Hunt & Alpine in Thrillist List

Thrillist has recognized the Hunt & Alpine Club in their list 25 Food & Drink Innovators That Inspire Us. Hunt & Alpine is specifically highlighted for its personnel policies, initiatives and Covid rules to support their staff.

They wanted the Scandinavian-style bar to be a place where talented professionals feel taken care of while building a career, so they became the first bar in Maine to require proof of vaccination. Amid the pandemic, the Volks also raised the minimum wage, hosted trainings on combatting sexual harassment and assault, and offered benefits like health insurance and discounted CSA memberships, all in an effort to support staff as much as possible.

Bite Into Maine in East Bayside

Bite Into Maine (websitefacebooktwitterinstagram) has leased 3,400 sq ft of space in this building at 31 Diamond Street in East Bayside. Owners Sarah and Karl Sutton plan to use this new location as a commissary kitchen and takeout restaurant serving their lobster rolls, soups and sandwiches.

East Bayside is located centrally between where their two food trucks in Fort Williams Park and Allagash Brewing are located. The Suttons are hoping to open the new takeout service in late spring or early summer.

Wiley Departs Big Tree

The Press Herald has a report on partner Mike Wiley‘s departure from Big Tree Hospitality.

Wiley, who will leave Big Tree at the end of the year, said he has not yet planned his next move, although he does not expect to run a restaurant. Andrew Taylor and Arlin Smith, the remaining Big Tree founding partners, will continue to operate the company, and Taylor said that while Wiley will be greatly missed, customers will not notice any major changes.

Dirty Dove Opens Thursday

Dirty Dove (instagram) is scheduled to launch this Thursday when they’ll be open noon to 11 pm. The bar is located at 229 Congress in the space formerly occupied by Sip of Europe.

Dirty Dove is being launched by Joe Fournier from A&C Grocery with Owl & Whale owner and bartender Michael Gatlin.

The cocktail menu includes options such as the Electric Warrior (mezcal, select, vanilla,  lemon, hot pepper bitters) and Intangible Climax (green chartreuse, fernet branca, lime, apple basil honey, genepy des chambois). There’s also a wine list, beer and cider and an extended list of mocktails. The food menu has some carryovers from A&C like the Real Italian with new items like duck soup and a latke waffle with caviar and quark cheese.

Dirty Dove is scheduled to operate Thursday through Monday.

Upcoming Events: S’Mores Night, Japanese Mexican Fusion, Belleville, New Year’s Eve

TuesdayQuanto Basta is kicking-off a pop-up series at Belleville.

WednesdayGreat Wave Sushi and Amigo’s are teaming up on a Japanese Mexican Fusion dinner.

ThursdayCongress Square Park plans to kick-off their S’mores Night, which will take place weekly 4-6 pm.

FridayBelleville will be holding a pop-up 9 am – noon; preorders will go live on December 13th at noon.

Saturday – Fred Eliot from Scales and Michael Stokes from Fore Street will be the guest chefs at the East Ender.

New Year’s Eve – Here’s a growing list of options for your New Year’s Eve celebrations. We’ll be adding more as restaurants and bars announce their plans.

  • Batson River – entertainment and “passed appetizers, food stations, late night snacks, and a sparkling toast at midnight”; $70 per person.
  • Broken Arrow – 5-course dinner ($95 per person) at 6 pm, and 7-course dinner ($145 per person) at 9 pm, both with optional pairings.
  • Evo Kitchen + Bar – 6-course dinner with optional wine pairings; $150 per person.
  • Friends & Family – a Tour d’Alps tasting menu; $48 per person.
  • Judy Gibson – a 6-course tasting menu plus snacks; $100 per person with optional beverage pairing for $45 per person.
  • Knotted Apron – 4-course dinner with champagne toast; $79 per person.
  • Luna – entertainment, appetizers and sparkling wine toast; $100 per person.
  • Mr. Tuna – a range of sushi options for 2 – 10 people.
  • Roma – is offering a special menu, details TBD.

January 14 – The Good Food Foundation will be announcing the winners of the 2022 awards program; 10 Maine food producers are finalists this year, and Black Tie is kicking-off a spring cooking class series.

Final Column by Meredith Goad

Retiring food reporter Meredith Goad has shared her final thoughts on the Portland food scene and her career writing about it in an article in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

I started working the food beat at the Portland Press Herald sometime between 2004 and 2005, just after Sam Hayward won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast, a first for Maine. I didn’t know it at the time, but the food scene in Portland was like a rocket smoking on the launch pad, ready to take off. For me? Lucky timing.

Bread & Olive Martini/Wine Bar

Sarah Martin, the owner of the Bar of Chocolate Cafe on Wharf Street, is renovating the space formerly occupied by The 5 Spot at 935 Congress Street where she plans to open Bread & Olive (facebook) sometime this winter.

Bread & Olive will be a neighborhood martini and wine bar. In addition to the drinks Martin plans to serve a menu of snacks and small and medium sized specials plus espressso and a few dessert options. Bread & Olive will seat approximately 40 customers with a 9-seat bar and a collection of 4-top tables as well.

Follow their account on instagram to check out some of the dishes and follow along with the renovations.

Yeto’s/D&G Closing in Biddeford

Bryan Casale and Jackie Hardin, the owners of Yeto’s and its sister establishment D&G, have announced plans to close both their Biddeford businesses at the end of this month.

We have loved our time at Yeto’s and D&G and don’t regret it. We are extremely proud to have started with nothing and built two successful businesses. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a great staff, many of whom we consider dear friends. We absolutely love Biddeford and this community. But it’s time to recognize the toll that everything has had on us mentally and physically.

Scratch Baking Renovations

Scratch Baking is planning extensive renovations to their bakery and shop in Willard Square. As you can see from the floor plan below, the final layout will create a better flow through the store with a central island and additional counter space around the exterior of the retail space.

Many things can change over the course of a buildings life and over the last almost 18 years the bakery by necessity has expanded into just about every nook and cranny. As many folks know the flow inside has never been ideal (in fact it’s always been a big mess) crowded, counter intuitive and frankly kind of a pain to navigate, especially on the busiest days. There have been small changes over the years but this winter with @barrett_made at the helm we are so excited to share we are embarking on the most ambitious project to date.

Christmas Eve will be their last day open for a 3 to 5 week time period during which time baking will cease and renovations will take place on the back part of the bakery on Willard Square. All Scratch Baking locations will be closed during that time.

When Scratch reopens (tentatively in early February), they will be temporarily selling out of the former Toast Bar location on Broadway for another 6-8 weeks while renovations in Willard Square continue. They hope to reopen and unveil the new Willard Square shop in the spring.

They may someday reopen the Toast Bar but there aren’t any immediate plans to do so.