An Infatuation for Portland

The Infatuation has published an eating guide to “The Best Restaurants In Portland, Maine“.

Maine is known for being a place where you can indulge in the fantasy of having lobster for every meal. And sure, incredible lobster rolls abound, but Portland is also a cultural destination in its own right. We have close proximity to both hikes and gorgeous beaches, the best bus stops in the US, and the potential to run into more moose than people. The best part, though? There’s so much to eat, lobster or otherwise, as you explore Maine’s most populated city.

Jimmy Leftis at Table Bar

Portland area chef Jimmy Leftis is joining with the team at Table Bar (website, instagram) to launch a new regular food menu at the wine bar in Gardiner. The new menu will be available Fridays and Saturdays, 5 – 9 pm  beginning this weekend. The draft menu includes dishes like asparagus with ravigote, pork sausage with chard, celeriac and chutney, and a honey custard tart.

After stints cooking in Charleston, SC, and Brooklyn, NY, Jimmy Leftis made his way to Portland, ME, which he quickly realized he would call home. The abundance of small farms and fresh seafood made it an exciting place to be a cook. Leftis’ food is inspired by the classic simple fare of European cafes and wine bars. His work is also informed by the places where he honed his skills, such as Andrew Tarlow’s Diner in Brooklyn and beside Ben Jackson at Drifter’s Wife and Magnus on Water.

Table Bar was launched one year ago by Billy Rosser, Morgan Peirce, and Zach Lyons. It pairs an informal space and culture with excellent wines that are available by the glass and also available for retail purchase. Table Bar has emerged as a go to spot in the Augusta area, and regularly hosts pop-up events with area chefs working to launch their own businesses.

Barber Brothers Meat & Provisions

The Press Herald reports that brothers Max and Jack Barber have bought the former Legion Square Market in the Knightville neighborhood of South Portland where they plan to open Barber Brothers Meat & Provisions.

Owners of the Mainely Burgers food trucks have purchased South Portland’s former Legion Square Market, also known as Smaha’s, and plan to reopen the neighborhood grocery store and butchery this summer.

Follow the Barber Brothers Meat & Provisions instagram account for updates as they work towards an opening day this summer.

New Oyster Aquaculture

The Times Record has a report on new oyster farming operation in Bath that’s using a novel approach to raise oysters to market-size at an accelerated pace.

The City Council last week approved the sale of a city-owned building on Town Landing Road along the Kennebec River to Matt Nixon, owner of Muddy River Farm Aquaponics. Nixon designed the world’s first 3D-printed, closed-loop, oyster-farming tank made from sustainable materials. It will be the city’s first business specializing in aquaculture, the production of aquatic life like shellfish or salmon under controlled conditions.

Fork Food Lab Move to South Portland

Today’s Press Herald reports on the move of Fork Food Lab to larger quarters in South Portland.

Fork Food Lab, the shared commercial kitchen space and food business incubator, plans to begin moving this month into a two-building campus it has purchased in South Portland that’s eight times the size of its current location, allowing for more of the burgeoning businesses on its lengthy wait list to start the process of growing into independent operations of their own.

Rick’s Lobby Cafe

Ricky and Molly Wood, the owners of Rick’s Lobby Cafe, have announced their lease isn’t being renewed resulting in the closure of their Congress Street location sometime later this year. Next steps for the Wood’s and their business are TBD.

Building management gave notification that they are going to renovate our lobby cafe space. The investors, building owners and partners no longer want to include a cafe or food establishment in this building, post-renovation. As such, our lease is not being renewed. Thankfully, we have until the end of October until we need to be out.

Upcoming Events

MondayBar 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.

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

FridayThe 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.

Sunday – it’s Mother’s Day…check with your favorite restaurants for special Mother’s Day menus.

May 17/18La Gallera is holding a Puerto Rican takeout pop-up from the kitchen Belleville on North Street.

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

May 18 – Mrs. Gee Free Living and Sur Lie are collaborating on a gluten-free dinner.

May 19Onggi will be hosting Hana Makgeolli for a makgeolli brewing workshop.

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

May 21Judy Gibson is serving a 4-course dinner featuring wines from Italy.

May 22Turamali is serving a 4-course Mexican dinner at Cabana.

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. Scratch Baking is teaching a (sold out) bagel baking class,

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 Real Estate: May 2023

Welcome to the May 2023 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 resource gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland (and a few in the surrounding area) that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers and 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

2 Pine St – the former Treasure Chest space in Longfellow Square is for lease. Call (207) 773-7100 for more details.

156 State St – 1,250 sq ft of space on the first floor of the Portland Club is available for $24/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

549 Congress St – the 1,397 sq ft space currently occupied by the Portland Downtown offices is available to lease for $3,100/month (NNN).

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

582 Congress St – the longtime home of Harmon’s Floral Company will be available for lease starting in May. The 1,550 sq ft space is for lease for $5,850/month (NNN).

25 Forest Ave – Portland Stage is looking for a restaurant partner to co-develop a 2,700 sq ft restaurant space in their Forest Ave building; $19.50/sq ft (MG).

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft of space in a beautiful historic building at the corner of Oak and Free Streets is available for $15.50/sq ft (NNN).


75 Chestnut St – a 2,100 sq ft ground floor retail space under construction in Bayside is for sale for $649,999.

73 Cove St – a 5,519 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is listed for $35/sq ft; it’s expected to become available in 2024.

360 Cumberland Ave – two space are available, a, 1,100 sq ft street front retail spot for $22/sq ft, and an 800 sq ft back building for $27/sq ft.

46 Elm St – this 385 sq ft corner space in the parking garage at the corner of Elm Street and Cumberland Ave. It’s available for $13/sq ft (MG).

52 Hanover St – a new building set to open in April 2023. On the first floor will be 1,500 – 4,500 sq ft retail space available for $30/sq ft (NNN).

65 Hanover St – 1,800 sq ft of space is available for $20/sq ft (NNN).

82 Hanover St – the 3,067 sq ft former Yard space in Bayside is available for $30/sq ft (NNN); the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

178 Kennebec St – 2,644 sq ft of space are available in a newly constructed Bayside building for $25/sq ft (NNN).

34 Portland St – the 3,400 sq ft building that was formerly occupied by Candy’s is for sale for $599,000.

Old Port

1 Canal Plaza – 4,284 – 14,412 sq ft of ground floor retail space will be available as part of upcoming renovations; $30/sq ft (NNN).

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is undergoing renovations and is expected to be available in 2023. The 900-2,950 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

185 Commercial St – a new building under construction will include 2,229 sq ft of ground floor retail space that will be available in 2024; $55/sq ft (NNN).

215 Commercial St – 2,189 sq ft of retail space near the corner of Commercial and Dana Streets is available for $65/sq ft (MG).

327 Commercial St – the former Tiqa restaurant is for lease—7,981 sq ft @ $30/sq ft (NNN)—or for sale for #3,500,000.

383 Commercial St – 1,193 – 4,805 square feet of space in a newly constructed building on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

441 Congress St – the 2,400 sq ft former Guitar Grave retail space is available for $15/sq ft (MG).

43 Exchange St – the 1,717 sq ft space occupied by Peruvian Link is for lease for $60/sq ft (MG). It’s located midway down lower Exchange Street.

201 Federal St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the new 18-story building under construction at the corner of Temple and Federal Streets. The 527 and 2,300 sq ft spaces are listed at $40/sq ft (MG).

368 Fore St – the former 5,458 sq ft Old Port Tavern is available for $32/sq ft (NNN).

416 Fore St – the former Mark’s Place is available; 1,100 for $60/sq ft (NNN).

470 Fore St – the longtime home of Paciarino is now available. The 2,000 sq ft storefront on the corner of Fore and Cross Streets is for lease at $32.50/sq ft (NNN).

40 Free St – the new building constructed by JB Brown has four storefronts ranging in size from 1,473 to 3,024 sq ft for $27.50/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).

121 Middle St – a 2,482 sq ft retail spot is available for $45/sq ft (MG).

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

176 Middle St – the former Starbucks store at the crossroads of the Old Port at the intersection of Middle and Exchange Streets is for lease. The 2,126 sq ft space is for lease for $75 (MG).

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

28 Monument Square – two spots are available in the Public Market House. A space on the 2nd floor (143 sq ft with a base rent of $1,185 + utilities and CAM charges—call  413-636-9688 for details) and a 400 sq ft space on the first floor available for $2,250/month (NNN).

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).

144 State St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the development in the former Mercy Hospital building on State Street. The 1100 and 2,566 spaces are available for $26/sq ft (MG).

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

110 Thames St – two spots (2,700 and 3,200 sq ft) are now available in the newly constructed building in the Portland Foreside development. Both are listed at $35/sq ft (NNN).

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 Street

144 Fore St – the former VA building is near the Portland Foreside development and adjacent to several new office buildings off Thames Street. It has 1,537 – 21,911 sq ft of space available for $24-29/sq ft (NNN).

47 India St – 1,000 sq ft of the former Lois’ Market building is for lease, $3,333/month (NNN).

Forest Ave

369 Forest Ave – a 5,040 sq ft building on Forest Ave is available for $14.50/sq ft (MG).

671-675 Forest Ave – a retail building in the center of Woodfords Corner is for sale for $675,000.

503 – 509 Forest Ave – the exterior of this building is slated to be restored to its historic design. It has 4,500 – 9,500 sq ft of space available for $10/sq ft (NNN).

701 Forest Ave – 3,147 – 6,405 with parking available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

1871 Forest Ave – the former Tortilla Flat building is for sale for $3,100,000.

Deering Center

476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,450,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory. It is also available to lease, 3,000 – 4,091 sq ft for $25 – 30/sq ft (NNN).

Elsewhere in Portland

1091 Congress St – the former Denny’s building and parking lot are available to lease; 4,901 sq ft at $25.50/sq ft (NNN).

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

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

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

Outside of Portland

Bath – the former  home of Salt Pine Social is available. The 3,535 sq ft building is available for $16/sq ft (NNN).

18 Ocean St, South Portland – the 4,351 sq ft former Snow Squall is for lease for $12/sq ft (NNN).

372 Cottage Rd, South Portland – the former Omi’s Coffee Shop is available for lease. Call Jennifer Davies at (207) 650-9944 for more 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.


Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram tells the story of 5 food trucks that are making the transition to becoming restaurants.

For a food truck owner, launching an actual restaurant is often a dream come true. But it’s also leveling up by an order of magnitude, requiring more money, time, staff and dedication.

Talk to the budding restaurateurs about their conversion projects and you find that while the path to a fixed location contains seemingly endless hurdles and serious financial investments, they feel the potential rewards are worth the stress.

Featured in the article are: George’s North Shore, Yolked Farm to Table, Rebel Cheesteaks, Curbside Comforts, and Quanto Basta.

The food truck-to-restaurant path is well established in Portland. 20+ food trucks have made the transition since 2012 when the city passed the food truck ordinance.