Chef Marilou Ranta, Maine Street Bistro, Brickyard Hollow

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article about Marilou Ranta who is the chef and owner of The Quarry in Monson. The Restaurant won the James Beard award for Outstanding Hospitality in 2023.

In the dining room, there are unforced smiles all around. Regulars get big bear hugs. Newcomers get hugs, too. “She’s a great hugger,” said Martha Lerman, a hug recipient who was dining at The Quarry for her first time on a Thursday evening in mid-September. Ranta was especially delighted to meet a Filipino couple who had driven from Massachusetts to check out The Quarry. Word about the 5-year-old restaurant “in the boonies,” as Ranta puts it, is getting around.

The Sunday Telegram also includes a 3½ star review of Maine Street Bistro in Brunswick,

Lean into Maine Street Bistro’s French menu and you’ll be rewarded. Co-owners and co-chefs John Holm and Brandon Franklin built their impressive skillsets of classic French techniques separately, but together in Brunswick, they’ve come up with a largely traditional menu that holds promise.

and an article about the rapid expansion of Brickyard Hollow Brewing which has added five locations in the last 12 months.

As Moll and his partner were first launching Brickyard Hollow in 2018, they realized the significance of the winter carnival photo. “We were trying to create a craft brewery that was a gathering place for this little community, and that picture really helped present that,” Moll said.

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:

  • The King Ro Market in Round Pond is under new ownership and expected to reopen before the end of the year. The new owner Steve Brackett also plans to eventually install a bar in the dining area for a pub and open a pub within the market.
  • Mason’s Brewing is laying the groundwork to open a distillery in Bangor. The Bangor Daily News reports that Mason’s is “likely start with gin and ready-to-drink gin-based canned beverages, then branch into vodka and moonshine by the end of 2024.”
  • Gail Ciampa from The Providence Journal recently visited Warren for the Absolem Cider dinner at Black Goat Test Kitchen  (websitefacebookinstagram). In her report Ciampa praises chef Ronspieres for the way he “he layers his dishes with a variety of flavors and textures that all combine to create the happiest party on your palate” and provides a play-by-play of the 5-course dinner.
  • The Blair Hill Inn in Greenville has hired chef Max Snyder to helm the kitchen at their in-house restaurant Slate. Snyder is moving to Maine from his hometown of Austin, Texas where he had launched Pitchfork Pretty in 2017. Prior to Austin, Snyder spent a “decade in New York and San Francisco working under chefs Daniel Patterson at Coi, Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, and Joshua Skenes at Saison.” Slate will be reopening on December 7th, Thursday through Sunday from 4 – 8 pm.

Upcoming Events & Thanksgiving List

TuesdayBar Futo will be hosting chefs from Texas and Utah for a Taco & Friendsgiving pop-up dinner.

Wednesday – The last outdoor farmers’ market of the season is taking place (Deering Oaks Park, 8 am – 1 pm).

2023 Thanksgiving Resource List – options for dining out, getting takeout and ordering sides and pies for your home meal.

  • Cheese Louise – will be serving free meals (turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and cranberry bread). See their instagram post for details.
  • Crispy Gai – Crispy Gai along with Regards, Smalls, Bread and Friends and Car Hop are running a free Thanksgiving meal delivery service. See this post for details on how to request a meal.
  • The Good Shepherd Food Bank plays an integral role in distributing food during Thanksgiving and all year round in Maine. See their website for information where to find food through their partner agencies in Maine or to make a donation.
  • Taj – is once again running a free holiday meal service on Thanksgiving. See this post for information on how to request a meal for pick-up on Thanksgiving day.
  • Wayside Food Programs is producing 400 Thanksgiving meals to go, and 50 boxes that contain the ingredients to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner at home (frozen turkey, a pie, squash, potatoes, butter, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, cranberry sauce, stuffing & gravy). Anyone interested in one of the meals or Thanksgiving dinner boxes can call (207) 775-4939 to register for one by November 13th. The meals will be delivered to three different locations and the boxes will be distributed on November 21st. Call Wayside at (207) 775-4939 for all the details.
  • Annette’s Country Skillet Diner (Naples) – will be serving a Thanksgiving Dinner for $18.99 per person.
  • Aubrey Coffee House (South Berwick) – is taking preorders (text 603-534-2004) for their Thanksgiving line-up of desserts.
  • Baked Maine/Pottery Cafe – is taking preorders in-person for pies and other baked goods. They’ll have pick-up in Portland and Wells.
  • Banh Appetit – has a Thanksgiving menu of appetizers, main courses and dessert.
  • Big Tree Grocery – the team behind Eventide and Honey Paw has a variety of starters, turkeys, sides and baked goods available for preorder to make your home meal prep a little easier. They have 5 pick-up locations in the Portland area.
  • Bistro + Terrace – the restaurant at the Portland Harbor Hotel is serving a Thanksgiving dinner; $85 per person with optional $40 wine pairings.
  • Bistro Leluco (South Portland) – is taking preorders by phone (207-536-1690) or in person for whole and half roasted turkeys as well as a range of appetizers, sides and desserts for pick-up on the 22nd and 23rd.
  • Chaval – is taking preorders for pumpkin and maple pecan pie, Thanksgiving ricotta pie, bourbon cake, and apple and vanilla bean cheesecake for pick-up on November 22nd.
  • Dandelion Catering (Yarmouth) – is taking preorders for turkeys, sides, breads, desserts for pick-up on the 22nd.
  • Dock Fore –will be serving turkey dinner pizza and turkey sandwiches, 11 am to 3 pm.
  • Eighteen 95 – the restaurant at The Regency hotel is serving a 3-course Thanksgiving dinner for $70 per person.
  • Five Fifty-Five North (Brunswick) – is serving a 3-course Thanksgiving dinner (menu) for $85 per person; online reservations.
  • Harraseeket Inn (Freeport) – will have three seatings for their Thanksgiving Day grand buffet (menu); $165 per person, $65 per for kids 6 to 12, call for reservations (207) 865-9377.
  • Kelsey Mari – is taking preorders for Thanksgiving pies for pick-up on the 22nd and 23rd.
  • MK Kitchen (Gorham) – will be serving a 3-course Thanksgiving Dinner (menu); reservations can be made on OpenTable.
  • Natalie’s (Camden) – will be serving a 5-course Thanksgiving dinner for $147 per person with optional wine pairings for $93.
  • Nina June (Rockport) – is taking preorders for their Everything but the Bird takeout menu of appetizers, sides, salads, desserts and drinks for pick-up on November 22nd.
  • The Norumbega (Camden) – is serving a 4-course Thanksgiving dinner with seatings at 2 and 5 pm for $95 per person. Call (207) 236-4646.
  • Orchard Ridge Farm (Gorham) – is taking preorders for turkeys, ducks and ham.
  • Ore Nell’s (Biddeford) – is offering a full Thanksgiving Meal that feeds 6-8 for $165.99 plus tax. SOLD OUT.
  • Other Side Diner – is taking pre-orders in-person or by phone (207-772-0002) for mezze platters, breads and sides. They’re located at 500 Washington Ave.
  • Pat’s Meat Market – has a selection of meats available including turkeys, prime rib, duck, pork crown roast.
  • Pepperell Provisions (Biddeford) – has a full spectrum of turkeys, sides, appetizers and desserts available for preorder. Place your order by November 20 for pick-up on the 22nd.
  • Rosie’s – will be serving a Thanksgiving dinner (11 am until they sell out).
  • Salt Yard – at the Canopy Hotel will be serving a Thanksgiving buffet, $59 per adult and $36 per child. Reservations can be made on
  • Salt and Pepper (Damariscotta) – is taking preorders for plant-based Thanksgiving dinners and other dishes. Pick-up in Portland on the day before Thanksgiving is available.
  • Saltwater Grille (South Portland) – will be serving a Thanksgiving buffet with seatings at 11:30, 1:30, 3:30, and 5:30; $75/ per adult, $35 per kids 6-12, free of children 5 and under.
  • Sea Glass (Cape Elizabeth) – the restaurant at the Inn by the Sea is serving a Thanksgiving dinner ($85/adult, $32/children 4-12yo).
  • Sticky Sweet – is taking preorders for a pair of Thanksgiving vegan and gluten-free pies for pick-up on the 21st or 22nd.
  • Three Dollar Deweys – is serving a Thanksgiving dinner for $35 per person.
  • Twelve – is taking preorders for pies to pick-up on the 21st and 22nd.
  • Two Fat Cats – has pies, cakes and other baked goods available to preorder for Thanksgiving; orders must be in 48 hours before pick-up. Available from both their Portland and South Portland locations.
  • Ugly Duckling – is taking preorders for pumpkin and maple pecan pie, Thanksgiving ricotta pie, bourbon cake, and apple and vanilla bean cheesecake for pick-up on November 22nd.
  • Verbena’s (South Portland) – is taking preorders for a 3-course Thanksgiving differ with vegan/gluten-free options for each course. Order by the 20th for pick-up on the 22nd. $58 per person.
  • Vy Banh Mi – is taking preorder for a variety of dishes and a full Vietnamese meal serving 5-7; Pick-up in on November 23rd. Call/text 207-206-9662, DM them on instagram or email to place your order.
  • Wayside Tavern – is serving a 4-course family-style Thanksgiving Feast for $90/person with optional wine pairings for $55; ticketed reservations available online.
  • Wine Wise – has put together a selection of 6 wines recommended by six local wine distributors. Place your order for box of wines for home delivery.
  • Yardie Ting – is taking preorder for Thanksgiving meals and sides; order by the 20th for pick-up on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Other Vegan Vendors – see this article from Avery Yale Kamila for a list of where to source vegan dishes for your Thanksgiving table.
  • Other Dining Out Options – see this article for additional ideas on where to eat on Thanksgiving.

Friday/SaturdayHardshore is hosting a WildHaven Brunch for Dinner pop-up.

November 28 – Bayside Bowl’s South Portland outpost Broadway Bowl is scheduled to open. The Falmouth Memorial Library is hosting a talk entitled The Indian Kitchen: A Crossroads of Many Cultures.

November 30 – deadline for the public and industry professionals to submit recommendations to the James Beard Foundation to consideration for the 2024 Awards program.

December 1Chocolate Passion is opening their new location at 175 Spring Street (the former Mercy Hospital building). Cabana is holding a Noche Buena 4-course dinner.

December 2 – Porttown Public House is holding their grand opening. The first indoor winter farmers’ market of the season is taking place (631 Stevens Ave, 9 am – 1 pm).

December 6Chaval 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.

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

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.

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.

Bam Bam Bakery Reopening

Tina Cromwell has leased the former Ela Market & Grill building at 125 Bucknam Road in Falmouth where she plans to relaunch her gluten-free business Bam Bam Bakery (websitefacebookintagram).

Cromwell will be selling the baked goods that earned Bam Bam such a strong reputation in the gluten-free community. The cinnamon rolls will be back and she hopes to ramp up the production of cakes and cupcakes. Savory options such as chicken pot pie, pizza and sandwiches are also part of the vision for the new location. In the future she also hopes to add a gluten-free market to the space to enable one-stop shopping for her customers.

Cromwell shared she’s very happy to have found a location to restart Bam Bam in Falmouth where she grew up and where she raised her kids and where she makes her home. She has been hoping to launch before the holidays but a opening date is still TBD.

Sunday Telegram: A Helping Hand, Review of Mainely Noods

The Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article about the culture of mutual assistance within Portland food and dining industry.

In a tough, fast-paced business where something often, seemingly inevitably, goes wrong, Maine restaurateurs, bakers and brewers in Portland and beyond have countless tales of coming to each other’s aid, or being the recipient of help. In the month leading up to Thanksgiving, we asked them to share with us instances of giving and getting.

The paper also includes a review of Mainely Noods.

After nearly four years in business, Portland’s Mainely Noods is beginning to show signs of burnout. Its effervescent visual design aesthetic remains firmly in place, but fading photos and untidy workspaces lend the restaurant a neglected vibe. The menu isn’t much of an improvement.

Off Track Pizza on Exchange

A new restaurant called Off Track Pizza is under construction at 15 Exchange Street. The space was most recently occupied by Lupita’s but longtime Portland residents will remember it as the original location of Walter’s.

Off Track is being launched by owners Mark Hibbard and Mitchell Ryan along with business partner Josh Miranda. Ryan and Hibbard are the executive chef and the beverage director at Via Vecchia.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner serving a menu centered around pizza by the pie and slice and focaccia sandwiches made with bread baked daily in-house. The beverage program will include a selection of house-bottled cocktails. There will be prepared foods for customers who need a grab and go option, and Ryan and Hibbard also expect to be open for late night takeout.

Overall Off Track will seat 50-60 people. The second floor dining room (which has a great view of Exchange Street) will have a flexible table set-up that can easily be reconfigured for larger groups, or potentially for private events. There will also be seating for ~10 on the first floor.

Renovations to the restaurant are underway. Hibbard and Ryan hope to open Off Track Pizza this spring.

The Abbey in Brunswick

A new “small-town coffee shop meets experimental cocktail bar” called The Abbey (website, instagram) is under construction in Brunswick. The Abbey will be located at 87 Maine Street in the space formerly occupied by the Little Dog Coffee Shop.

During the day, owners Connor Scott and Lainey Catalino will be serving Bard Coffee, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods including options sourced from their near neighbors Ritual Bakehouse and Patisserie. In the evening The Abbey will transition into a cocktail bar and small plate restaurant. The sample menu on their website includes dishes like Fennel Buried in Cream and Mussels al Forno. Catalino and Scott want the cocktails to emphasize sustainable and local ingredients. Watch for the menu to include house-tuned twists on classic cocktails.

Across the board The Abbey will be trying to meet customers where they are but also provide openings for them to try new food and drink that are a fit for their tastes. Scott and Catalino plan to refresh the menu often.

The owners are excited be a part of the Brunswick restaurant scene and contribute to it’s evolution. Over the last few years Brunswick has seen the opening of Zao Ze Cafe, the transition of Frontier into Nomad, the launch of Dutchman’s and Ritual Bakehouse, Cabelleras opening within Vessel & Vine, the Bizibuns food truck arriving on the Main Street Mall and the reopening of Tao Yuan…just to name a few highlights.

Catalino and Scott began working on the business plan and concept for The Abbey early in 2023 and plan  to open their 65-seat restaurant in December. Follow them on instagram to stay up to date on their developments towards an opening day.

Jerome’s Sports Bar

A new sports bar called Jerome’s (instagram) is set to takeover the space being vacated by The Snug on Congress Street. According to their liquor license application, owners Sasha Salzberg, Evan Carroll, and Ian Daly plan to launch a “neighborhood alternative sports pub” that specializes in “New England sports and board sports”.

Jerome’s will serve beer, cider, seltzer and cocktails as well and have a menu of appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Here’s a look at the draft menu supplied with the liquor license application.

Snug owner Margaret Lyons announced on Wednesday that she planned to close the bar and turn it over to “three lovely people” who had plans of their own. The new owners are making some light renovations to the space and hope to have Jerome’s open next year.

To get caught up on all the new restaurants, bars, breweries, bakeries and other hospitality businesses in development visit the Portland Food Map Under Construction List.

Orange Bike Brewing Opens Friday

Orange Bike Brewing (websitefacebookinstagram) will be opening this Friday. Portland’s newest brewery is located at 31 Diamond Street in East Bayside in the same building as Bite Into Maine. This weekend they’ll be open Friday 3 – 8 pm, and Saturday/Sunday noon – 8 pm.

Alan Pugsley has been part of the start-up team as a consultant and has developed a set of gluten-free beer recipes which head brewer Jason Kissinger has put into production on a 10-barrel vintage Peter Austin brewery system. Orange Bike is Maine’s second dedicated gluten-free brewery joining Lucky Pigeon which opened for business in 2021.

On opening day Orange Bike will be pouring nine beers (see photo below for the full list) including a Belgian Wit, a New England IPA, a Winter Lager and a collaboration beer which is raising funds for the National Black Brewers Association. They’re just spinning up their canning line this week, and cans will be available for sale at the brewery on opening day.

Founder Tom Ruff and his team have built out a stylish ~40-person tasting room, and they’re working on an outdoor courtyard which when completed will have room for an additional 90+ people.

The Snug Is Closing

The Snug‘s owner Margaret Lyons has announced plans to close her bar. Her post on instagram reads,

In the fall of 2006, I built The Snug from the keg room up. Opening the bar has been the absolute best decision I’ve ever made…until now. It’s been succeeded by my decision to close.

In Ireland, my family may tell you I’m someone with notions. If you don’t know the Irish definition of the word, let’s just say, it’s not exactly a compliment 😉. However, a few years ago I began having [American] notions about retiring from the bar business.

Serendipitously, I crossed the path of three lovely people with notions of their own. They have a new vision, but I have the utmost faith that you’ll love what they get up to!

I don’t think a day will go by without an old Snug memory putting a smile on my face. I bet the same is true for many reading this post. Thank you for all the photographs and still frames in my mind. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, I absolutely did have the time of my life.

The Snug’s last night will be soon. I’m not going to tell you exactly when, because I hate goodbyes. Let’s just leave it at slán.


Stay tuned for details on what the “three lovely people” have planned.