Greg Mitchell, co-owner of the nationally praised Palace Diner in Biddeford, has leased the former Bolster, Snow & Co. restaurant space in The Francis, a boutique hotel at 747 Congress St. in Portland. He plans to open a restaurant there in May.

Mitchell was not yet ready to divulge the name of his new restaurant, nor what kind of food it will serve, though he admitted he has a concept in mind. He did say he would be redesigning the interior, and that he’ll release more information in February.

Despite excellent reviews, Bolster, Snow closed in November after a short run of just over a year. Its chef, Nick Verdisco, said at the time that the restaurant struggled to attract diners on weeknights, and was difficult for potential customers to find because of poor signage and other factors.

Mitchell said the nature of the relationship between the hotel and restaurant has changed, so those things won’t be issues for him. Bolster, Snow, he said, “was affiliated with the hotel, and this isn’t going to be. That’s kind of an important detail.” Instead, Mitchell will be a “restaurant tenant,” operating entirely independently of the hotel.

To enter Bolster, Snow, guests had to walk through the hotel, but the new restaurant “will have its own unique identity, its own unique entrance,” Mitchell said. “And I’m hoping that my reputation will generate a little bit of buzz to get things rolling.”

The Francis is owned by Nate and Tony DeLois, two brothers who grew up in Yarmouth and renovated the building extensively before opening their hotel. The building is on the National Park Service’s Registry of Historic Places, and is located across the street from the popular Tandem Coffee + Bakery.

“I think it’s in a great location,” Mitchell said. “It’s in a beautiful building.”

Mitchell owns the Palace Diner with Chad Conley, who in 2017 opened Rose Foods, a modern Jewish deli in Portland.

“We’re both still involved in Palace,” Mitchell said, “but we’ve got a really great team in place right now, which is allowing us both to have a little space for new projects.”

Mitchell said he’d been searching for a new restaurant project for about a year before he signed on at The Francis. “Even with the Palace reputation, I was still struggling to find a place,” he said.

Mitchell and Conley had been approached before by Tony DeLois, but the timing had never previously worked out, Mitchell said. “There’s a good working relationship already,” Mitchell said. “They’re excited to have me, and I’m excited to be here.”


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