Oak & Ember Opens Friday

Oak & Ember (website, instagram), the new farm-to-table gastropub in Buxton, is scheduled to open on Friday. Owner Shannon Keefe and her team have lightly renovated the former Buxton Common building. It includes an outdoor deck that seats 38, and a variety of rooms and seating areas inside the building that overall seats 60.

Chef Kirby Sholl is the executive chef at Oak & Ember. Sholl was formerly the chef de cuisine at Chaval. The menu (see below) includes a mix of small bites, apps, pasta and mains. Shown above are the Grilled Shrimp and the Grilled Iberian Pork.

The beverage program includes wines (mostly old world) by the glass, draft and packaged beer/cider/seltzer and a short list of house-designed cocktails. In addition to the restaurant there’s also a on-site wine shop that will sell all the wines of the by-the-glass and bottle list offered at Oak & Ember.

Oak & Ember will initially be open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner. Reservations are available online on Resy.com.

Bon Appetit Best Dishes

Bon Appetit recently came out with their list of the best new restaurants of the past year. While no Maine restaurants were highlighted this year, dishes from two new restaurants were featured.

The Milk Bread with Brown Butter and Smoked Pecans at Twelve was called out in BA’s article on “The Absolute Best Dishes We Ate at New Restaurants This Year“.

And, the Lemon Meringue Kakigori at Bar Futo was selected for their list of “The Most Delightful Desserts We Ate at New Restaurants This Year“.

The Maker’s Galley Closing

Owner Rachel Sagiroglu has announced she’ll be closing her business The Maker’s Galley which is located near the corner of India and Commercial Streets. The last day of operations will be September 27th. Maker’s Galley opened on November 13, 2021.

After careful consideration, I have come to the difficult decision to close The Maker’s Galley. The Maker’s Galley was created to bring together local makers and food enthusiasts as the brick-and-mortar location for Experience Maine. Sadly, the last year has been increasingly difficult to manage two growing businesses and maintain work life balance. In addition, I can no longer carry the burden of the rising costs impacting restaurants in Maine and the constant staffing challenges. As Experience Maine continues to grow, it has also become clear that I need to focus my energy on this business and the greater impact it can have on Maine’s hospitality and tourism industry.

Sagiroglu plans launch a new catering and private chef business called Experience Maine Culinary to carry on some of the services and events that Maker’s Galley produced.

Wine Enthusiast: Best Wine Shops

Wine Enthusiast has included Vessel & Vine (instagram) and Maine & Loire (instagram) on their list of The Best Wine Shops of 2023.

Our 2023 shops are information hubs and community centers. They open windows into local wine regions, introducing consumers to the ferments happening in their own backyards. These shops help tell America’s wine story as it is today—one that celebrates new varieties, new approaches to winemaking and a diverse maker space.

Today’s shops don’t only sell wine, either. They’re expanding notions of where wine fits into our lives, with many shops offering cider, sake, bread, cheese, coffee and books. They’re also crafting thriving communities, paving the way for a new kind of wine culture.

The article was written by Portland area wine professional and journalist Margot Mazur (instagram).

Upcoming Events

ThursdaySur Lie is serving a gluten-free menu.

FridayThe Waldoboro Inn is hosting a wine dinner in collaboration with Devenish Wines and Elbow’s Catering.

September 18 – an all-star line-up of female chefs from Maine are collaborating on multi-course Fabulous Femmes dinner to benefit MOFGA and to highlight Maine women in farming. Chefs Ashleigh Shanti from Good Hot Fish in Ashville and Jordan Rubin from Mr. Tuna are collaborating on a 6-course dinner at Bar Futo.

September 22-24 – The Common Ground Country Fair is taking place in Unity.

September 24 – the Latino Food Festival is taking place, and The Saltyard is holding a cocktail brunch at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

September 24-30Maine Lobster Week is taking place.

September 30Tender Table is holding their 3rd annual food and art fair in Congress Square Park, and Biddeford is holding an Oktoberfest celebration. The Maine Needham Festival is taking place in Wiscasset.

October 4MOFGA is holding an apple tasting at the Maine Heritage Orchard in Unity.

October 5Inside Wayside, a fundraising food event for the Wayside Food Programs is taking place.

October 7Oxbow is holding their annual Goods from the Woods event in Newcastle.

October 8Dandelion Spring Farms is holding a Harvest Dinner, and Maine Open Creamery Day is taking place.

October 15Twelve is holding a Harvest Party. Tickets go on sale on September 15th.

October 25-28 – Harvest on the Harbor is taking place.

November 5Chaval is holding a late harvest dinner at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport.

December 7 – Secret Supper is holding a (sold out) holiday dinner in the Portland area.

June 26 – Secret Supper (instagram) is holding a dinner in the Portland area.

Review of Dara Bistro

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a four star review of Dara Bistro in Cumberland.

…Dara Bistro is a cozy, under-the-radar treasure in Cumberland. Chef/owner Bryan Dame has been preparing buzzworthy breakfasts, brunches and lunches in the space since 2017, but it wasn’t until last summer that he began serving a dinner menu inspired by New England, European bistro cooking and Southern food. The combo works delightfully…Absolutely worth a drive.

Seagriculture Conference

The Press Herald has a report on the Seagriculture Conference that took place in Portland this week.

Johnson was among 300 attendees at “Seagriculture,” the second annual International Seaweed Conference USA, held this week at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. The two-day event featured presentations by global leaders in seaweed innovation exploring its production and various uses, including food, bioplastics, medicine and sustainable economic development.

Here’s a link to the program for the conference.

Maine Food & Dining News

Here are some recent food and dining highlights from around the state:

Rising Star Costal New England Awards

StarChefs has released their list of Rising Stars in the Costal New England region.

In New England, cold, snowed-in nights turn into long, sunny beach days. In our over 100 editorial visits across Rhode Island, Maine, and the Massachusetts Islands, we found a group of industry professionals defying the odds of seasonality, embracing the unique challenges of an economy that burns hotter than the summer sun, and understanding how to keep themselves and their teams stimulated and engaged in the winter months. There is a serious focus on agriculture, aquaculture, as well as innovations in showcasing what is fished and farmed locally. From the Narragansett to the Casco, StarChefs is proud to welcome in our newest class of Rising Stars. 

A number of Portland area chefs, restaurateurs and bartenders are on the list. Congratulations to all the honorees:

Read more about the Rising Star Awards Program on the starchefs.com website.

Bite Into Maine Interview

Mainebiz has published an interview with Sarah and Karl Sutton, the owners of Bite Into Maine.

MB: How did you finance your startup costs?
Karl Sutton: In 2011, after yet another failed loan application, the loan officer looked at me and suggested we seek out the three F’s for financing. The three F’s? I hadn’t heard of this. He explained: Friends, Family and Fools. It was pretty clear we had to figure it out on our own. After maxing out our credit cards, liquidating 401ks and borrowing $4,000 from Sarah’s father, we were up and kinda running.