Here’s a look at the highlights, themes and key moments from the 2022 year in food:
Concept Shift – with the pre-pandemic closure of Five Fifty-Five and the 2022 shuttering of Back Bay Grill and Hugo’s, Portland’s fine dining ranks have thinned quite a bit. Twelve is the new standard bearer for white table cloth dining in Portland. In the meantime, daytime cafes and combination restaurant/markets are increasing in number. Smalls and Friends & Family are a prime examples, and coming online in 2023 are the Bread and Friends bakery/cafe, The Ugly Duckling in the West End, the Night Moves/Lambs collaboration, and the new LB Kitchen.
National Recognition – while none of the nominees came home with the gold in June, the 2022 James Beard Awards season saw Maine honored with 10 semifinalists (just shy of the record 11 set in 2020) and a record 5 finalist nominees—a confirmation of the strength of the Maine restaurant industry and hopefully an indication of what’s to come (watch for the 2023 semifinalists list in February). National recognition came in other forms as well this year: Bon Appetit included Regards on their list of the Best New Restaurants in America, the NY Times identified Leeward and Twelve as two of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” Food & Wine and CN Traveler shared their love of Biddeford, and Esquire magazine has named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America.
Maine Food Map –Biddeford will continue to be a hot spot, and new restaurants are opening in South Portland and the Portland suburbs. However, there’s also been a growing drumbeat of new and interesting food and beverages businesses opening outside the Portland area, and in 2022 that seemed to have gone into a higher gear…here are just a few examples from the past year: Table Bar in Gardiner, Aboslem Cider in Winthrop, Nomad in Brunswick, Solo Pane in Bath, the new Dennett’s Wharf in Castine, The Alna Store in Alna, Sidereal Brewing in Vassalboro, Wolfpeach in Camden, Sophia in Belfast, Perch in Waldoboro, Hey Sailor in Searsport, and The Rooting Pig in Bristol.
Upcoming in 2023 – For a rundown of new food businesses under development see PFM Under Construction list. Here are some of the more exciting ones in the pipeline:
- Bread and Friends – an elevated bakery/cafe located on Fore Street.
- Lambs/Night Moves – Kerry Haines is bringing her bakery to South Portland and her partner Wade Ritchey is opening a bar in the adjoining space.
- LB Kitchen – Lee Farrington and Bryna Gootkind are reopening LB Kitchen in an expanded space on the corner of Congress and Smith Streets.
- Lenora – a taco bar focusing on Mexican-inspired street food from the creators of Lone Star in Boston.
- Mr. Tuna – a new iteration of Mr. Tuna located on Middle Street is slated to open this summer.
- Papi – a Puerto Rican-inspired bar and restaurant expected to open early in 2023.
- Quanto Basta – a brick and mortar version of the popular Neapolitan pizza food truck which will be located in the original LB Kitchen space.
- Room for Improvement – a modern dive bar being brought to life on Wharf Street by Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin.
- The Continental – European pub food meets cocktails and featuring slow pour nitro ales and stouts in the Oakdale neighborhood.
- The Ugly Duckling – Chaval owners Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti are launching this daytime cafe and bakeshop on Danforth Street in early 2023.
- Vertical Harvest – a 70,000 square-foot hydroponic vertical greenhouse in Westbrook.
There are also several other exciting new projects that are currently under wraps but will go public soon. Check back later this year for details.
Top 10 Articles
The most popular articles published on Portland Food Map in the past year.
- Eastern Prom Food Trucks – early report by the Portland Phoenix that the city was considering new rules to manage food trucks on the Eastern Prom (March 30th)
- Somebody Feed Phil – debut of the Somebody Feed Phil episode from Maine (April 7th)
- Sacred Profane Brewing – first report on Sacred Profane Brewing being under construction in Biddeford (February 21st)
- AC Moving to SoPo – first report on A&C Grocery moving to South Portland (March 2nd)
- The Danforth – interim report on The Danforth (February 15th)
- The Continental – first report on The Continental (April 14th)
- Indy’s Sandwich – first report on Indy’s (February 6th)
- Paper Tiger – first report on Paper Tiger (January 6th)
- Fish & Whistle – first report on Fish & Whistle in Biddeford (February 1st)
- Tobi Open – report on the opening of Tobi (June 3rd)
Notable Events of 2022
- January – The Upward Management Group bought The Porthole, the Bangor Daily News and Press Herald both reported on how restaurants were responding to the challenge of operating during the pandemic, Brea Lu held a fundraiser to support Sinful Kitchen staff impacted by a fire, Vogue named Twelve to their list of the most anticipated restaurants in 2022, The Lost Llama held a Peruvian food pop-up, and four Maine businesses were Good Food Awards winners; Smalls, The Frying Dutchman, and Regards, opened; Sebago Brewing closed their Fore Street location and Luis’ Arepera closed.
- February – Sur Lie owner Krista Cole bought Gather in Yarmouth from founder Matt Chappell, the Press Herald hired Tim Cebula to backfill the position vacated by Meredith Goad, Maine Beer Company donated $100,000 to USM to establish the Brewing Up Opportunity Internship-Scholarship Fund, Rattanak Tray and Hope MacVane-Tray became the new owners of Yosaku, 10 Maine restaurants and chefs were named James Beard Awards semi-finalists; The Grateful Cup, Dila’s Kitchen opened and Yobo closed.
- March – Christian Hayes departed to Poland to cook for World Central Kitchen’s Ukranian relief effort, 5 Maine chefs and restaurants were named James Beard nominees, and Chase Rochon became a Certified Pommelier; Moonday Coffee, Paper Tiger, Moonday Coffee on Washington Ave, and the WingIt food truck opened, and Back Bay Grill closed.
- April – it was Fresh Approach’s 30th anniversary, Julien Langevin won the Cup Tasters competition at the 2022 US Coffee Championships Food & Wine named Biddeford to their list of America’s Next Great Food Cites, and Portland changed the rules for food trucks on the Eastern Promenade; Eat It & Beet It, Onggi, Stars & Stripes, Nom Cafe, Bay Bowls, and Casita Corazon opened, Curbside Comforts went brick and mortar, and Timber relaunched as a bourbon bar.
- May – The Maine episode of Somebody Feed Phil aired, CN Traveler published an article about Biddeford, the inaugural Wild Wine Fest took place, Portland Hunt & Alpine Club was an honoree in the Best Cocktail Bar (East Coast) category as part of the 16th Annual Spirit Awards, 2.3k people signed a food truck petition; Little Tandem and Scratch reopened, and Roll Call and The Maine Donut Tour opened.
- June – Portland Wine Week took place, Big Tree bought the Town Landing Market in Falmouth, Via Vecchia and Might & Main won a Hospitality Design Award in the Visual Design category; Hi-Fidelity, Tobi, Fish & Whistle, Newscapes and Idiomatic opened, and Parker’s closed.
- July – Brea Lu announced plans to move; Twelve and The Danforth opened, Buena Vista opened in South Portland, Solo Italiano opened their bakery in Bath, and Roll Call closed.
- August – Maine Standard Biofuels bought Urban Farm Fermentory from Eli Cayer, and Nosh changed hands; Cabana, Bread & Olive and Keg & Kraken opened, and Bull Fenney’s reopened.
- September – Regards was on the 2022 Bon Appetit list of the Best New Restaurants in America, Leeward and Twelve were on the NYT list of the “50 places in America we’re most excited about right now,” Allagash announced plans to move their tasting room to Scarborough, a robot food delivery service launched at USM; Sacred Profane and Layalina opened in Biddeford, Katahdin has closed pending a move to a new location, and Dogfish Bar & Grille has temporarily closed.
- October – the Press Herald ran an article about René Emilio Peña and his two business La Bodega Latina and Cabana, Down East interviewed Sean Turley from The Righteous Russet; Twin Swirls opened, Fruit Bat launched, Dirty Dove relaunched as Saint Joe’s Restobar, and Hugo’s permanently closed.
- November – Botto’s announced plans to move to Westbrook, Esquire magazine named Twelve to their 2022 list of the Best New Restaurants in America; Dok Mali, Zu Bakery, and Goodfire Brewing in Freeport opened, and Miyake reopened.
- December – Boston.com published an interview with Papi co-founder LyAnna Sanabria, Dobra announced plans to move, Mr. Tuna announced plan to move, and Dedalus Wine from Vermont leased space in Bayside; Full Turn, Trudy Bird’s, Tar Coffee, A & C Soda Shop, Bar Futo, and Riverton Station opened, and Hilltop Coffee permanently closed.
- Stephen Freese, 52 – a co-founder of the Portland Pie Co.
- Stephen Lanzalotta, 63 – author, founder of Sophia’s, and a founder/co-owner of Slab.
- George Parr, 71 – the founder and influential fish monger of Upstream Trucking.
For an additional perspective on the past year in food see the Maine Sunday Telegram Best of 2022 article.
This is the 13th year running that Portland Food Map has published a year in review article. Take a walk down memory lane by checking out these past editions that covered 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.