3rd Annual Backyard Cider Project

Anoche (websiteinstagram) has announced plans for the 3rd Annual Backyard Cider Project. This exciting community-oriented initiative will be gathering apple donations from the public, and work with Absolem Cider (website, instagram) in Winthrop to press, ferment and bottle a Basque-style apple vermouth.

All across our state, apple trees abound on public and private property and a large portion of their apples go to waste. With the apple harvest upon us, we are asking everyone with access to apple trees to bring us your fruit!

We will gratefully accept blemished apples, small apples, crab apples, and not-so-delicious apples—cider apples don’t typically taste good so bitter and weird-flavored apples are our favorite!

This year we are bringing our backyard to the Basque region! Inspired by Spanish methods and customs we will be transforming the apples of Maine into an apple-wine vermut with local herbs and botanicals. We have always felt a special connection to the rocky shores of northern Spain—a place that shares not only our state’s latitude but also it’s independent spirit and rugged terrain. We can’t wait to share this year’s Backyard Cider with you at Vermut Hour!

You can drop off your apples any time in the big bins outside at both Anoche and at Absolem Cider in Winthrop, Maine. Or better yet swing in when we’re open so we can thank you in person!

Eastern Prom Food Truck Survey

The Press Herald has published a report on the the City’s ‘pilot program’ which relocated food trucks on the street this summer.

Cameron Gardner, co-owner of Falafel Mafia, said he’s been disappointed with the pilot. “It hasn’t gone well,” Gardner said. “The only reason I’m here today is because I hadn’t booked any events.”

Gardner said his sales are down 30 percent to 40 percent compared to last year. He said business was slightly better over the summer during the height of the tourism season, but that overall the new location doesn’t have the same visibility and accessibility.

The city has fielded a survey to get the public’s feedback on the relocation of the food trucks this past summer.

Papi on Exchange Street

A new Puerto Rican-inspired bar and restaurant called Papi (facebook, instagram) is under construction at 18 Exchange Street. Papi is being launched by Joshua Miranda along with bartender LyAnna Sanabria (instagram).

As you can see, the space is still very much under construction. However, if the remaining work goes according to plan Papi is expected to open in late November or early December. The space will seat 48—15 at the curved bar shown above, 31 in a banquet along the left wall of the space and the 2 remaining seats in a semi enclosed “lover’s booth” with louvered French doors towards the back of the bar.

The menu will feature food and drink inspired by the foodways of Puerto Rican.  Sanabria shared, “I remember hearing a Nuyorican say ‘we are our ancestors wildest dreams’ and that is honestly how I envision the cocktail program for Papi. Like most Puerto Ricans I was heavily impacted by watching my family cook and dance. Honoring the diaspora, expect flavors like guava, coconut and sofrito while melding with the fresh and seasonal seaside flavors available here in Maine.”

Here’s a look at the draft food and beverage menus:

The Papi team will be running a pop-up event on October 10th where you’ll be able to get an early taste of the food and cocktails. The pop-up will raise funds for VisitRico and ConPRmetidos to aid residents of the island as they recover from hurricane Fiona. Tickets are now available.

Monday Nights

The Press Herald has published a list of restaurants open on Monday nights.

To help simplify your search for a Monday meal, we’ve rounded up a few dozen restaurants in and around Portland that stay open. And because the labor shortage has forced many eateries to further reduce their days of operation, we’ve included whether they’re open Tuesday too.

Upcoming Events: Soni’s, Mocktail Pop-up, Goods from the Woods, Dandelion Spring Farms

Monday – it’s the grand opening of both Soni’s Market (instagram) in the Public Market House and of The Friendly Toast on Fore Street.

FridayLittle Woodfords is holding a mocktail pop-up.

Saturday – Oxbow is holding their annual Goods from the Woods event in Newcastle.

SundayDandelion Spring Farm is holding a Harvest Feast. The meal will be a “Contemporary American style dinner influenced by Kristie Rudolph’s Korean American heritage. This multi-course dinner will be celebrating the best of seasonal produce along with local proteins.” Also the Maine Cheese Guild is holding Maine Open Creamery Day, and Cheese Louise and Liquid Riot are collaborating on a beer dinner.

October 12 – the chefs from Oberlin (from Providence, Rhode Island) and Regards will be serving a collaboration dinner.

October 15USM is leading a Big Queer Historical Bar Tour., and there will be a community cider pressing at the Mount Joy Orchard.

October 16MOFGA is holding Great Maine Apple Day at Unity, and McDougal’s Orchard is holding an apple tasting.

October 18 – Chaval is serving a 5-course sherry dinner.

October 27 – 29 – Harvest on the Harbor is taking place.

November 19Lorne is holding their 2nd annual La Fête du Beaujolais.

Sacred Profane Brewing

This month’s edition of Mainer includes an article about Sacred Profane Brewing, the new Czech-style lager bewery that recently opened in Biddeford.

“It’s very specialized — the equipment you need, the knowledge base,” Fava explained. “I think a lot of that plays into why there are 171 breweries in Maine, and there’s only one that only makes lagers. It’s a little bit of a coup. I will give ourselves a pat on the back. We have been in the industry for a while and we have worked hard to gain the knowledge to learn the systems, to travel to the places where these styles originate, and that doesn’t happen overnight…. It’s been a life goal and a life mission and a career working towards this moment, and I couldn’t be more happy about how it turned out.”

Anthony’s Italian Kitchen

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about Anthony’s Italian Kitchen and its founder Anthony Barrasso.

“I met (Videoport owner) Bill Duggan. He told me he had 38,000 customers in his computer,” Barrasso recalled, his eyes wide even now at the video store’s enormous customer base. “Then I asked him what he thought of having a pizza parlor next to him. He said it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.”

“What better combination than pizza and a movie? It was very lucrative back in the day,” said Fournier. “If you had a good snowstorm, there would be a line out both of our doors, up the stairs and to the street because everybody wanted to get pizza and movie and go home and hunker down. Those were good times.”

Restaurant Real Estate: October 2022

Welcome to the October 2022 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 monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/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

156 State St – 5,250 sq ft of space on the first floor of the Portland Club is available for $14/sq ft (NNN).

235 Vaughan St – the 700 sq ft space most recently occupied by Other Side Deli and which had been the longtime home of Vaughan Street Variety is for lease. Call (207) 650-0846 for more information.

Arts District

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

605 Congress St – a 543 sq ft retail space in the State Theatre building is available for $35/sq ft (MG).

642 Congress St – the former Ada’s space is available to sublet; 2,569 sq ft (MG).

647 Congress St – 1,107 sq ft of space near Longfellow Square is available for $20/sq ft (MG).

649 Congress St – the 3,000 sq ft former Dos Naciones storefront is available for $22/sq ft (MG).

142 High St – a 543 sq ft retail space in the State Theatre building that faces High Street is available for $35/sq ft (MG).


75 Chestnut St – a 2,100 sq ft ground floor retail space under construction in Bayside is for sale for $649,999.

31 Diamond St – this 2,800 sq ft industrial space in East Bayside is available for $2,500/month.

82 Hanover St – the 3,067 sq ft former Yard space in Bayside is available for $30/sq ft (NNN); the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

127 Marginal Way – 3,040 sq ft of space that’s been the home of Allspeed Cycle & Snow is for lease for $32/ sq ft (NNN).

65 Portland Street – the beautiful restaurant space that was home to Back Bay Grill for 34 years is available; 2,750 sq ft for $22/sq ft (MG).

24 Preble St – the former Arcadia space is available; 2,835 sq ft for $20/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 900-2,950 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

383 Commercial St – 2,223 square feet of retail space on Commercial Street is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

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

443 Congress St – 5,280 sq ft of space for lease for $16-20/sq ft (MG). It’s located across Elm Street from the Portland Public Library.

86 Exchange St – the 1,438 sq ft Swiss Time space on upper Exchange Street is for lease for $31/sq ft.

446 Fore St – 1,600 to 3,400 sq ft of space for lease for $30-40/sq ft (MG). It’s located in the building that was formerly occupied by the Pearl Tap House.

40 Free St – the new building constructed by JB Brown has four storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft for $30/sq ft (NNN).

38 Market St – a 1,200 sq ft basement space is available for $1,175/month (MG).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

100 Middle St – a 350 sq ft cafe space on first floor of an Old Port office building is available for $850/month (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 for $3,125/month (MG).

28 Monument Square – turnkey former Roll Call space in the first floor of the Public Market House, $2,250/month (NNN).

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).

1 Pleasant St – an 1,800 sq ft restaurant space in the Cinnamon Building available for $25/sq ft (NNN).

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

42 Wharf St – this 3,770 sq ft space in the Old Port includes a 2,000 sq ft patio, $45/sq ft (MG).

43 Wharf St – the former 1,350 sq ft Drink Exchange space is for lease for $43/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

100 Fore St – 1,914 sq ft of space that the listing says is “ideally suited for a restaurant use” is available for $30/sq ft.

5 India St – 1,250 – 2,500 sq ft for $35/sq ft (NNN) in a new building under construction near the intersection with Commercial St.

83 Middle St – 1,480 sq ft of retail space is available in the new building being constructed across the street from Eventide; $30/sq ft (NNN)

Forest Ave

945 Forest Ave – the former Photo Market building is for sale for $995,000.


936 Brighton Ave – 1,995 sq ft of space in an 11k sq ft building that’s the future home of Allspeed Cycle and Snow for $20/sq ft.

155 Riverside St – the Season’s Bar & Grille and Banquet Center is for lease. The 23,750 sq ft facility includes parking and all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

476 Stevens Ave – the Elsmere BBQ building in Deering Center is for sale for $1,650,000; the sale includes all FF&E inventory.

1341 Washington Ave – the former Parker’s restaurant is available for sale for $2,500,000, or for lease for $9,000/month (NNN).

Northgate Shopping Center – 2,200 to 5,700 sq ft of space is available.

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

Biscuits & Co, Biddeford – Biscuits & Co closed on October 16th and the business and equipment is for sale. Contact Biscuitsandcompany@gmail.com for more information.

Buxton – the former Buxton Commons restaurant is available for sale or lease. Lease terms are $4,500/month (NNN) for 3,600 sq ft of space.

Longwoods Preserve – the Longwoods Preserve is seeking a partner to operate a restaurant on their 55-acre property in Cumberland. The 3,500 sq ft building is expected to seat 70-80 indoors plus a three season porch. For more information contact Joe Atwood at (207) 899–7373, 76longwoods@gmail.com.

18 Ocean St, South Portland – the 4,351 sq ft former Snow Squall is for lease for $15/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.


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.

Bodega and Cabana

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about René Emilio Peña and the two business he runs: La Bodega Latina in Parkside and Cabana in the Old Port.

“When he speaks about either of his businesses, you can feel how passionate he is,” Cabana general manager Brigid Litster said.

The bodega has provided essential support for the Latino community in Portland for more than two decades and recently passed from Peña’s father to him. The restaurant opened last month and celebrates the diversity of Latin America – and Maine – that has always been visible on the bodega shelves.

Between the two, Peña works long days. But he focuses on the pride, not the struggle.

Room for Improvement on Wharf

Portland bartender Arvid Brown and his business partner Nick Coffin have signed a lease for 41 Wharf Street where they plan to open a new bar called Room for Improvement (instagram).

The cocktail list at Room for Improvement will feature riffs on classic cocktails and some house-designed specialty drinks. The beverage menu will also include local draft beer, and a small and focused by-the-glass wine list, and a selection of temperance cocktails. The owners are hoping to source and reconfigure a Jagermeister shot-chilling machine to set it up as an Allen’s Coffee Brandy dispenser—part of a vision to be a bar that’s serious about cocktails but that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The general concept for Room for Improvement is of a modern dive bar. Renovations have already begun in the former Jaeger/Rogue’s Gallery space and they hope to be open for business by the end of February. Brown and Coffin are positioning Room for improvement as a straight up bar that can be a destination for a pre-dinner drink before a prime time meal in the Old Port and also serve as late night spot that Old Port workers can drop in at after their shifts.

Brown was a co-owner of the Fishin’ Ships food truck when he first moved to Portland. He moved on to work as a bartender at Ebb & Flow, Roustabout before helping open Baharat where his creative use of Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors integrated the bar program with the menu. Brown is currently the bar manager at the popular Exchange Street restaurant and bar Crispy Gai. Coffin is a native of Vermont and has been a partner and manager in bars in Colorado and California prior to moving to Maine.