Solo Cucina Market Closing Sunday

The owners of the Solo Cucina Market have announced that this Sunday will be the market’s last day in business. The owners had announced in in November that they were seeking a buyer for the market.

Despite our most sincere efforts and fervent hopes, we have been unable to arrange a sale of the market to a buyer who will continue the concept. We are deeply grateful for your ongoing patronage and good cheer since the news of our closure came out, and your optimism has buoyed us to this point—but sadly these last few rogue waves have left us without a path forward.

The market opened on March 25, 2020. Solo Cucina is part of a family of businesses that also include Solo Italiano in Portland and Solo Pane e Pasticceria in Bath.

Luna Shawarma and Falafel Now Open

A new business called Luna Shawarma and Falafel is now open on the second floor of the Public Market House in Monument Square.

Owner Eve Alrashidi and her team are serving a menu (see below) that includes shawarma (beef or chicken), falafel sandwiches, cheeseburgers, hummus plates, salads and hot dogs. Luna will be open daily 11 am to 8 pm.

BA Most Anticipated: Oun Lido’s

Bon Appétit has included Oun Lido’s (website, instagram) in their short list of the Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024.

The opening of Oun Lidos, the second restaurant from the team behind popular Portland Vietnamese mainstay Cong Tu Bot, is a good enough reason to book a trip to Maine this spring. Oun Lidos will be a multi-level restaurant in Old Port, with an all-day takeout counter offering Chinatown-style baked goods, rice plates, and boba to-go. Chef Bounahcree Kim will move over from Cong Tu Bot to helm the kitchen and serve the Khmer-Chinese food of his childhood, with dishes like iced jello salad with coconut sauce and mi ka thung—a fresh wide noodle stir fry with shredded beef, five spice gravy, and pickled mustard greens.

The list includes just nine featured restaurants. The others are located in Ashville, Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

First word on Oun Lido’s (originally to be named Lido’s 2) broke in May of last year and the restaurant is under construction at 30 Market Street (former home to Pat’s Pizza). Plans are for it to launch in February for takeout and with limited seating and with the full launch of it’s dining room and expanded menu in the spring.

5-10-15: January 2024

The Portland Food Map launched in August 2007 and the archive of posts provides a chronicle of the past 16+ years of the Portland restaurant scene. While a lot of the reporting here is about what’s happening now and coming next, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at what the hot topics were from 5, 10 and 15 years ago.

Here’s are highlights from January 2009, 2014 and 2019:

Check back next month for a look back at the hot news from the Februarys of 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Chocolats Passion Adds Owner

Chocolats Passion has announced that a key member of their staff, lead chocolatier Sarah Levine (shown above), has become a co-owner of the business with founder Catherine Wiersema.

Almost 4 years ago, Sarah walked into 189 Brackett Street, résumé in hand, and was hired as a Chocolatier. Two years ago, Catherine promoted her to Lead Chocolatier, and delegated to her all production and day-to-day management of our growing team. All along, Sarah proved herself central to our vision of quality and creativity in crafting our artisan confections.

Today, we are so excited and proud to share that Sarah is now Catherine’s co-owner in the business. We make a fantastic team, and look forward to keeping our beloved Chocolats Passion on a path of excellence, fun, and ever better chocolates with our wonderful crew!

Maine Food & Dining News: Searsport, Waterville, Lewiston, Brunswick, Newport

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:

  • A new bakery cafe called Amandine (instagram) is under construction in Searsport (see above). The business is being launched by Russell and Oana Manton who also own and operate Rio’s Restaurant in Searsport. Amandine will sell breads, custom cakes, and other baked good including Kürtőskalács a Hungarian pastry. Ladonna Bruce will be the head baker for Amandine. The bakery is scheduled to launch on January 25th and will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm.
  • The Lebanese bakery in Waterville has closed after 44 years in business. Lebanese Cuisine closed after owner Laya Joseph passed away earlier this month.
  • Students at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center culinary program are kicking-off the 2024 lunch series at their student-run restaurant The Green Ladle (instagram). Thursdays and Fridays from January 25th through early April they serve a different weekly themed menu. Reservations required (207-777-3199).
  • Lil Jam Cookies (website, instagram) is moving from Lisbon Falls to Maine Street in Brunswick.
  • A new roastery called Crouse House Coffee Roastery (website, instagram) recently launched in Lewiston. They’re located at 25 Landry Road and are open Saturdays, 1 – 5 pm.
  • Lalu Dedi Sutanto plans to open a Japanese hibachi steakhouse called Crazy Sumo 2 in Newport early this year.
  • The Kickstarter campaign to help purchase S. Fernald’s Country Store in Damariscotta has so far raised $20k of their $35k goal.

Upcoming Events & Valentine’s Day

SaturdayFlanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Adrian Arvizu from Big Tree Catering. Heritage Seaweed is holding an online Introduction to Seaweed class.

Sunday – Hart Farm in Holden along with Chimera Coffee and the Phenix Inn is holding a 4-course dinner in Bangor.

January 24Chaval is holding 5-course vegan wine dinner.

January 25Oak & Ember is holding a 4-course Sicilian wine dinner.

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

February 10 – The Portland On Tap beer festival is taking place at the Cross Insurance Arena. Flanagan’s Farm in Buxton will be holding a Supper Club dinner featuring chef Krista Kern Desjarlais from Bresca and The Purple House.

Valentine’s Day – we’ll be sharing V-Day specials here as restaurants announce them. Please let us know if you see someplace missing. Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year.

  • Alto Terrace – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $85 per person.
  • Evo Kitchen + Bar – will be serving a 5-course tasting menu for $125 per person. Reservations go live Tuesday.
  • Helm – will be serving a 3-course dinner for $65 per person.
  • Ida’s (Waldoboro) – the wine bar at The Waldoboro Inn in collaboration with The Crooked Spoon is serving a Valentine’s Day dinner for $60 per person.
  • Isa Bistro – will be serving a 3-course dinner (see menu) for $110 per person.
  • Knotted Apron – will be serving a 4-course dinner with champagne and optional wine pairings for $120 per person.
  • Locally Sauced (Yarmouth) – is teaming up with Battery Steele Brewing on a 5-course dinner for $100 per person.
  • Love at First Bite – is offering a variety of Valentine’s Day treats including chocolate dipped strawberries.
  • Miller’s Table – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $85 per person.
  • Mr. Tuna – has a selection of three Valentine’s Day takeout sushi boxes.
  • Nina June (Rockport) – will be serving a 5-course dinner for $100 per person.
  • Noble Kitchen + Bar (Brunswick) – will be serving a 6-course dinner with optional wine pairings for $115 per person.
  • Ore Nell’s North (Biddeford) – is serving a 3-course dinner with a complimentary glass of bubbly for $49.99 per person.
  • The Alna Store (Alna) – will be serving a 5-course with optional pairings for $95 per person.
  • Thistle & Grouse – will be serving a 3-course dinner for $90 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Twelve – will be serving a 4-course French-inspired dinner.
  • Wander at Longwoods (Cumberland) – will be serving a 4-course dinner for $100 person.
  • Wayside Tavern – will be serving a Roman-inspired dinner for $90 per person with optional wine pairings.
  • Woodford F&B – will be open serving their regular menu augmented with some Valentine’s Day specials.
  • Other Options – While we’re waiting for details, check for open reservations on February 14th via OpenTable and Resy.

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.

April 29 – The Good Food Awards winners will be announced. Eight Maine food producers are finalists in the 2024 Good Food awards program.

May 11CiderFeast, an “all-inclusive tasting event celebrates craft ciders from some of the top cider makers in New England and beyond” is taking place.

May 18 – The Maine Wild Wine Fest is taking place in Freeport.

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 30September 1Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

September 20-22 – The Common Ground Fair will be taking place.

Review of Ugly Duckling

The Bollard has published a review of the Ugly Duckling.

As good as the sandwiches were, visiting Ugly Duckling without buying pastries should be at least a misdemeanor. After an appetite-restoring stroll around the block, we poured some coffee and devoured a pastel de nata ($5), a traditional Portuguese custard tart that was light and crisp outside, dense and velvety smooth inside. 

WE: Wine Lover’s Guide to Maine

Wine Enthusiast has published a Wine Lover’s Guide to Maine. The article also includes recommendations on where to stay and eat.

Wine-centric mentions in the article include:  Friends & Family, Maine & Loire, Lorne, Vessel & Vine, Leeward, Helm, Regards, Wayside, George + Leon’s, Table Bar, In a Silent Way, Black Sheep Wine Shop, Blue Hill Wine Shop, Oyster River Wine Growers, and Nina June.

Maine wine lovers (and those planning a visit) should also add Portland Wine Week to their calenders which this year is taking place June 10 – 16.

Maine Food & Dining News: Damariscotta, Lisbon Falls, Ellsworth, Bethel

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: