EDITOR’S NOTE: The Wrap, a weekly column of news from Maine’s food and beverage industry that previously ran in the Wednesday Food & Dining section, will appear here every Wednesday. The Food section moves to the Maine Sunday Telegram. Email items for consideration to Meredith Goad at [email protected]

Our favorite part of Friday’s Inaugural Celebration for Gov.-elect Janet Mills? The food! (We’re pretty jazzed about the poetry, too.) In a press release put out by new Communications Director Scott Ogden, we learned that the celebration will “feature food and beverage from each of Maine’s sixteen counties.” The list is a long and pleasurable one that runs from watermelon radishes (Stonecipher Farm, Sagadahoc County), inaugur-ale (Moderation Brewery, Cumberland County) and Raye’s Mustard (Washington County) to whoopie pies (Wicked Whoopies, Kennebec County), Katahdin cheddar (Knox County) and smoked scallops (Duck Trap, Waldo County). This is just a smattering of the menu, and it does us proud to see the variety of food and geography represented in our state.

Cafe, beer, poutine

Business partners and friends Ben Low and Matt Johannes announced Thursday during the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s LA Metro Marketplace that Side by Each Brewing Co. and The Poutine Factory will open in Auburn this coming winter. Low is the former director of brewing operations at Baxter Brewing Co. and Johannes the former head brewer there. The chamber’s new economic development arm is providing financing support as they turn the former 10,480-square-foot Hammond Tractor building into a space that’s part brewery, part tasting room and part cafe.

“We’re really trying to keep it open and welcoming and family-friendly,” said Low, of Auburn. “It’s not going to be super-hipster feeling like a lot of the places in Portland, in keeping with the community.”

Kitchen space inside is being leased to Randy Smith from Pinky D’s Poutine Truck, who will operate his business within the business. Smith will serve lunch and dinner at The Poutine Factory. Low said they spent seven months looking for the right spot in the Twin Cities.

Juiced in Portland closes

Juiced, a juice bar and healthy food restaurant on Forest Avenue in Portland, closed Dec. 29. A note posted to Instagram said the Portland store was closing “due to circumstances beyond our control.” It had operated in that location for under two years. The company’s Hallowell operation, though, remains open. Gift cards to the Portland location will be honored in Hallowell, according to the post. It also solicited inquiries for the cafe space at 561 Forest Ave. and equipment.

From Fuji to N to Tail

Fuji Restaurant at 29 Exchange St. in Portland has undergone a metamorphosis. According to their website, the hitherto “authentic Japanese dining experience” is now “Maine’s only Korean BBQ restaurant experience.” The new restaurant is called N to Tail. According to its website, N to Tail will use local ingredients to craft Korean-Japanese small plates, featuring Korean BBQ downstairs and Korean-Japanese fine-dining upstairs. A post on the Fuji website thanks customers for “years of laughs, love and undeniable commitment.”

Rolling out the Barrel

A country bar called Whiskey Barrel is expected to open soon on Hanover Street in Portland. Renovations are ongoing, a Facebook post says.

New digs in Bayside

Austin Street Brewing has relocated its main brewery and opened a tasting room on Fox Street in Portland. The brewery, founded by Jake Austin in his Westbrook home, moved to Industrial Way, the hub of Portland’s craft brew scene, in 2014. The relocation to East Bayside allowed the company to expand its brewing capacity from a 10-barrel beer system to a 160-barrel system. It maintains a tasting room on Industrial Way, according to its website.

Grand tasting! Pie parade!

Tickets for the fourth annual Grand Tasting at the Chef Summit at Sunday River are on sale, an event the organizers tout as “The Foodie Event of the Year.” Eleven chefs from Maine (plus one from New Hampshire), will prepare the food and drink for the event, which is scheduled for Feb. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Their numbers include Harding Smith (Front Room, Grill Room, Corner Room, Portland), Mike Wiley (Eventide Oyster Co., Hugo’s, Honey Paw; Portland), Kerry Altiero (Cafe Miranda, Rockland), Sara Jenkins (Nina June, Rockport) and Justin Walker (Walkers Maine, Cape Neddick). Tickets cost $75, and the event will be held at the Jordan Hotel.

And, no disrespect intended to the many excellent chefs at Chefs Summit, but for the event we ourselves might call “The Maine Foodie Event of the Year”… Rockland and Camden are scheduled to hold their 15th annual Pies on Parade celebration on Jan. 27. (I mean, come on – chichi Tasting vs. Parading Pies. No contest.) The parade, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Rockland, culminates a weekend of events, including a Pie Gala in Rockland and a Pie Scavenger Hunt in Camden. OK, so the pies don’t actually parade – instead festivalgoers walk or ride a trolley from restaurants to inns to other businesses sampling more than 50 different pies; “walking between venues helps to burn calories,” the organizers say. Still, all the money raised from the weekend of events goes to Area Interfaith Outreach Food Pantry, which helps midcoast families. Buy tickets at piesonparade.com or call 596-6611.

School food security

The Portland Public School district has announced the creation of a new fund to support food security for students and their families, as well as nutrition and other food initiatives within the district. The nonprofit Foundation for Portland Public Schools will administer the new fund, according to a press release, which is aimed at helping students and their families identified by the Portland Public Schools Food Security Task Force. The task force was launched last year by the Portland Public Schools and Cumberland County Food Security Council and is “united in the belief that food fuels learning and all students have the right to nutritious food that allows them to attain their full potential,” the release says.

Donations will be used to pay off school lunch balances; buy food for school pantries; and support school gardens, nutrition education and school celebrations of local food. To donate, write a check to the Foundation for Portland Public Schools, indicating “PPS Food Fund” in the memo line. Send checks to 353 Cumberland Ave., Portland, Attn: Executive Director Kate Snyder.

— Staff and media partners report

Meredith Goad will return to writing The Wrap next week.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.