Is anyone else tired of Red’s Dairy Freeze in South Portland getting all the springtime opening love?

Sure, it’s a great little ice cream shack with lots of history. But it’s not the only sign of spring that will give you brain freeze. Lib’s Dairy Treats in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood also opened last week and is celebrating its 50th year. Lib’s is marking the milestone by adding six new flavors of Gifford’s hard-serve ice cream; selling 50th anniversary T-shirts; and offering Dole Whip non-dairy soft serve, presumably for those of you who are vegan or lactose intolerant.

Lib’s launched the season with its peanut butter soft serve and Dole’s strawberry flavor. “Make this a twist,” the owners advised on their Facebook page, “and you basically have a PB&J Sandwich.”

But wait, there’s more. Gifford’s plans to open its five locations Friday, and says it will continue the tradition of giving out free small cones that day at all of its stands – Skowhegan, Bangor, Waterville, Auburn and Farmington. The company is launching seven new flavors this year, including one in collaboration with Aroma Joe’s; Aroma Joe’s PB Mocha is made with the coffee company’s cold brew blend and Gifford’s chocolate ice cream rippled with peanut butter and studded with chocolate chips.

Last, but not least, this is for you, DQ fans: participating Dairy Queens will give away a free small vanilla soft-serve cone on March 20.

If ice cream is not your thing, well, Thursday is National Pi Day. (March 14 or 3.14, get it?)

Locally, Two Fat Cats in Portland and South Portland plans to sell large pies, mini pies and hand pies decorated with the math symbol π.

ABIERTO!

Bird & Co., a Mexican restaurant at 539 Deering Ave., quietly opened Tuesday and plans to hold its grand opening in one week, on March 19.

The restaurant – a taco shop and bar – is located in the Woodfords Corner spot previously occupied by Abilene and Uncle Billy’s BBQ, next door to Bayou Kitchen. Co-owner Jared Dinsmore said Tuesday that, in addition to traditional Mexican tacos, Bird & Co. will serve tuna poke tacos, pork belly tacos, duck tacos and Vietnamese banh mi tacos. The menu also includes two salads that will rotate seasonally, a selection of local craft beers, a short wine list and cocktails.

The interior has been renovated, and the bar is now “completely unrecognizable,” Dinsmore said, from its previous incarnation. It has space for 42 diners, including 25 spots for bar or “untraditional” seating – a counter for two, and a four-person standing bar.

The hours to start will be 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Dinsmore said he hopes to launch a weekend brunch in a month or so, serving breakfast tacos, huevos rancheros and breakfast cocktails. Eventually, he said, the restaurant will be open for weekday lunch.

ADA’S EXPANDS

Ada’s Kitchen, a Rockland restaurant that serves handmade pizzas and pasta, is planning a second, smaller location in Portland at 642 Congress St., in between The Jewel Box and the Sagamore Hill lounge.

“It’s a slightly different concept, ” said Jenn Rockwell, who opened the Rockland location in November 2017. “It will be Roman-style pizza and fresh pasta. And our (Portland) concept will be a much more casual vibe. We’ll have an area where we’ll be selling our fresh pasta retail, as well.”

The housemade pasta will also be sold wholesale to other restaurants, grocery stores and other outlets, she added.

Rockwell said she wants the Portland restaurant to be “quick, easy and affordable.” Unlike the Rockland Ada’s, which has a full bar and lounge, the Portland restaurant will serve only wine and beer on tap, she said.

Rockwell also owns Main Street Markets in Rockland.

The chef at Ada’s Kitchen in Portland will be Siddharta Rumma, who helped open the Rockland location and once worked at Trattoria Fanny, an Italian restaurant owned by Portland restaurateur David Levi that closed in 2017.

COCKTAIL COMPETITION WITH A TWIST

Sylvi Roy, a bartender at the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, won the regional Speed Rack Northeast competition Monday in Boston. She moves on to the national competition in New York City in May.

Speed Rack, according to its website, is a national cocktail competition featuring top female bartenders in key cocktail markets. They compete in a round robin-style timed and judged challenges. All proceeds from the event go to breast cancer education, prevention and research.

RESTAURANT WEEK, REDUX

If you just couldn’t get enough of Maine Restaurant Week in Portland, head down to Biddeford and Saco March 17-24, when those two cities hold their own version.

Biddeford and Saco have been holding their own Restaurant Week since 2014. The week will be filled with specials and special events at restaurants and other businesses. For example, Reilly’s Bakery, a Biddeford favorite, plans to give away a free doughnut with each cup of coffee sold. Or buy one 12-ounce coffee, and get a second one free at Maine Coast Roast, also in Biddeford. At the Hamburger Stand in Biddeford, you’ll pay $5 for a cheeseburger and cup of fries. Lucky Loggers in Saco will be offering that same deal from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 18-21.

Diners can pick up an entry form at any participating restaurant during the week for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant of their choice.

And the Community Soup-er will be returning this year from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Pepperell Center, 40 Main St. Local restaurants donate soups, rolls, bagels and biscuits to the event. A $10 ticket buys two servings of soup and breads, and a ceramic bowl made by Biddeford Middle School students. Tickets are available at the door, but organizers of the event suggest buying them ahead of time on EventBrite. (Families of four get a special rate of $25.) All proceeds will be donated to the Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center.

For more details or updates, visit the Eat Biddeford + Saco or the Saco Main Street Facebook pages.

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.