Two words: pie buffet.

Two Fat Cats will host a pie-tasting buffet at both of the bakery’s locations next Tuesday and Wednesday to celebrate National Pie Day. Customers can choose three different “taster slices” for $6.50, which comes with a cup of locally roasted coffee. The mouth-watering choices will make you want to mark your calendar for this one: Banana–Rum Brulee, Ultimate Peanut Butter, Maine Wild Blueberry, Blackberry-Mango, Rice Pudding Pie with Fruit Compote, Caramel Apple, Maple–Raspberry Custard, Tarte Au Sucre, Sour Cherry, Ginger Pear and Black & Blue.

The bakery’s celebration will continue all week, beginning Friday and running through Jan. 25. Between the 18th and 25th, customers who place shipping orders for pies will get a $10 discount. Or sign up for a pie-baking class at the South Portland location, at 740 Broadway. Classes run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and cost $50. Call 536-7713 to register. The original Two Fat Cats is on India Street in Portland.

If you’ve ever wondered, like I have, why National Pie Day is held Jan. 23, Stacy Begin, owner of Two Fat Cats, explains. Apparently it was started in the mid-1970s by Charlie Papazian, a nuclear engineer, brewer and teacher. He chose his own birthday for the celebration, and presumably had birthday pie, instead of birthday cake, from that point on.

INAUGURAL BREW

Maybe you went to Gov. Janet Mills’ inauguration and thought, “Dang, that’s some good coffee.” Or maybe you’re just a fan of the new guv.

Either way, you can now buy the coffee that was served at the inaugural festivities and enjoy it at home. Coffee By Design created the Inaugural Blend and is now selling it at all of its coffee shops. The company will donate $1 from each pound sold (it costs $16.50 per pound) to the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center. The medium roast is a blend of French roasted coffee from South America, Italian roasted coffee from Asia, and light roasted, washed coffees from Colombia.

In other company news, Coffee By Design is closing its coffeehouse at 43 Washington Ave. in Portland. The company announced the decision in a Facebook post to its customers late Monday.

Company founders and co-owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear said that they sold the building last year to Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh, owners of Duckfat, a restaurant at 43 Middle St. in Portland, and “after months of careful review” have decided not to renew the coffee shop’s lease. The Washington Avenue location opened in 2005. Pugh and Evans opened a take-out Friteshack in the Washington Avenue building in June, to sell the restaurant’s famous Belgian fries, as well as milkshakes and craft sodas.

“We look forward to seeing what they choose to do, which will surely add to this already wonderful neighborhood,” Lindemann and Spear wrote. “In the meantime, Coffee By Design at Washington Avenue will continue as usual, with the final day of business February 28, 2019.”

Rob Evans could not immediately be reached for comment about his plans for the space.

Employees will be offered positions at other Coffee By Design locations on India Street, Diamond Street and Congress Street in Portland, and at the Freeport store in L.L. Bean. The Diamond Street coffee house is just a few blocks from the Washington Avenue and India Street locations. When the Diamond Street location opened about five years ago, it took over the roasting operation that had been housed on Washington Street, quadrupling the company’s roasting capacity from 500,000 pounds a year to 2 million pounds a year.

The first Coffee By Design coffee house opened in 1994 on Congress Street in Portland.

CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS

Cole Farms, the popular family restaurant in Gray, has announced it will close Tuesday for eight weeks to renovate the building’s interior and redesign the kitchen. The restaurant is expected to reopen in mid-March.

Owner Bradley Pollard noted that parts of the building are more than 60 years old and need to be updated, as does the building’s infrastructure. A new brick oven in the kitchen will allow the restaurant to add brick oven pizza to the menu. Pollard said he also intends to install a small market on the first floor that will carry local foods, craft beer, wine and spirits.

SCALING BACK

The South Portland and Scarborough locations of Mainely Wraps have closed. The last day of operation for the stores was Jan. 11.

The owners of the business announced on Facebook that they’ve closed to focus on their sandwich shop at 431 Congress St. in Portland.

“With the four locations and over 55 employees in the past year, we acknowledge that the quality and attention to detail has suffered,” wrote Naphtali Maynard, who owns the shops with her husband, Rich. “Some of you have had poor customer service experiences, there hasn’t been consistency. Some of you have spoken up, many of you haven’t, but the truth is we are physically, emotionally and financially unable to continue to run our three stores in such a manner. We want Mainely Wraps to be the special place that it was before we began expanding.”

A second South Portland Mainely Wraps, located at The Point, a megachurch and community center at 345 Clarks Pond Parkway, closed just before Labor Day. In a phone interview, Naphtali Maynard said the shop at The Point had not performed as well as they’d hoped.

During the past year, Maynard said that she and her husband had been using their personal savings to keep the sandwich shops open. Recently, after a piece of equipment broke and had to be replaced by dipping into their savings once again, they decided instead to pull back.

The Maynards have three children now, fostered and adopted, and managing both the shops and their growing family had become a struggle, with 14-hour workdays, six days a week the norm.

Only one employee has not yet been able to find a new job, she said.

Several Mainely Wraps delivery drivers will still deliver catering throughout the Portland area, and gift cards and Groupons will be honored at the Portland store, Maynard said.

NATIONAL RECOGNITIONS

Four Maine companies won a total of six Good Food Awards in San Francisco last Friday night.

The awards, given annually to independent food producers who meet certain environmental and agricultural sustainability standards, were presented at a 1,000-person gala at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center. Famed American chef and restaurateur Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, hosted the ceremony.

A Small Good in Rockport, which cures meat from pasture-raised hogs, won in the charcuterie category for its brined coppa.

David Buchanan, owner of Portersfield Orchards in Pownal, was recognized in the cider category for his artisan cider made from American heritage apples.

In the coffee category, Bard Coffee in Portland won for its Organic Costa Rica La Mirella.

Liquid Riot, a Portland brewery and distillery, took home three awards. It won in the spirits category, for Liquid Riot Old Port Straight Bourbon Whiskey and for Fernet Michaud, a drinking bitter. Its third recognition was for Liquid Riot’s Blushing Star Barrel Aged Lager, an American pilsner that incorporates Maine-grown peaches.

ABE AND MERTON

Quick, when is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday?

Nope, it’s not Feb. 18, which is President’s Day – the best day of the year to buy a car or a mattress, if holiday commercials are to be believed. Honest Abe actually came into the world on Feb. 12. But you can celebrate this year on Feb. 9 (snow date Feb. 10) when the Lincoln Club holds its 134th Annual Lincoln Dinner at the Italian Heritage Center on Outer Congress Street in Portland. This year, the dinner is dedicated to the late Merton Henry, a prominent Maine Republican, attorney and Bowdoin College alumnus who died last spring. The guest speaker will be Jean Yarbrough, a senior professor of social science at Bowdoin College.

The dinner begins with a cocktail hour/cash bar at 6 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $35. For tickets or more information, contact Jim Nicholas at 767-3030, Steve Scharf at 415-4662, or Barbara Harvey at 837-2400. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad


Comments are not available on this story.

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.