George + Leon’s Review, Freeport Restaurants

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of George + Leon’s.

But George & Leon’s (named for Abbey’s dog and his young son, respectively) has emerged from adversity with a renewed respect for its team and better, more consistent food served at appropriate temperatures. If you visit, order a glass of natural wine to go with your traditional Super Beef sandwich, a softball-sized monster of a sandwich packed with pink beef, James River BBQ sauce, and white American cheese. Get it as a “4-way,” if you enjoy crisp onion rings. If you’re not in the mood for beef, the homemade chicken finger sub and the umami-overloaded, brown-butter-and-mushroom sub are also top-notch options.

The paper also takes an in-depth look at the Freeport restaurant scene and the factors holding it back from further growth.

While restaurateurs seem drawn like moths these days to the bright heat of the Greater Portland food scene, many in the town of Freeport feel underserved by the comparatively lackluster dining choices, especially for a sit-down meal.

Maine Food & Dining News

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

  • Downhill Bagel Company (instagram) has leased space at 446 Main Street (shown above) in Springvale where they plan to open a bakery cafe. Downhill will be serving bagels, brewed and espresso-based coffee drinks, lunch specials including pastrami on rye, daily soup specials, and pizza baciata. Owner Billy Nichols wants the shop to be a community space where art is displayed, events can take place and people can come and get to know each other. Nichols hopes to open the new shop by early February. He launched Downhill in October selling at the Sanford and Berwick farmers’ markets.
  • Brunswick’s Dog Bar Jim (instagram) coffee house has been running a dinner series that’s been gaining steam. Owner Ben Gatchell launched The Golden Demise in mid-October. He’s now serving 4 different menus each with its own night, Wednesday through Saturday which in order are Mexican, Korean, burgers, pan-Asian. For more information see this article from the Bowdoin Orient and this instagram post from DBJ.
  • The Pat’s Pizza in Presque Isle has re-opened under new ownership. The father of co-owner Michael Gallagher, Brian Gallagher, was a co-owner of the original Pat’s when it opened in 1989 according a report from the Bangor Daily News.
  • Good Wine Bar opened last Friday on Main Street in Saco.
  • A wine bar and retail shop called Pulling Corks is under construction in Belfast.

Sanabria’s Coquito

Punch has published an article about Papi beverage director LyAnna Sanabria’s recipe for the classic Puerto Rican drink Coquito.

While coquito is often shorthanded as Puerto Rico’s answer to eggnog, the comparison is not quite right, Sanabria notes. While the two drinks share some characteristics—boozy, creamy, spiced—coquito tends to be lighter-bodied than eggnog, meant for sipping in warmer weather. It also has a complicated heritage entwined with the island’s colonial past.

Review of The Garrison

The Bollard has published a review of The Garrison.

OK, now you can breathe. Just kidding! Enter the Squash Ravioli ($25), the surprise hit of the night. With cinnamon pasta dough, ras el hanout (North African spice mix) and Italian sausage broth, we wondered how Chef Christian could possibly pull these parts together. He did, of course, once again masterfully combining Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. A perfect bite including every component then gave the dish a curry profile that left us happily bewildered, yet again. 

Pulling Corks in Belfast

A new wine bar and wine shop called Pulling Corks (instagram) is under construction in Belfast. It’s being launched by David Speer and Kristin Amundson-Speer. Their vision is a place where customers can “casually drop in and have a glass and a snack, or come and celebrate a really special occasion with an amazing bottle.”

They’ve purchased the 150 year old building that was the former of Bellabooks and are in the process renovating the first floor to be the home of Pulling Corks. The building is at 31 Pendleton Street located just a block away from the center of town. The bar will seat 24-30 people with outdoor seating in an adjacent garden during warmer months.

David Speer has been in the wine industry for over two decades. In 2013, he was named by Food & Wine to their list of the Best Sommeliers of the Year. Prior to moving to Maine, he was the founder and owner of a 20-seat champagne bar called Ambonnay in Portland, Oregon. Speer also operates the Red Slate Wine Company which offers private sommelier service specializing in wines from Champagne and Burgundy.

The couple hope to have Pulling Corks open in time for the start of the summer season.

Nosh Tacos Now Open

Nosh Taco (instagram), the new eatery located in the oval-shaped building in Canal Plaza, opened on Friday. The menu includes a selection of carnitas, veggie, chicken and fish tacos and tortas. The drinks menu include a variety of margaritas as well as a mojito, ranch water, beer and wine.

The business has been launched by Michael Fraser, Michael Barbuto and Kevin Doyle. The three are also owners of CBG and Nosh.

Nosh Tacos seats ~40 and during the summer season there will outdoor seating spilling out into the plaza. This week they’ll be open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am – 7 pm.

Upcoming Food & Dining Events

Monday – Acclaimed chef Rob Evans is preparing a paella dinner at Anoche tonight.

TuesdayOld Port Wine Merchants is holding a wine tasting.

WednesdayChaval will be serving a vegan wine dinner. The 5-course (4 savory courses and 1 dessert course) will feature wines from Chateau Cosme & Chateau Rouanne in the southern Rhone Valley; $88 plus tax and gratuity. Email or call (207) 772-1110 for reservations.

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

SundayCalling in Love Cacao will be at Cocktail Mary for a sampling and sale of their single origin ceremonial grade cacao. Along with the chocolate event owner Isaac McDougal’s mother-in-law will be serving her homemade arepas.

December 13Experience Maine is holding a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner at Ballast.

December 15Salt + Pepper Social is holding a vegan wine and cheese event.

December 17Helm is holding a Prime Rib dinner.

January 5/6Roma Cafe is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the restaurant with a 5-course dinner with optional wine pairings.

January 20Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Adrian Arvizu from Big Tree Catering.

January 27 – Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Christian Hayes from The Garrison.

February 10Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca and The Purple House.

February 18Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti from Chaval and Devin Finigan from Aragosta.

March 28Ballast will be hosting a murder mystery dinner.

June 10-16Portland Wine Week is taking place.

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

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

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

Review of Sacred Profane

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a review of Sacred Profane in Biddeford.

…Dark lager with lots of foam is a great match for the veggie-friendly, poutine-esque mushroom stroganoff. If you want something lighter, with more crisp acidity, go for pale lager, especially paired with a dish like the snappy Austrian-style pork-and-veal hot dog served with Morse’s sauerkraut, finely diced shallots and fiery Dusseldorf mustard ($10). If you really want to witness the power of foam, try the Allen’s and Milk, a chocolatey, sabayon-reminiscent dessert beverage. You’ll never think about beer the same way again.

Restaurant Real Estate: December 2023

Welcome to the December 2023 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company—a commercial real estate brokerage that has helped Maine’s restauranteurs buy and lease restaurant spaces since 1975.

This resource gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland (and a few in the surrounding area) that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers and retailers to locate their next business. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End/Parkside

867 Congress St – the 3,200 sq ft former church that had been slated to be the new home of Vena’s is for sale for $775,000.

Arts District

554 Congress St – 1,621 sq ft former Dunkin’ Donuts space with hood for $2,301/month (NNN).

594 Congress St – with the upcoming close of the Congress Street Starbucks, their 2,592 sq ft space in the Upper H. H. Hay Building will become available for $35/sq ft (MG).

600 Congress St – for lease signs are in the window of the ground floor space at the corner of High and Congress. The Schwartz Building has been under renovation for a decade. For more info call (207) 773-7100.

29 Forest Ave – As part of the renovations at Portland Stage a new 2,700 sq ft restaurant space with a kitchen is being built out. Portland Stage is seeking a restaurant tenant to lease the space for $19.50/sq ft.

44 Oak St – 4,347 sq ft of space in a beautiful historic building at the corner of Oak and Free Streets is available for $15.50/sq ft (NNN).


73 Cove St – a 5,519 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is listed for $35/sq ft; it’s expected to become available in 2024.

46 Elm St – this 385 sq ft corner space in the parking garage at the corner of Elm Street and Cumberland Ave. It’s available for $500/month (MG).

52 Hanover St – On the first floor of a new building will be 1,500 – 4,500 sq ft retail space available for $30/sq ft (NNN). One spot in the building has earmarked for a coffee shop.

178 Kennebec St – 2,644 sq ft of space are available in a newly constructed Bayside building for $25/sq ft (NNN).

34 Portland St – the 3,400 sq ft building that was formerly occupied by Candy’s is for sale for $525,000. It’s also available to lease for $13.50/sq ft (NNN).

Munjoy Hill

89 Congress St – 1,200 sq ft available for $25/sq ft (MG) at the top of Munjoy Hill. Contact for more information.

Old Port

1 Canal Plaza – 4,284 – 14,412 sq ft of ground floor retail space will be available as part of upcoming renovations; $30/sq ft (NNN).

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay location at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 816-2,000 sq ft is for lease at $35-40/sq ft (NNN).

100 Commercial St – 1,535 sq ft of retail space at the corner of Commercial and Portland Pier is for lease for $28.75/sq ft (MG)

185 Commercial St – a new building under construction will include 2,334 sq ft of ground floor retail space that will be available in 2024; $55/sq ft (NNN).

215 Commercial St – 2,487 sq ft of retail space near the corner of Commercial and Dana Streets is available for $65/sq ft (MG).

327 Commercial St – the former Tiqa restaurant is for lease—7,981 sq ft @ $30/sq ft (NNN)—or for sale for $3,500,000.

383 Commercial St – 1,193 – 4,805 square feet of space in a newly constructed building on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

441 Congress St – the 2,400 sq ft former Guitar Grave retail space is available for $15/sq ft (MG).

8 Exchange St – the 3,600 sq ft space formerly occupied by The Bar is available for lease for $33.25/sq ft (MG).

201 Federal St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the new 18-story building under construction at the corner of Temple and Federal Streets. The 527 and 2,300 sq ft spaces are listed at $40/sq ft (MG).

420 Fore St – the space formerly occupied by the Old Port Slice Bar is for lease; 2,600 sq ft @ $55/sq ft (MG).

446 Fore St – a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Fore and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

40 Free St – a 1,511 sq ft space in the new building constructed by JB Brown is available for $27.50/sq ft (NNN).

28 Market St – the 850 sq ft space formerly occupied by Lucky Juju is available for lease for $2,800/month (MG).

46 Market St – the 2,100 sq ft space formerly occupied by Petite Jacqueline is for lease for $42/sq ft (NNN).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $18/sq ft (NNN).

121 Middle St – a 2,482 sq ft retail spot is available for $45/sq ft (MG).

157 Middle St – 1,091 – 5,155 sq ft of retail space is available for $27 – 29.95/sq ft (MG).

1 Monument Square – 1,500 sq ft of first floor space adjacent to Cera is available for $3,125/month (MG).

25 Pearl St – 1,689 sq ft former Subway space available for $30/sq ft (MG).

66 Pearl St – 5,796 sq ft of space—the former Bull Moose retail shop—is available for $15.75/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the original Arcadia space is available. The 2,835 sq ft storefront near Dutch’s and Slab is listed for $20/sq ft (NNN).

3 Spring St – the space currently occupied by the Stars & Stripes tasting room is for lease; 2,554 sq ft for $17.50/sq ft (NNN).

3 Spring St – the space currently occupied by Stage Cannabis is for lease; 2,000 sq ft for $15.50/sq ft (NNN).

144 State St – 2 retail spaces will be available in the development in the former Mercy Hospital building on State Street. The 1,100 and 2,566 sq ft spaces are available for $20-26/sq ft (MG).

15 Temple St – the 2,086 sq ft space formerly occupied by Bubble Maineia is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

23 Temple St – a 947 sq ft retail space in the Temple Street garage is available for $26/sq ft (MG).

110 Thames St – a 2,700 sq ft space and a 3,200 sq ft space are available in the newly constructed building in the Portland Foreside development, $35/sq ft (NNN).

53 Wharf St –a 1,600 sq ft space on the corner of Wharf and Union Streets is available for $30/sq ft (MG).

India Street Area

144 Fore St – the former VA building is near the Portland Foreside development and adjacent to several new office buildings off Thames Street. It has 1,560 – 10,620 sq ft of space available for $22-29/sq ft (NNN).

Outer Forest Ave

301 Forest Ave – the former Higher Concept space is for lease, 4,000 sq ft at $15/sq ft (NNN).

503 – 509 Forest Ave – the exterior of this building is slated to be restored to its historic design. It has 4,500 – 9,500 sq ft of space available for $10/sq ft (NNN).

634 Forest Ave – this former garage is located at the center of Woodfords Corner near Bayou Kitchen Woodford Food & Beverage, and Bird & Co. The 1,305 sq ft building has had a change of use to allow for a restaurant use, and comes with room for 8-12 parking spaces. It is available for $2,750/month (NNN).

701 Forest Ave – 3,147 – 6,405 sq ft with parking available for $16/sq ft (NNN).


476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,450,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

550 Washington Ave – 2,000 – 2,400 sq ft of the former Botto’s bakery is available to lease for $18/sq ft (NNN).

Elsewhere in Portland

1339 Washington Ave – the 4,150 sq ft former Parker’s Restaurant building in North Deering is for sale for $1,995,000.

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,000 to 3,500 sq ft of space is available.

Westgate Shopping Center – three spaces are for lease at $18-40/sq ft (NNN).

Other Spaces – some vacated restaurant spaces haven’t yet been formerly listed for by the owner. Check the closing announcements for the latest information.

Outside of Portland

188 Lincoln St, Lewiston – this 2,371 – 5,554 sq ft former fire station has been renovated for use as a retail/restaurant space. It’s listed at $5-14/sq ft (NNN).

521 Route 1, Scarborough – the 9,211 sq ft former Amore restaurant is for sale for $595,000.

171 Ocean St, South Portland – the 1,500 sq ft space formerly occupied by Judy Gibson is for lease for $25/sq ft (NNN).

1637 Post Rd, Wells – the 4,000 sq ft build that was formerly the home of Joshua’s is for sale for $2,150,000.

Billy’s Chowder House – both the building and business of Billy’s Chowder House in Wells is for sale. The ~200 seat restaurant comes with a 62-car parking lot and sits on Mile Road which connects Route 1 with Wells Beach.


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.