Chef Dave Mallari has leased the Portland restaurant called 953 Congress Street – the American bistro formerly known as the Dogfish Cafe – and plans to reopen it as Salty Sally’s Bar & Grille.

Mallari said he was meeting with the staff of 953 Congress Street on Tuesday afternoon to offer them positions at Salty Sally’s.

“Hopefully no one will lose their jobs when we come in,” he said.

For years, the Dogfish Cafe occupied the space, which is at the corner of Congress and St. John streets. After that cafe closed, another one opened briefly, and then it became 953 Congress Street.

Mallari said 953 Congress Street, which is owned by Ted Arcand of the Dogfish Co., will stay open until Memorial Day weekend. Mallari will start the transition to the new restaurant June 1. He’ll go before the Portland City Council on June 6 to request his liquor license and, if all goes well, will have a soft opening June 17. The restaurant will open to the public June 18.

Mallari owns Pig Kahuna – a catering company – and The Sinful Kitchen, a breakfast/brunch restaurant on Brighton Avenue. He said Salty Sally’s will be “very casual” and have a full bar with four taps.


“We’re looking at upscale pub food,” Mallari said. “We’re trying to keep it simple and still offer the gluten-free options we have at The Sinful Kitchen.”

A draft menu includes lots of simple dishes such as burgers, hot dogs and mac-and-cheese. But there are also, in a nod to Mallari’s Filipino heritage, lots of island-themed choices – Crispy Fish Tacos, Hawaiian Garlic Shrimp Scampi, Tuna Poke, and Tequila Lime Pork Belly Skewers.

“Basically, the menu is everything I want to eat,” he said.

Initially, Salty Sally’s will be open for dinner only. Hours will be 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, and noon to 12:30 a.m. on weekends. Eventually, it will open for lunch during the week, Mallari said.


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