So many restaurants opening . . . will it ever end?

In 1977 the Maine Times published an article entitled “Why are so many restaurants opening in Portland and will it ever end?” According to the article,

Ten years ago [1967], Portland was practically without restaurants. The Roma . . . was almost alone in trying to serve food that was not pre-portioned and pre-packaged. Then came the Gaslight on Exchange Street, then the Old Port Tavern and then it seemed to explode.

Author Mark Mogensen asked several restauranteurs about whether a “saturation point” had been reached—quite ironic given the ever growing number of eateries to be found in the city in 2010.
Opinions ranged from “it’s fast approaching” from the owner of the Hollow Reed* to “I think the saturation point has been reached” from Charles McGee, co-owner of the Old Port Tavern.
I wonder what they would say about the Portland restaurant scene of today?
The Maine Times article also includes the earliest reference I’ve ever seen to the “most restaurants per capita” stat.

“Christ there’s a lot of them” [Portland license inspector Ed] Newbegin said. From a survey, Newbegin said he learned that “Portland Maine, per capita, has the highest population of restaurants in the U.S.”

*Reportedly Portland’s first vegetarian restaurant.

6 comments on “So many restaurants opening . . . will it ever end?

  1. Hey billyd,
    If it’s not true, could you give us the stats that prove it so? It’s not an important stat, but I bet you can’t prove it’s not true.

  2. Every town with any restaurant attractions claim the same thing. It has been a misguided stat for decades now. Portsmouth NH thinks the same thing. The only difference, is that San Fran doesn’t care how many restaurants per capita they have versus others.

  3. Victoria Jahn, Bobbi Goodman and Frank LaTorre started Portland’s first vegetarian restaurant on February 7. 1974 at 334 Fore Street, called The Hollow Reed. It won the Maine Times readers’ poll for the best restaurant in Maine in 1997 and was the first vegetarian restaurant to break into the New York Times top 100 restaurants of New England list. We want to thank all the patrons we had over the 7 years we were open, as each and everyone of you were family to us.

  4. This is probably not on topic…but I still dream about the Hollow Reed’s Soybean Casserole…and their sooo good Pina Coladas. Frank, what are the chances of getting the soybean recipe ?? I wish you were back.

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