef Siddharta Rumma has also joined the culinary team at Tiqa.

Tiqa was opened in 2015 by husband and wife team Deen Haleem and Carol Mitchell. It’s currently closed but is expected to re-open in May.

Rivera was founding chef at Sur Lie until late 2019. Rumma was the chef at Ada’s Portland and late last year launched his takeout pasta business Fusillo.

Sullivan House Bakery

Sullivan House Bakery (facebook, instagram) is under construction in Gorham at 102 Main Street. Owner Nancy Ames hopes to open the 2,400 sq ft bakery at the beginning of August selling a line-up of bread, scones, muffins, biscuits, cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, and other baked goods.

Ames wants Sullivan House to be not only a good local source for baked goods but also a meeting place for Gorham where people can connect over coffee.

The building plan has table, counter and group seating for up to 26 people. Ames has a life long passion for baking and after a career in the insurance industry and a stint as an innkeeper in Vermont.