Let’s start off with something to make you feel better about this third nor’easter that’s just slammed our coast. Seasonal restaurants and food shacks are starting to announce their 2018 opening dates, which means spring is nigh. Red’s Dairy Freeze at 167 Cottage Road in South Portland re-opened last week during the previous nor’easter, and The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth announced it will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning March 31.

R&R… &R FOR LITTLE BIGS

Big news this weekend from Little Bigs, the little South Portland bakery at 340 Main St. that makes hand pies and pastries. After hinting for a couple of weeks that change was coming, owners James and Pamela Plunkett announced Saturday that Sunday would be their last day before closing for five weeks for rest, renovations and re-dos. They will re-open May 1. Clearly, I was not the only one who panicked at the news: When I arrived at the bakery on Sunday morning for one last treat, the shelves were almost empty. Daylight savings be damned, the Little Big locusts had swarmed in and inhaled almost everything. I still managed to put together a selection of favorites – a breakfast calzone for now, a chicken hand pie for Monday lunch, a potato-crusted egg pie for the freezer.

The Plunketts had considered moving, but, as Pamela explained to me Sunday, they decided instead to figure out a way to make their Cash Corner location work better for them and their customers. A local couple who were regulars offered to invest in order to keep the bakery in the neighborhood.

Now the Plunketts plan to spend April expanding the kitchen (a new walk-in freezer is in the works, and hopefully a dishwasher since they’ve been doing all their dishes by hand), and adding better signage, fresh paint, and a walk-up window for placing orders.

James added that new menu items are in the works, such as bento-style boxes for lunch and dinner. They expect to expand hours, staff, and the catering portion of the business, too.

Best of all, come May customers may no longer have to call up the Plunketts to set aside their favorite items, for fear they will sell out early.

TAKING NAMES

If you were one of the 10,000 people who called The Lost Kitchen in Freedom April 1 last year seeking a reservation, you may – or may not – be in luck. Chef/proprietor Erin French has announced a change to the way her restaurant will handle reservations, and we can’t decide if the new lottery system makes sense or just makes it harder to grab one of the 40 seats available nightly from May through October.

Under the new system, would-be diners must mail in cards between April 1 and April 10 with their contact information. On April 11, her staff will randomly draw names until all the reservations are taken – the staff will work with the lucky customers either to reserve the day and time of their choice, or find something else that works for them. Anyone who doesn’t get a reservation can be put on the restaurant’s wait list.

DON’T BE LATE FOR DINNER

If you’ve been looking forward to having dinner at Artemisia Cafe, at 61 Pleasant St. in Portland, you’d better hurry. The restaurant announced last week that its final day of dinner service will be Friday.

Artemisia, owned by Celia Bruns, has been West End fixture serving lunch and brunch for about 18 years; in 2013, it added dinners, with Guy Frenette serving as the evening chef.

No reason was proffered for the change on the restaurant’s Facebook page, except that “all good things must come to an end.” Perhaps the arrangement has simply run its course.

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

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Twitter: MeredithGoad