Rabelais Books on Washington Ave

Don Lindgren has leased a retail space at The Black Box on Washington Ave which will become a temporary retail shop for his acclaimed culinary bookstore Rabelais Books (website, facebook, instagram) during the months of July, August and September.

The shop will feature a mixture of food and drink-related books, ephemera, and artifacts, mixing new and recent publications with old and rare cookbooks, recipe manuscripts, and culinary ephemera.

Once a behemoth of a cookbook shop in Biddeford’s North Dam Mill, the tiny container space will be a cabinet of curiosities, featuring a mixture of food and drink-related books, ephemera, and artifacts. Mixing new and recent publications with old and rare cookbooks, recipe manuscripts, and culinary ephemera, we expect a visit to Rabelais’ tiny space to make a gargantuan impact on what you think about cookbooks, or food writing, or culinary history.

Lindgren plans to launch this pocket-sized Rabelais on the July 4th weekend. The regular hours of operation will be Wednesday through Monday, 11 am to 7 pm. It will be located in the space immediately to the right of Moonday Coffee.

Rabelais was named to the Saveur 100 list of their favorite foods, people, places, and things, was called the “Best Cookbook Shop in America” by Andrew Knowlton in Bon Appetite, and was featured in the Maine episode of the show of Somebody Feed Phil. Launched in 2007 in the storefront that’s now home to Eventide on Middle Street, Rabelais was in the city to witness and participate in its rise as a culinary destination. In 2012 the bookshop moved to Biddeford. Lindgren closed the Biddeford store in September 2023 and since then has operated Rabelais as a virtual business.

Lindgren has spent an active life in the book trade. He has served on the Board of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of American, was a presenter at the Oxford Food Symposium in 2017 and in 2019, and was named a Literary Lion in the 2023 Readable Feast honors program. He was a contributing author to the Maine Community Cookbooks and currently serves as a Board member of Community Plate, an organization dedicated to facilitating connection and building community through a common language of food, shared food stories and recipes.

Pot + Pan Kitchen Opens on Saturday

Pot + Pan Kitchen (website, facebook, instagram) will be opening their new retail store on June 15th, 10 am – 7 pm. They’re located in Woodfords Corner at 646 Forest Ave.

The Pot + Pan shop will sell their house made line of low dose culinary cannabis edibles as well as kitchenware and party goods. The bakery will feature baked goods like their mini bundt cakes as well as chocolate bars, bonbons, and gummies prepared by chef Tara Cannaday.

Pot + Pan was founded in 2015. Cannaday appeared on season 2 of the Food Network’s Summer Baking Championship, was profiled in Forbes and is the cannabis writer for Edible Maine.

Cuties in the Old Port

A group of friends and industry professionals—Bryce Summers, Garrett Lenderman, Ryan Nielsen, Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin—have teamed up to lease the former Petite Jacqueline space where they plan to open Cuties (instagram).

Cuties will be an all-day bar that starts off as a coffee shop in the morning and transitions in the evening into a wine and cocktail bar.  There will be a mix of bar and lounge seating and a drink rail that runs the length of the windows facing Market Street.

The vision for Cuties is to offer a brightly lit and welcoming space for folks to gather over low-ABV drinks, coffee and laptops during the day. Evenings will morph into an unfussy wine and cocktail bar and will highlight an affordable bottle list and playful drinks like unique frozen cocktails, a rotating margarita menu and an espresso martini on nitro. Later into the night Cuties will embrace a “lights down, music up” atmosphere that encourages good times while still offering good product. The food program will be a tight, fresh, and fun selection of snacks that aims to complement the beverage offerings.

Lenderman and Summers currently work at Bar Futo where Summer is the bar manager, Nielsen was the initial chef at Magnus and operates the Wild Haven pop-up series, and Coffin and Brown are the owners of Room for Improvement which launched in 2023.

The team plans to fully launch into renovations this fall and hopes to launch Cuties this winter.

Zu Bakery Wins Beard Award

Congratulations to ZU Bakery and its owner Barak Olins on being James Beard Awards winner in the Outstanding Bakery category. Zu Bakery was a nominee in the category along with bakeries from California, Oregon and New York. Olins initially launched Zu Bakery in 2000 and opened its present day West End location in November 2022.

For more information: Watch this instagram story for a look at Zu Bakery and the work Olins and his team do, and read this interview with Olins from earlier this year.

There were four nominees from Maine this year which were selected from 10 chef and restaurant semifinalist in the 2024 James Beard Foundation Awards season. For more information on Maine’s Beard Awards history, see this complete list of award winners, nominees and semifinalists.

Fujimoto Wins Beard Award

Congratulations to Atsuko Fujimoto from Norimoto Bakery on being James Beard Awards winner in the Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker category. Fujimoto was a nominee in the category along with bakers and pastry chefs from Washington DC, Illinois, Arizona and Florida. Fujimoto has been a baker in Portland for 20 years. She launched Norimoto in 2019 and opened her bakery on Stevens Ave in October 2021.

For more information: Read this interview with Fujimoto from 2020 and see this instagram story from her South Portland bakery.

There were four nominees from Maine this year which were selected from 10 chef and restaurant semifinalist in the 2024 James Beard Foundation Awards season. For more information on Maine’s Beard Awards history, see this complete list of award winners, nominees and semifinalists.

Upcoming Food & Dining Events

All This WeekPortland Wine Week is taking place.

Monday – The James Beard Awards Gala is taking place in Chicago tonight. Four Maine chefs and restaurants are nominees. Check back tonight for further news on the event and how our nominees fared. You can also watch the livestream of the event on Youtube this evening starting at 6:30 pm.

June 17 – The 3rd Annual ChopTails Competition will be taking place at Batson River.

June 18Room for Improvement will be hosting a Pulutan Filipino pop-up by chef Amadeus Florendo.

June 19Mrs. Gee Free Living and Catface Cafe are holding a gluten-free dinner in Biddeford.

June 20Dandelion Spring Farm in Bowdoinham will be holding the first of their summer Taco Night series (taking place the 3rd Thursday of each month). See their event calendar for more details.

June 20-22 – The 40th Annual Greek Festival is taking place.

June 22 – The Great Falls Brewfest is taking place in Lewiston.

June 24-30 – The 2nd Annual Wurst Week Ever is taking place at Highroller, Hunt & Alpine, Room for Improvement and Bar Futo.

June 27Nina June in Rockport is hosting Naama Shefi for a multi-course prix-fixe dinner in celebration of Shefi’s new book The Jewish Holiday Table.

June 29 – The 3rd Annual Mast Landing Wavy Days Festival is taking place.

June 29/30 – The Maine Oyster Festival is taking place in Freeport.

July 25/26 – The Kneading Conference is taking place in Skowhegan.

August 3/4 – The Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend is taking place.

August 30September 1 – The Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

September 8 – The Maine Cheese Festival is taking place in Pittsfield.

September 20-22 – The Common Ground Fair will be taking place.

October 13 – The 16th Annual Open Creamery Day is taking place.

Maine Food & Dining News: Sherman, Brunswick, Camden, Biddeford, Monson, Swanville, Bristol, Scarborough

New food and dining developments are taking place all across Maine. Here are some recent updates to keep you in the know:

For a statewide guide to eating and drinking see the Maine Food Map—a growing list of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and other food and dining businesses in all of Maine’s 16 counties.

 

Jennifer Lakari, 50

Sommelier Jennifer Lakari passed away recently after a long battle with cancer.

Jen graduated from the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University In 1997, and in 2008, Jen became a certified sommelier. Food and wine became one of her passions, and among the many food venues she worked in were Fore Street, Grace, Purpoodock Club, Browne Trading, and Bow Street Beverage. When she opened Flock and Vine Bike and Beverage in Cape Elizabeth and, later, in South Portland, Jen taught others about wine, often hosting lively wine tastings and seminars.

A celebration of her life is scheduled to take place June 19th, 6 – 8 pm at Grace, 15 Chestnut St, Portland.

DelivCo Food Delivery

A new food delivery service called DelivCo (website, facebook) launched over the past weekend. DelivCo will be serving Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Falmouth, and Westbrook.

Owner Doug Clark has experience working for other national and local delivery companies and has decided to start his own company. DelivCo has launched with delivery for Brickyard Hollow, and Clark anticipates adding more restaurants to his roster in the coming weeks.

Hours of operation are 11 am – 9 pm.

Low Stakes Lodge on Exchange Street

Andy Gerry, Baxter Key, and Peter Bissell—the owners of The Highroller Lobster Company—plan to open their new restaurant Low Stakes Lodge (instagram) later this month.

The new steakhouse is located at 106 Exchange Street in the space adjacent to Highroller that was most recently occupied by Timber.  The dining room includes a 13-seat bar, booth seating along the wall and upper seating area with a capacity of about 70 overall.

The menu will include prime Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, New York Strip and other steak cuts as well as some other entrees. A Bloomin’ Onion, Wedge Salad and French Onion Soup are among the appetizers. The beverage program will include classic and house cocktails, draft beer and wines by the glass and bottle.

Low Stakes draws inspiration from traditional steakhouse design and blends it with Maine history and some twists from the owners’ memories of the Bugaboo Creek chain. An animatronic moose head (named Moosifer) is mounted in the dining room. It has glowing red eyes, looks from side to side while twitching its ears and occasionally blows steam out its nose.

The mural that stretches the full length of the bar was painted by Spenser MacLeod (aka Leonardo Devinci) and the large format Maine historical photos were sourced by Timothy Goldkin from Ramble More Design. David Johansen (aka Neon Dave) has produced a piece for the restaurant as well.

Low Stakes Lodge will be open Thursday through Sunday, 5– 10 pm.

For a information on all the new businesses under development in Portland see our Under Construction list.