Soft Serve Ice Cream & Review of Paper Tiger

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Paper Tiger, and

Rattan, neon signs, graphic wallpaper, cozy booths, dark lighting, balanced cocktails and a menu of well-executed, Asian-inspired small plates – what’s not to love? Paper Tiger might have opened just one year ago, but this Fore Street lounge and restaurant already feels like an established hangout for Portland’s cool kids…Paper Tiger is an under-the-radar charmer.

a feature article about soft serve ice cream.

Now, a new era in soft serve has arrived in Maine. A growing number of chef-created, scratch-made soft serve options in worldly flavors with leveled-up toppings are as likely to put a period on your restaurant meal (make that an exclamation point!) as to be seasonal beachside or after-the-game treats.

Auction, Closure, Sale

Here are updates on three businesses that are in transition:

Boston on Biddeford

Boston Magazine has published A Day Tripper’s Guide to Biddeford.

Over the past decade, Portland, Maine, has cemented itself as one of the foodie capitals of America. But it’s only recently that its neighbor to the south, Biddeford, has blossomed into a destination in its own right. Towering brick buildings once home to busy mills now house award-winning bars, restaurants, breweries, and distilleries. Throw in a hip new hotel, and you’ve got yourself a delicious treat in the form of a weekend getaway.

Khmer Kitchen in Public Market

A new Cambodian restaurant called Khmer Kitchen (facebook) is under construction on the second floor of the Public Market House. Khmer Kitchen is moving into the two spaces that were formerly occupied by Dila’s Kitchen and Pho Huong.

Owner Khanya Mimande plan to serve “a variety of authentic Cambodian/Khmer food, fresh, delicious, flavorful meals, appetizers, and drinks.” The draft menu includes a wide variety of rice dishes like Cha Kroeung (stir fry lemongrass with red and green peppers, onion and Thai basil), rice noodle based soups, wings, ribs, and Khmer egg rolls.

Mimande is in the final stages of launching Khmer Kitchen, and also plans to open a Laotian restaurant.

Eastern Prom Food Trucks

The Portland Phoenix has published an update on the Eastern Prom food truck situation.

This summer will mark the second season that food trucks parking near the Eastern Promenade will be restricted to the Cutter Street parking lot, a move many owners at the time criticized and protested. This year, just seven food trucks will be permitted in the lot, down from the 14 that were permitted last year.

The Great Lost Bear

The beer bar and restaurant we know today as The Great Lost Bear was founded in 1979 by Dave Evans, Weslie Evans and Chip MacConnell. Now after more than four decades in business, ownership of The Bear is being handed off to the next generation. Longtime managers Michael Dickson, Mary Dickson and Andrew Pillsbury signed paperwork Monday and became the new owners of the iconic Forest Ave establishment.

The Great Lost Bear launched in the pre-craft beer era in Maine. Geary’s was Maine’s first modern craft brewery and it sold its first beer in 1986. Gritty’s opened in 1988, and Shipyard and Allagash didn’t launch until the middle of the next decade. A very early beer list at the Bear consisted of Heineken, Saint Pauli Girl, Molson, Bass, Ballantine, Michelob, Miller Lite, Guiness, Miller and Budwiser and few draft beers. Now clocking in at ~70 taps of craft beer, the original Great Lost Bear draft line consisted of just four taps.

As the local brewing industry has developed, The Great Lost Bear has been a witness and essential supporter of the Maine craft beer industry. Here are some thoughts from Allagash founder Rob Tod,

The folks at the Great Lost Bear were the first to take a chance and put my beer, Allagash White, on tap. And since then, they’ve been institutional in supporting and expanding the popularity of the beer scene here in Maine. I’m glad to see that I’ll be able to enjoy a pint at the Bear for many years to come.

Weslie and Dave Evans moved to Portland from North Conway where they worked in the restaurant industry—Dave as a cook and Weslie in the front of house. When they decided to launch their own business they moved to Portland and eventually found a location on Forest Ave in what had been the Bottoms Up rock club. At the time the back half of the building was home to Nappi’s Bakery. The Evans’s and MacConnell leased their half of the building for $800/month.

Dave Evans was the first chef of the restaurant and over the years the menu has grown from a four page list to the behemoth it is today. While a lot has changed over the years, there a few dishes—and Weslie Evans’ wonderful illustrations and lettering—that have been constants including the French Onion Gratinee, Spinach Salad, and the I’ve Never Haddock Like This.  The vegetarian section (Carnivore’s Beware!) made it’s appearance in 1981.

See below for a look at the cover art (cropped to fit) of GLB menus from the very early days through the version in use today. You’ll notice the first in the series uses the name The Grizzly Bear which was the original name of the business. It was changed, after a legal challenge from an pre-existing West coast operation called Grizzly Bear Pizza in 1981 to the new (and much better) moniker we use today.

Best of luck to the new owners as they steer The Great Lost Bear forward in the years to come.


Twist Twirling into Monument Square

Melissa Lombardi, the owner of the Twist (instagram) ice cream food truck, has leased a first floor space at the Public Market House. The new location will be the home of a year-round business named Twirl.

Twirl will offer an expanded menu of shakes, cakes, pints, and other grab and go treats such as ice cream sandwiches in addition to the made-to-order ice cream creations that have been available from the food truck since it launched in 2019.

Lombardi hopes to have Twirl open in time for Father’s Day on June 18th.

2023 Portland Wine Week

Portland Wine Week 2023

The 2023 Portland Wine Week (websitefacebookinstagram) is taking place this summer June 12th to 18th at various locations across the city. There are 56 events and weeklong offerings on the calendar—be sure to check out the 33 events in the Women in Wine track.

Listed here are some of the highlights, see below or visit the Portland Wine Week site to see  the full list of events.

Portland Wine Week Schedule

Upcoming Events

MondayTuramali is serving a 4-course Mexican dinner at Cabana.

Thursday – the second Maine Food Convergence session is taking place.

May 29Wilson County Barbecue is holding a pig roast.

May 29 – Chefs Cara Stadler and Leon Vuong are collaborating on a Memorial Day Brunch at Tao Yuan.

May 30GMRI is leading an Alewife Migration Walk at the Mill Brook Preserve, and Vena’s is leading a Tiki Cocktail Workshop at Liquid Riot.

June 2Liquid Riot is celebrating their 10th anniversary, and Full Plates is holding a Haute Lunch event at the Yarmouth High School.

June 4 – the Casco Bay Seafood Festival is taking place in Brunswick.

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.

June 9 – Chef Josh Berry and Mast Landing are collaborating on a 4-course beer dinner at The Maker’s Galley.

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.

June 22-24 – the Holy Trinity Church is holding their annual Greek Festival.

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 30Tender 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.