The Maine Sunday Telegram talked to restaurants about the steps they’re taking and the guidance they have on how to operate safely and what to do when they have a potential Covid exposure.
Similarly, every one of the five food businesses I called to learn more about COVID-19 closures was eager to talk about their plans and procedures. “It’s an issue every restaurant has to think about,” Zak Taillon, general manager of Boda, said. “We did lots of pre-preparation and have always been a few steps ahead, all the way back to March of last year, when we closed for indoor dining way before we were even required to be. We’re doing our best and have successfully avoided spreading it in our tiny kitchen two times so far. We are really proud and don’t want to keep that hush-hush.”
Thrillist has published an update to their guide on Where to Eat in Portland. The new version by author and Portland resident Mindy Fox includes: Helm, Sichuan Kitchen, Terlingua, Leeward, Ramona’s, Radici, Belleville, Rose Foods, Chaval, Minato, Mami, Mr. Tuna, Woodford, Solo Italiano, Scales, The Honey Paw, Judy Gibson.
It’s winter with a capital W in Portland, Maine—with cold temps and COVID challenges combined—but in true Portland style, our resilient restaurant community powers on, cooking up creative world-class fare along with inventive ways to serve us lucky diners. From curbside pick-up, takeout, and special pantry offerings to cook-at-home kits, to-go cocktails, and heated outdoor patios, there are many delicious ways to support the local food scene while following state guidelines and keeping safety top of mind. Here is our salute to Portland’s best new restaurants, including brave new stars, as well as faves from the past five-ish years.
As reported back in January, a new brewery called Belleflower Brewing (website, facebook, instagram) has taken over the former Brewery Extrava space in East Bayside. Owners Zach Page, Melissa Page, Nick Bonadies and Katie Bonadies plan on launching later this year producing a line-up of hoppy beers and stouts to start.
Belleflower has now applied for a liquor license. In the cover letter submitted with the application they’ve indiciated that they will offer wine, cider and non-alcoholic drinks in addition to their house-made beer, and will have a changing menu of “pre-packaged snacks from local vendors”. The draft menu includes a cheese and charcuterie board from The Cheese Shop.
The Press Heraldreports a decision by the city to close Dana, Milk and Wharf Streets as well as a part of Middle Street to car traffic but to re-open Exchange Street for regular vehicular traffic.
The barricades last year allowed some businesses to expand outdoor seating or shopping into the empty street, so customers could avoid coming indoors and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses, especially restaurants, took advantage of that option. Others, particularly retailers, said their foot traffic dropped. The city reopened the streets when the temperatures dropped in November but allowed outdoor dining to continue.
Chaval is launching a new takeout pop-up series called Con Todo (instagram). The pop-ups will be taking place every 3-4 weeks and each one will have a different theme.
The first Con Todo will be taking place Monday March 1st and the concept is Chef’s Night Out in KTown. Chaval has been barrel fermenting kimchee for the last 2 months and they’re excited to use it in the upcoming Con Todo menu. Future ideas for pop-ups include a Quebec sugar house menu, and a Piccolo dinner.