Under Construction: Sypp, Boone’s, Empire

The Portland City Council meets Monday and as part of the agenda will be reviewing the liquor license applications from several new restaurants:

  • Empire – in its new guise as a Chinese restaurant, the downstairs of Empire will serve “a menu of traditional Chinese Dim Sum and other authentic dishes” according to letter from the new owner Theresa Chan. The draft menu (page 122) includes items like duck and pan fried duck egg salad, shrimp rice crepes, and foraged conch noodles. Chan plans on using the upstairs as a live music venue and as a space for private events. Chan is hoping to open in May.
    Fun history facts: from 1916 to 1953 a Chinese restaurant called Empire operated in the same building. Portland’s very first Chinese restaurant opened in 1880.
  • Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room – this will be Harding Lee Smith’s fourth restaurant. The draft menu (page 154) includes traditional seafood dishes, a “Snow Island Extreme Lobster Bake”, as well as a selection of oysters “from here and away”.  Smith is hoping to open in June.
    Fun history fact: Boone’s Restaurant operated in this space on Custom House Wharf for more than a century from 1898 to early in the 21st  Century.
  • Sypp – Thomas Henderson is opening an “upscale wine/martini bar” at 345 Fore Street in the space most recently occupied by Sebastian’s. The menu is still being worked on but a brief draft menu (page 182) lists “assorted cheese and cracker plates”, olive plate, tuna tartar, antipasto plate. Henderson hopes to open in May.
    Fun history fact: Sypp will be loocated in Boothby Square which was named for Colonel Frederick E. Boothby.

For details on all the food businesses under development in Portland see the Under Construction List.

6 comments on “Under Construction: Sypp, Boone’s, Empire

  1. I applaud anybody trying to open up a new restaurant/bar in this town but do people like throwing away money or something? You know the location of where Sypp is going. You know what does and what doesn’t work in Portland. I just don’t get it.

  2. Nick, I know that spot hasn’t worked out for the last few restaurants that started there but eventually something will. Let’s give Sypp a chance to open and succeed before deciding they’re not the ones to change the luck of that address.

  3. I hope they do very well but there’s just certain formulas that do well in this city. You either have to already own a successful restaurant to open a new one or it has to be different enough to grab the attention of the people here like Shulte and Herr. Sebastien’s could have done everything right and I still would have bet against it. Somebody opening better have a good grasp on the foodies, hipsters, or tourists and better off a combination of all three. Forced “chic” upscale almost never works, hence no more Plush West End.

  4. I went to go find Sypp today and found a mock-tail bar that is going to be called Fizz. The owner is going to be doing mostly re-tail and is under construction right now. Is Sypp going to be on the other side or something?

  5. I went back and checked and the liquor license application was definitely for a place called Sypp. It was however for just the space on the corner and not the full area that had been occupied by Sebastian’s. Did you talk to someone in the corner space or the one close to Pearl Street?

  6. The person I talked to was on the Silver Street Side. I must have went to the wrong part. Thank you

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