This is the kind of confidence that you’ll only find in cats. Two Fat Cats, the popular India Street bakery in Portland, is opening a second location in South Portland, in a spot where another bakery closed after about a year in business.

Stacy Begin, owner of Two Fat Cats Bakery, is ready to expand to South Portland. Margaret Logan photo

Stacy Begin, owner of Two Fat Cats, confirmed this past weekend that she has just signed a lease at 740 Broadway, the former home of Fernleaf Bakery’s second location. (Fernleaf’s original bakery and coffee shop is in Saco.) Begin hopes to open at the new location in April.

The storefront on Broadway is sandwiched between Tuxedos on Broadway and a Supercuts. There’s a drive-thru for the Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the same development, should you want a Bahama Mama smoothie to go with your Two Fat Cats whoopie pie.

The plusses? Plenty of parking and access to the bakery’s great blueberry pies without having to cross the Casco Bay Bridge.

THAT’S (RESTAURANT) LIFE

Ol’ Blue Eyes has apparently left the building. Crooners & Cocktails, the bar and restaurant at 90 Exchange St. in Portland where customers were serenaded by recordings of the Rat Pack, has closed and the space is for lease. Owner Chris Harris did not return a request for comment.

SPRING IN THEIR NEXT STEP

You can tell spring is near when restaurateurs start announcing opening dates for their new spots. Justin and Danielle Walker announced this week that their eponymous Cape Neddick restaurant, Walkers Maine, will open March 10. The folks at Black Cow, the burger place going into the old Sonny’s spot in Portland, hint on social media that they are about a month away from opening.

MAKING WINE WEEK

Local sommelier Erica Archer announced Tuesday that she’s launching Portland Wine Week this summer, a summer wine festival that will be held June 18-24.

Archer is the owner of Wine Wise, a wine education events company, and the festival will include her signature sunset wine sails, wine education walks in the Old Port and wine education classes. Archer also plans to take advantage of Portland’s reputation as a great restaurant town by featuring restaurant wine dinners and a “passport tour” of local restaurants and their wine lists.

Among the 17 events in the works are six wine dinners: a night of rosé at Sur Lie; a focus on the new release and library wines of Channing Daughters winery at Hugo’s; a southern Italian white wine and seafood pairing at Scales; an evening of natural wines at Piccolo; a tour of Burgundy at Lolita; and an exploration of Spanish wines at Chaval.

Archer is also planning a meet and greet with an Austrian wine expert at Central Provisions; a pasta-making and wine pairing class at Solo Italiano; a wine pairing lunch with Bangs Island Mussels at Scales; and an historical wine list exhibition and talk from Don Lindgren of Rabelais Books.

The week will end with a gala: Cabernet & Cabaret: a Celebration of Red. Five local female chefs, including Ilma Lopez of Chaval and Piccolo and Krista Kern Desjarlais of The Purple House, are on board to create the food for the event, while Circus Maine is scheduled to provide entertainment. Proceeds from the gala will benefit Portland’s Preble Street Teen Center. Find updates and more information at www.portlandwineweek.me.

COOKBOOK IS COMING

First, a series of successful restaurants, followed by a James Beard Award. What’s next? Why, a cookbook, of course.

Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley and Arlin Smith, owners of Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland and Boston, have signed on with the Massachusetts-based literary agent The Lisa Ekus Group to write an Eventide cookbook. The restaurateurs have completed a book proposal with Boston Globe correspondent Sam Hiersteiner and are in discussions with publishers, according to Sally Ekus.

Eventide was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Restaurants in 2012, and Taylor and Wiley last year won the James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast.

The three men also own Hugo’s and The Honey Paw, both in Portland, and a second Eventide in Boston.

LOBSTER ROLL REDUX

The Lobster Roll World Championship is coming back to Thompson’s Point this summer, but with a new name and some changes intended to help avoid last year’s PR disaster.

Last year, the Down East Lobster Roll Festival, sponsored by Down East magazine, was overwhelmed with ticket holders who paid $10 to get in and then had to wait in long lines at a single lobster roll truck to buy food. Then a thunderstorm rolled in and swept everything away. At least those who purchased $100 VIP tickets to watch the “World’s Best Lobster Roll” competition indoors stayed dry and ate plenty of lobster.

This year, the Lobster Roll World Championship will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on July 7. The event will focus solely on the championship – which means no more $10 tickets – and all ticket holders will be able to sample the 10 finalists’ lobster rolls and vote for their favorites. A judge’s ticket, which includes the sampling and voting, costs $99. The $250 VIP tickets also give access to a VIP lounge with an open bar, a cocktail hour meet-and-greet with the winners from 4 to 5 p.m., drinks, dessert, a gift bag, a VIP entrance and free parking. All tickets will be sold online, in advance.

To enter the contest, chefs must submit a recipe along with a story that explains why their lobster roll is the best. Down East magazine will announce the 10 finalists on May 1. The winner of the event will be featured in Down East magazine and get a cash prize. To buy tickets or get details on entering the contest, visit downeast.com/lobsterroll.

Last year’s winners were Ben and Lorin Smaha of Freshies Lobster Co. in Park City, Utah. We know, we know. It sounds like a chef from Michigan winning a Mardi Gras food festival, but relax – Ben Smaha grew up in Cape Elizabeth.

HOME COOKING

Tickets are also on sale for this year’s Kennebunkport Festival, which will be held June 4-9. Chefs who have agreed to host Art of Dining dinners – small dinners held in private homes – include Portland chefs Josh Berry of Union, Rian Wyllie of Little Giant, Guy Hernandez of Lolita, Matt Ginn of Evo Kitchen + Bar; Avery Richter of the Black Tie Co.; Adam Flood of Grace; Harding Smith of The Rooms; and Emil Rivera of Sur Lie. Pierre Gignac of Ocean Restaurant in Kennebunkport, Romann Dumorne of Northern Union in Ogunquit, Joseph Shafer of Earth in Kennebunk, and German Lucarelli of Ports of Italy in Boothbay are among the other Maine chefs participating.

Art of Dining tickets don’t come cheap; they cost $195. But the dinners offer an intimate experience, giving diners the chance to get up close and personal with a chef and get inside some pretty special private homes, too. You snooze, you lose, apparently: Two dinners are already sold out, and several others have only a few tickets left.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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