If you’ve run out of ways to make your holiday mashed potatoes special, a new Maine brand could help you impress Thanksgiving guests this year. Green Thumb Farms – the same Fryeburg farm that provides the “chef’s potatoes” for Cold River Vodka, Duckfat fries, Figgy’s buttermilk smashed potatoes and Noble BBQ’s scrappy fries – plans to launch its first premium potato for consumers early next month.

Maine chefs and restaurants prefer a larger size of this potato, called Cold River Gold, because it cooks consistently, holds up well, maintains its buttery color after frying and keeps for a long time.

The consumer version is smaller, but promises to pack the same big flavor punch that will go well with your roast turkey and gravy.


Espo’s Trattoria, the family-owned Italian restaurant known for its softball-sized meatballs and twin lobster specials, is for sale.

The 5,550-square-foot restaurant at 1335 Congress St. has been family-run for 45 years, and is now on the market for $1.2 million, according to Malone Commercial Brokers. The building was constructed in 1910 (the dining room still has its original tin ceiling) and was renovated in 2005.

It includes a small patio, decent parking (a rarity in Portland), and a second-floor apartment.

One of the co-owners of Espo’s was Joseph Esposito Sr., who was the son of Italian immigrants and grew up on Munjoy Hill. He died in 2014 at age 84.

As of press time, we had not been able to reach the owners.


Taste foods from around the world and help a new Mainer become an entrepreneur at the Taste the World event on Nov. 8 at Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St., Portland.

The inaugural Taste the World was organized last year by Propel, a Portland-based program that helps young entrepreneurs start businesses. Last year’s event led to creation of the New Mainer Culinary Entrepreneur Program, which provides scholarships, help with start-up costs and business support to immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs who’d like to start food-related businesses. The first scholarship recipient, Aklilu Tsaedu, subsequently launched Niyat Catering, which serves Ethiopian cuisine, from Fork Food Lab.

All proceeds from Taste the World – ticket sales, raffles and donations – will go to the New Mainer Culinary Entrepreneur Program, and a new scholarship recipient will be chosen after this year’s event. (Machias Savings Bank has pledged to match up to $1,125 of the proceeds.)

Taste the World is scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m. and costs $15.

Partners in the event are Fork Food Lab, Coastal Enterprises, Catholic Charities of Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services, the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center and Maine Access Immigrant Network.


A production company that films “Food Paradise” for the Travel Channel was in Portland last week to visit Salvage BBQ and The Thirsty Pig.

The focus of the show is unknown – although Jay Villani, owner of Salvage, says he thinks it’s a meat-centric episode. A spokesperson for the Travel Channel did not return a request for more information.

The Thirsty Pig is known for its homemade sausages, so it makes sense the show would focus on meats. Allison Stevens, owner of The Thirsty Pig on Exchange Street, said producers asked her not to discuss any details with local media.


I’ve been on vacation, so apologize for this late news, but thought readers would still like to hear that Lars Taylor, chef at The Honey Paw in Portland, came in second at this year’s Lamb Jam tour finale in Denver on Oct. 14.

The Lamb Jam tour, sponsored by the American Lamb Board, is a chef competition that makes stops in Austin, Boston, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Maine chefs typically compete in the Boston leg of the competition.

Taylor initially tied for first place, according to The Honey Paw, and after a second round of judging came in second for his lamb dumplings with aromatic broth, matsutake mushrooms, leeks and annatto oil.

First place went to Danica Avilas of Pinoy Heritage, a Filipino pop-up based in San Francisco. Avilas made lamb adobo empanada with corn, peppercress and pickles.


Portland also had a few food-and-drink openings while I was gone.

All Those Who Wander, a coffee shop in the Black Box at 93 Washington Ave., opened Monday, joining a new cheese shop in the mini-development. The self-described “curated coffee experience” will feature single-origin coffees from Parlor Coffee and will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shop will also sell pastries.

The Portland Zoo, a new bar offering local craft beers, has opened at 41 Fox St. in East Bayside. It’s open 2 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The Portland area’s third poke restaurant (fourth, if you count both Big Fin Poke restaurants) opened last weekend at 426 Fore St. Crunchy Poke differentiates itself by touting its commitment to sustainability and charity. The restaurant says it sources only sustainably caught fish, and it uses biodegradable fiber bowls, paper straws and compostable utensils. The restaurant plans to donate 2 percent of its net sales to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

That old garage next door to A&C Grocery finally has a new occupant – and it’s a delicious one, if you’re a fan of kombucha like I am. Root Wild Kombucha, which will also sell craft beer, opened last weekend at 135 Washington Ave. It’s the latest project from Reid Emmerich, kombucha brew master and former partner in Urban Farm Fermentory, and his partners, Tom Madden and John Paul, the co-founders of Lone Pine Brewing Co. The 49-seat tasting room with 12 rotating taps will launch with the brewery’s “core flavors” of kombucha on draft: Wild Blueberry, Ginger, and Vanilla Rooibos. The first seasonal rotation flavors on tap are Strawberry, Rose Petal, Rhubarb, Elderberry and Hopped.

If you prefer beer, the tasting room will offer a Maté Session IPA and a Double IPA to start. Look for Blueberry Berliner Weisse and a Ginger Hibiscus Saison in the near future.

Root Wild eventually will be found in Portland-area restaurants, bars and retail stores. Later this fall, the company will begin distributing kombucha in 12-ounce aluminum cans, the first kombucha brewers in New England to do so, according to the owners.

For now, the hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday; noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays; noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.


Dandelion Catering’s new restaurant in the old Sparhawk Mill in Yarmouth isn’t open yet, but it has a name: The Garrison.

Chef Christian Hayes and his wife Christine are using his winnings from Chopped to help fund the addition to the family’s catering operation.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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