Every so often I get a little extra excited about a new restaurant or market, for one reason or another. Like in this case, when I imagine I am jumping up and down, clapping my hands like a little girl and totally embarrassing myself.

That’s because soon I may be driving by Monte’s Fine Foods every day, a project that longtime Portland chef Steve Quattrucci and his business partner, Neil Rouda, hope to open in February at the corner of Washington and Ocean avenues, on the border of the East Deering and North Deering neighborhoods. Monte’s Fine Foods, a hybrid restaurant-bakery-specialty market, will be located in the old gas station that previously housed Pizza by Angelone at 788 Washington Ave.

Quattrucci said they intend to sell local products and imported foods, with a focus on Italian and pan-Mediterranean. “We’re honoring Angelone’s legacy and doing pizza and sandwiches and salads,” he said. He plans to renovate the building and add 2,300 square feet. Customers will be able to dine in or sit outside on a new patio.

The building has had to undergo an environmental review, so the project is still in the city’s hands, Quattrucci said; he hopes to start construction later this year, maybe in August.

Pizza by Angelone was a Portland institution. Jack Angelone opened his first restaurant on Veranda Street in 1947 – he played the piano to entertain customers – and is credited with introducing pizza to the city. Ultimately, he opened three pizzerias in old gas stations; the Washington Avenue location, opened in the late 1960s, is known as Angelone’s North. Quattrucci remembers eating pizza with his family there, “especially as a kid. They were really the only game in town.”

The South Portland location was sold and razed in 2011 to make way for a bank. The third location is in Westbrook.

As sad as it may be to lose Angelone’s, it’s great that the building will likely be replaced by another food business. We need more quality local food options, and fewer fast food joints, out in the Portland boonies.

NATALIE’S HAS A NEW CHEF

KENNETH HYNES

Kenneth Hynes is the new executive sous chef at Natalie’s, the restaurant at the Camden Harbour Inn.

Hynes, who grew up in a restaurant family in New Jersey, has worked in North Carolina, Alaska and California. He spent seven years in Napa Valley, where he worked part of that time as chef de partie at La Toque.

In Asheville, North Carolina, Hynes worked at Rhubarb, a hyper-local restaurant whose chef, John Fleer, is a five-time James Beard Foundation nominee.

Hynes has moved to Maine to join his wife, Maxine, who grew up in Cape Neddick and now lives in Rockport. Natalie’s filed for bankruptcy in March.

TWO MAINERS IN THE MIX ON ‘CHOPPED’

The long parade of Maine chefs appearing on “Chopped” continues. Two Maine chefs, one from Portland and one from Lewiston, will appear on the Food Network show in July. Matt Ginn, executive chef at Evo Kitchen & Bar in Portland, announced on Instagram that he’ll appear on the “Room for ‘Shrooms” episode airing at 9 p.m. July 10, “and I am sure to have said something I’ll regret.”

According to a description of the episode on the show’s website, Ginn and his competition will “try to make a great first impression on judge Martha Stewart with an unusual cocktail and an intensely flavored protein. In the second basket, the chefs discover a creative use for bacon and a French dessert with a wild twist. Then in the final round, two chefs face the difficult task of making mushrooms into sweet creations.”

Zachary Pratt of Boba, a small southeast Asian restaurant at 125 Scribner Blvd., in Lewiston, will be on the show at 9 p.m. July 3.

According to the Chopped website, that episode is called “Lamb Slam” and is notable because judge Stewart tastes a corn dog for the very first time. To which we say: Really??? You’ve amassed a gazillion dollar food-and-lifestyle empire, eaten with the world’s most famous chefs, hosted dinner parties with celebrities, and you’ve never eaten a corn dog??? Despite your eventful life, we think you have not yet lived.

PINGREE NAMED ‘AMERICAN FOOD HERO’

Eating Well magazine has named U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree an “American Food Hero” because of her work on national food policy.

Winners of the magazine’s 2nd annual American Food Heroes awards were nominated by food experts, advocates and readers. This year, the awards focused on leaders in food, sustainability and nutrition.

Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st Congressional District, was selected for the honor because of her advocacy for local foods and organic agriculture, and her attention to the issue of food waste, according to the Vermont-based magazine.

Winners are profiled in the July/August issue of Eating Well and online at eatingwell.com.

WHEN AND WHO AT BUXTON COMMON

As promised last week, I have a little more information on The Buxton Common, the restaurant that chef Max Brody just opened at 1420 Long Plains Rd. Regular dinner hours – 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday – were scheduled to begin yesterday. The bar will close at 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and stay open until last call on weekends. (The restaurant is expected to open for Sunday brunch and dinner within a few weeks.) In addition to catering and semi-private dining, Buxton Common offers take-out and lunch delivery.

Some alums of Portland-area restaurants are working in the kitchen, including Guy Frenette, former chef at Artemisia; Danielle Henry, former pastry chef at Five Fifty-Five; and Robert Parry, former sous chef at Gather in Yarmouth.

WOLFE’S NECK OPENS FARM STORE

Wolfe’s Neck Center, 184 Burnett Rd., in Freeport has a new farm store next to the Livestock Education Barn. The store – which replaces the center’s small farm stand – now sells not only fresh produce and eggs but cheese, dairy and pasture-raised meats as well. Look for whole chickens, lamb sausage and ground beef, all sourced right from the farm.

The farm’s cafe, across from the campground office, has an expanded menu this year, offering items such as lobster and crab rolls, and sandwiches, burgers and pizzas made with the farm’s own produce and pasture-raised meats. Ingredients that can’t be sourced on site comes from other local farms whenever possible.

Breakfast is served from 8 to 10 a.m.; lunch and dinner are served from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

NEW FACILITY TURNS OUT EDIBLE SEAWEED

Ocean’s Balance has moved into a new manufacturing facility in the Pepperell Mill in Biddeford, where it will launch nine new edible seaweed products: three new varieties of Seaweed Sprinkles, three organic seaweed flakes, and three organic seaweed whole leaf options.

The company’s Seaweed Sprinkles – used to top soups, salads and other foods – were inspired by Japanese furikake, but are made with organic seaweed, less sugar and salt, and no oil, according to the company.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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