Lucky Pigeon Gluten-Free Brewery

A new brewery specializing in gluten-free beer is under construction in Biddeford. Lucky Pigeon Brewing (facebook, instagram) will be located in the Pepperell Mill complex in the same building as Banded Brewing. Lucky Pigeon will be the first brewery in Maine exclusively producing gluten-free beer, and will be brewing with millett, buckwheat and rice.

Head brewer Scott Nebel got his start in the beer industry at Sebago, and most recently was part of the team at Maine Beer Company. He’s been brewing test batches of IPAs, brown ales, Kolsch-style blonde, and porters. Lucky Pigeon plans to produce a range of styles along with seasonal and special batch beers.

Owners Kathleen Pigeon, Bev Pigeon, Nic Bramer and Lesley Bramer hope to launch Lucky Pigeon this spring. They have set-up an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in hopes of raising $20k to pay for a high capacity canning machine. You can read more about Lucky Pigeon and contribute to the campaign on indiegogo.com.

Winter Weekends in Portland

The Boston Globe advises Bostonians (with a recent negative Covid test) to drive North for a visit to Portland.

Want to give your love life a shot in the arm, figuratively speaking? One word: Portland. (You were expecting Paris? Get real.) Part of this recommendation is sheer sentimentality: The gorgeous, laid back Pine Tree State has been the backdrop of much of our romantic history, including sailing trips, country inn and hiking excursions, and assorted kissy-face getaways with our significant others. And Portland has an added benefit, an excellent dining scene. So even if the romance doesn’t sizzle, you’ll have had a great meal or two. Portland in winter may not ring everyone’s romantic chimes, but we set out to see if the city could work its mushy magic on a couple of bedraggled souls who haven’t had a haircut since February 2020.

Vy Banh Mi Food Truck

A new food truck called Vy Banh Mi (facebook, instagram) is under development. Owners Minh Nguyen and Vy Phan are originally from Vietnam and moved to Maine 10 years ago. Vy Banh Mi will be a way they can share their passion for food and perhaps be a first step in opening their own restaurant.

Nguyen and Phan plan to have six different types of banh mi on the menu:

    1. The Traditional Banh Mi (pork roll cold cut and pate)
    2. Grilled beef
    3. Grilled chicken
    4. BBQ pork
    5. Meat ball
    6. Tofu

All the sandwiches will be served on a Vietnamese baguette with mayo, fresh cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños, pickled carrot and daikon radish.

Look for Vy Banh Mi to launch sometime in late February or early March, and in the meantime follow them on instagram to stay looped in on the latest news about their food truck.

East Bayside Bam Bam Bakey

Bam Bam Bakery (website, facebook, intagram) has leased a 3,000 square foot space in East Bayside where they plan to reopen their gluten-free bakery. The new space space is located at 148 Anderson Street in a building next to Tandem Coffee.

Owner Tina Cromwell closed her Commercial Street retail operation last year and has been offering weekly pre-order baked goods since then. She anticipates opening the new bakery this spring with an expanded menu that will include more savory options. The new Bam Bam will also have an all gluten-free grocery section with some of their favorite items and take home mixes. Once they reopen they’ll also begin shipping their baked goods countrywide via the Goldbelly service.

Bam Bam was featured on an episode of  Good Morning America back in May.

Small Axe Guest Chef Series

Small Axe is launching a guest chef series in February:

  • Josh Sobel from Ramona’s and Small Axe are collaborating on a menu that will be available on February 5 – 6
  • Atsuko Fujimoto from Norimoto Bakery will be working with Small Axe on a menu for February 19 – 20

Briana Holt from Tandem Bakery will be on the calendar in March, and Small Axe is working to schedule more chefs. Stay tuned for more details.

The Big Takeout/Delivery List

Here’s the ever-changing and newly revised list of takeout options in Portland.

OTHER RESOURCES

RESTAURANT TAKEOUT/DELIVERY IN PORTLAND

BAKERIES, DONUTS & BAGELS

CANDY, CHOCOLATE, ICE CREAM, GELATO

COFFEE, TEA & JUICE

BEER, WINE & SPIRITS

SEAFOOD

Good Pizza PHL

Ben Berman, one of the original co-owners of Mainely Burgers, has been written up in the Washington Post for the home-based pizza service he’s running in his neighborhood in Philadelphia.

The pandemic had become more dire by the summer, and he was wondering how he could help people in need and boost the spirits of his neighbors, many of whom were also staying in their apartments.

“I was talking to my girlfriend, and she suggested that pizza was the way to do it,” said Berman, 28. “So I decided to make free cheese pizzas and lower them out my window to anyone who wanted one, with a suggestion that they make a donation to charities that help people who are hungry or homeless.”

“I thought, ‘If I can make people smile by dropping pizzas down to them from my apartment, why not?’ ” he added.

Dining Out During a Pandemic

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about dining out, customers attitudes, and the pandemic.

I also began to understand the new layer of frustration our hospitality folks are experiencing. There’s an element of survivors’ guilt in acknowledging they have jobs and others don’t. There’s also the extra work, for less money, involved in opening and closing a dining room with a skeleton crew. Servers are also in fear for their own health and the health of those they love.

Outdoor Dining

Maine Public has aired a report on how Maine restaurants are building out enhanced outdoor dining, and engaging in other programs to make it through the Covid winter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Maine’s hospitality industry harder than any other sector. With cold weather taking its grip on 2021 and the surging virus keeping people at home, job losses are accelerating, particularly in the food-service sector. Still, many of Maine’s chefs and restaurant owners continue to find new ways to stay open through the winter.

Blackstones

The Portland Phoenix has published an article about Blackstones, a gay bar in Longfellow Square.

The coronavirus pandemic has left many local bar owners without a path forward, and reality set in for Blackstones manager Carl Currie last month.

Currie had just come out of a staff meeting with bar owner Matt Pekins where they decided they would have to ask the community for money to stay afloat until spring.

He said the decision was a difficult one that he and Pekins tried to avoid, and that it made him uncomfortable. But less than two weeks after he created a GoFundMe page asking neighbors to help save Portland’s last gay bar, they had raised enough in pledges to survive the winter.