Two Portland restaurants have been nominated by Bon Appetit for a spot on its coveted list of America’s Best New Restaurants.

Drifters Wife, an eclectic, modern American restaurant on Washington Avenue that has garnered rave views, and Rose Foods, an updated version of a Jewish deli on Forest Avenue, won two of 50 spots on the food magazine’s annual list of nominees. The list will be whittled down to the “Hot 10” restaurants in America, and the results will be announced Aug. 14.

The restaurants were chosen by Bon Appetit at-large editor Andrew Knowlton, who travels the country every year searching for the best places to eat. He did not indicate why the 50 nominated restaurants made the list, except to note that he ran across “not one but multiple Jewish-style delis reinventing the genre.”


The options are shifting again at the Public Market House in Portland. Crepes and sticky rice are out; sushi, loaded baked potatoes and Sichuan cuisine are in.

Jordan Rubin, owner of Mr. Tuna, now operated out of several food carts on the streets of Portland, will be opening soon on the market’s first floor. Rubin says a couple of weeks’ worth of renovations remain to be done, then city inspections. He estimates an opening date near the end of August Mr. Tuna will replace Café Crêpe on the first floor of the market, an eatery that lasted only about a year.


Rubin plans to serve his signature fusion sushi burritos at least one day a week, as well as nigiri sushi and sashimi, and all of the hand rolls on his cart menu. The menu will definitely be larger, though. He is throwing around the idea of doing breakfast with a menu that would include Japanese-style breakfast sandwiches.

Rubin said he’ll continue to run two to three Mr. Tuna carts through Labor Day, and at least one through Columbus Day.

The two businesses coming to the second floor of the market at 28 Monument Square are Totally Tubers, a potato and sweet potato bar from the owners of Daily Greens; and Sichuan Kitchen, an offshoot of the restaurant down the street at 612 Congress St. Sarah Haley, operations manager at the Public Market House, said the potato bar likely won’t open until the end of August. Sichuan Kitchen, which will replace Sticky Sweet, will start with a menu of street food that includes a Sichuan sandwich known as guo kui, dumplings, pork buns, beef jerky, cucumber salads, mushroom salads and smoky tofu salads, according to Qi Shen, owner of the restaurant. She also plans to offer some seasonal items such as cold noodles for summer and soup dumplings for winter, and an entree here and there, such as gong bao chicken with rice.

Qi Shen said she hopes to open her marketplace spot in the middle to end of August.

Haley said the market is working on getting permits to turn the back space downstairs – where Maine Beer & Beverage and Bow Street Beverage used to be – into rental spaces for more small, local food vendors. “What we envision for the next year or two is a two-story food hall,” she said. One possibility for the downstairs space is a vegan bakery, she said, although no agreements have been signed.



Standish is getting a new English-style pub.

Leigh and Bill Haines have scheduled a grand opening for their Two Black Dogs Country Pub at 10:30 a.m. Friday at 1 Ossipee Trail. The pub was previously located in North Conway, New Hampshire, for three years and Fryeburg for five years.

The pub will offer a from-scratch menu that will include dishes such as bangers and mash, steak and stout pie, and piccadilly pasty (a turnover from Cornwall, England), along with sandwiches such as the bird and pig, croque monsieur and Philly cheese steaks.

A full-service bar is located on the second floor and is handicap accessible with an elevator.


Last week, chef Bowman Brown and his new Biddeford restaurant Elda got some serious love from Eater’s national critic Bill Addison when the restaurant made his list of the 18 Best New Restaurants in America.


Addison called Brown’s approach to food “a paradigm of current modern American cooking,” and made note of the chef’s “exquisite sense of place with seafood and vegetables” and his “style that doesn’t land on any one cuisine but shows off all kinds of imagination and chops.”

Elda is a major player in the transformation of Biddeford from tired mill town to inspired food town. Addison predicted Biddeford is “on the cusp of giving Portland, its neighbor 20 miles north, some serious competition as a darling of East Coast food obsessives.”

Our own restaurant critic called the food at Elda (named after Brown’s great-grandmother) “stunning” and “magical,” and said the restaurant “might very well be the best new restaurant to open in the Portland metropolitan area in the past two years.”


More national accolades: Food & Wine magazine put together a list of the best barbecue joints in every state, and the winner for Maine is: Noble Barbecue at 1706 Forest Ave. in Portland, cited for its “interesting” sandwiches and “admirable” brisket, chopped pork and pastrami – all adding up, the magazine says, to “some of the best smoked meat this town has most likely ever seen.” The runner-up? Spring Creek Bar B-Q in Monson, which has become “something of a pilgrimage site” to barbecue lovers, including the late Anthony Bourdain.



In case you missed it: It looks as if former Portland chef Shannon Bard will be avoiding jail time in the criminal case that charged her and her husband, Tom Bard, with writing nearly $20,000 in bad checks when they were the owners of the now-shuttered Zapoteca. The chef will pay court costs and do 15 hours of community service, and if she stays out of trouble for the next three months, the charges against her will be dismissed. Her estranged husband, however, will spend a weekend in jail and plead guilty to a misdeameanor. He’ll avoid a felony charge, but will have to make restitution to Bow Street Distributing, the liquor distribution company that got the bad checks.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.