Lucky for Portland, chef Nick Verdisco has decided to stay here, though his gig at Bolster, Snow & Co. ended last month when the restaurant closed.

Verdisco, who previously worked at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s The Inn at Pound Ridge in New York, said he and his wife love Portland and its chef-driven restaurant scene. His future plans include both working for someone else, and for himself. The Falmouth Country Club has hired Verdisco and three of his kitchen crew from Bolster, Snow & Co. to give its menu a facelift. Verdisco will start there in January; the rest of his crew, including pastry chef Sarah Miller, are already laying the groundwork for the transformation and “getting the kitchen kind of Nick ready,” Verdisco said.

Sommelier Erica Archer, owner of the Wine Wise wine education program, has been hired to do the same for the country club’s wine program, Verdisco said.

The country club, Verdisco said, is “a great opportunity for me. Before this even happened, I had been looking at spots on my own.”

Verdisco still hopes to open his own restaurant in the Portland area at some point. But the country club job gives him more time to search out “the right part of town, whatever that means,” and plan the venture well. He said he’d like to offer fine-dining quality in a “super casual, super approachable” and “very European” atmosphere.

“I’m 100 percent Italian, so I’m definitely tapping into those roots a little, but not in a typical Italian kind of way,” he said.

As for what went wrong at Bolster, Snow, Verdisco said holidays were always busy, but the restaurant just couldn’t get the same numbers during regular weekday service. “We were tucked away on the West End, and it was hard to get people in the seats consistently,” he said.

The restaurant didn’t have great signage, and it was 8 or 9 feet off the ground, the chef noted, meaning passersby couldn’t just look in the windows and catch the vibe.

Diners, especially those from out of town, had a hard time finding it. “You thought there might be a restaurant there, but you weren’t 100 percent sure,” he said.

Verdisco looks forward to continuing his relationships with Maine farmers and fishermen in a new venue, while enjoying Portland’s music and arts scene. Maine is a place where “people work hard and play hard,” Verdisco said – just like chefs. He’s not going anywhere.

“All those things you would want as a big city chef are here,” he said.


Woodfords Corner in Portland is becoming quite the little hot spot for food, art and funky street lights, and now another restaurant is planning to call it home.

Martha Leonard confirmed that she and Niky Walter are opening a second location for Maiz, which serves Colombian street food such as arepas and empanadas, at 621 Forest Ave.

The original Maiz, located in the Public Market House at 28 Monument Way, opened in July 2017. Leonard said the new place will still be small and casual, with counter service.

Leonard said the restaurant will feature both counter seating and several larger tables.

“We are really excited about all the things happening at Woodfords Corner, and we’re really excited to be part of a community that’s new businesses and residential,” Leonard said. “There’s a great art scene out there.”

Woodfords Corner is already home to Woodford Food & Beverage, Big Sky Bakery, the Somali restaurant Mini Mogadishu, Bayou Kitchen, the Little Woodfords coffee shop, and a few international markets.


Shays Grill Pub at 18 Monument Square in Portland has changed hands. The new owner is 30-year-old Cooper Gilbert of Portland.

The previous owners, Jennifer and Brian Brenerman, opened Dunstan Tap & Table on Route 1 in Scarborough in July, then sold Shays to Gilbert. The licenses were in his name by November.

No word on if Gilbert plans any changes. He did not respond to phone messages left over the past two weeks.


Chicken wing fans take note: Binga’s Wingas is considering a new location in Brunswick, but the project is still a year to 18 months away, according to owner Alec Altman.

Binga’s currently has restaurants in Portland, Yarmouth and Windham.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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