Upcoming Events

TuesdayWMPG is holding their annual Cajun Cookin’ Challenge.

Valentine’s Day

February 16 – the Fare and Ice food event is taking place in Freeport. The Rose Food guest chef bagel sandwich series kicks off with a sandwich by Oga Suya.

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.

February 21 – A West African Culinary Workshop and Dinner is taking place in Brunswick in collaboration with Jordan Benissan the chef/owner of Me Lon Togo in Rockland.

February 22-24 – The Inn by the Sea is holding their annual Ice Bar and Seafood Celebration.

February 23 – Deryck Todd will be leading a mixology class at Bow Street.

February 27 – Chef Sam Hayward will be participating in a Maine Voices Live event organized by the Press Herald, and La Gallera will be holding a pop-up at Cong Tu Bot.

March 1-12 – The 16th Annual Maine Restaurant Week is taking place.

March 2Dutchman’s will be teaching a bagel making class at the Wolfe’s Neck Center.

March 3Thistle & Grouse and Bissell Brothers are collaborating on a 5-course beer dinner.

March 13Tap & Taste, a gluten-free tasting event, will be taking place at Orange Bike Brewing in collaboration with Mrs. Gee Free Living and 2Gether.

March 28Ballast will be hosting a murder mystery dinner.

April 3 – The Beard Foundation will release the 2024 list of restaurant and chef awards nominees. There are 10 semifinalists from Maine this year.

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.

July 25/26 – The Kneading Conference is taking place in Skowhegan.

August 30September 1Maine Apple Camp is taking place.

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

Review of Peng’s Pizza Pies

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a 4 star review of Peng’s Pizza Pies in Biddeford.

The restaurant’s thin-crust pizzas (served with tomato sauce and without) are baked dark, with perhaps more blistering than you’d expect outside of New Haven. If you visit, sample a red pie (cheese or pepperoni – plus or minus hot honey – are great options). But save room for Daniels’ brilliant, completely off-the-wall creation: a white (no tomato), Bangkok-meets-Naples mashup pie featuring crushed pistachios, spicy pickled Fresnos, aromatic herb cream and a generous handful of pecorino. It’s a must-order, as is a slice of Basque cheesecake for dessert.

Photo: from Peng’s opening day, September 20, 2023.

Douro from Prentice Hospitality

The Prentice Hospitality Group is working on a new restaurant called Douro (website, instagram) which they hope to open this summer this fall. It will be located on the front corner of the Sun Life Insurance building (110 Thames St) near Twelve.

Douro will be an all-day seafood restaurant with a Portuguese-inspired menu with a large selection of wines by the glass as well as classic cocktails and non-alcoholic drink options. Twelve executive chef Colin Wyatt and pastry chef Georgia Macon are in the early stages of developing a menu so stay tuned for further details.

The 3,300 sq ft restaurant is being designed in a collaboration between Prentice staff and Woodhull Commercial Studio.

The Prentice Hospitality Group also operates Twelve, Evo Kitchen + Bar, The Chebeague Island Inn and is working on relaunching The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth which they bought last year.

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

Maine Food & Dining News: Northport, Dover-Foxcroft, Union, Alna, Presque Isle

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 owners of Spark Bagel (website, instagram) have leased the former The Stone Pizzeria building in Northport. Initially they’ll use it solely as a bagel production kitchen, but plan to eventually open it up as a retail shop as well.
  • The Courrier-Gazette has published an article about Alsace the new restaurant that opened last year in the town of Union.
  • The Lincoln County News has published an article about The Alna Store. The restaurant was recently named a 2024 Beard Awards semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category.
  • The Bangor Daily News reports that a new restaurant called Maple Pig Bar & Grill is under construction in Presque Isle.
  • Whittle Bird (instagram) is operating a coffee pop-up at 83 East Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft. The coffee shop will be in operation through the spring while they’re working on a new coffee trailer.

Taj 2.0 in South Portland

Taj (website, facebook, instagram) has leased a space in the Clarks Pond Shopping Center where they’re building out a new larger restaurant.

The new spot will seat ~70 people (see floor plan below) with an 11-seat bar, a dedicated area for takeout pick-up, a bigger kitchen as well as a larger space for their lunch buffet. Owner Sai Guntaka has long had a vision for a Indian cocktail program at Taj which will be a new element of the menu at the new restaurant. Jim Baldi will be consulting on the development of the cocktail program.

Guntaka hopes to complete the renovations and kitchen build-out in to for Taj to move to its new location in June. Watch for murals by Mike Rich Design and lighting by Neon Dave to be part of the new interior.

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

Low Key on Munjoy Hill

Jing Yan owners Britt Langford and husband Leo Zhang, have leased the former Blue Spoon space at 89 Congress Street where they plan to open a bar called Low Key. Langford shared that their goal is to build a casual and comfortable spot for the neighborhood.

They’re doing some light renovations which will add a bar along the Congress Street side of the space and update the aesthetics including wall murals painted by Langford  (her work also graces the walls at Jing Yan).

The ~25-seat Low Key will serve classic cocktails, natural wine, beer with a food menu of classic bar snacks and appetizers (including a lobster roll) as well as soft serve ice cream. They’ll be adding a ice cream takeout window facing Merrill Street. Zhang and Langford hope to open Low Key in late April or early May.

Jing Yan launched in November 2020. You can see some recent photography of the food on this instagram post from September.

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

Smoked BBQ & Neighborhood Pub

Those of you keeping a lookout on the former Maelily Ryleigh’s will be happy to know that 951 Forest Ave is slated to open as  Smoked BBQ & Neighborhood Pub (website, facebook). Smoked BBQ is the new brand name for the restaurants in Windham and Portland that were formerly known as Binga’s Wingas.

The menu offered at the Smoked BBQ Windham location includes wings, tacos, burgers, salads, sandwiches, sliders and more. Owner Mike Harris hope to open the 60-seat Smoke BBQ in March.

Binga’s Stadium on Free Street closed in early 2021 and at the time the plan was for a new Portland Binga’s to open at 951 Forest Ave.

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

Jerome’s Now Open

Jerome’s (instagram) opened for business on Friday at 223 Congress Street near the intersection with Washington Ave. It’s a self described “local community New England sports bar that has a love for skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing.”

Owners Sasha SalzbergEvan Carroll, and Ian Daly are serving wine, draft and package beer, cocktails (their margarita shown above), nonalcoholic beverages, and beer and shot combos like the Jerome’s Shifter which pairs Budwiser with a shot of Maker’s Mark. The food menu includes some snack plates and four sandwiches: turkey club, ham and cheese, chopped Italian, and PB&J.

Jerome’s is open Thursday through Monday, 4 – 11 pm.

Smalls Staff Forms Union

The staff at Smalls (websiteinstagram) on Brackett Street have formed a union which has been voluntarily recognized by the business owners. Smalls is the third Portland food and beverage business with a unionized staff. The other two are Cong Tu Bot and Coffee by Design.

The One Small Union is joining the New England Joint Board Unite Here organization which represents “workers in the textile, garment, manufacturing, warehousing, laundry, human service, and hospitality industries in New England and New York”.