A new restaurant called Noodle Love is coming to 658 Congress St. in Portland. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

The Portland area is about to get a few new places to eat and drink, but this restaurant may have the best name of them all: Noodle Love.

The sign has been up for a couple of months at 658 Congress St., but no word yet on who owns the business or when it’s opening. There’s a Noodle Love in New York City, but it follows that horrible marketing practice of running the two words together: Noodlelove.

The new restaurant is taking over the space that once belonged to Poke Pop, which Anusat Limsitong, the owner of Thai 9 Restaurant in Scarborough, opened in summer 2018.

Cocktail Mary now open

Cocktail Mary, the new cocktail bar at 229 Congress St. in Portland, had a soft opening last week. Owner Isaac MacDougal says the bar will reopen to the public Wednesday through Saturday this week. Regular hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

The East End bar, located in the former Ramen Suzukiya space, is the first cocktail bar in that Portland neighborhood. MacDougal, the former head bartender at Izakaya Minato on Washington Avenue, has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City. His family once ran the old Vaughan Street Variety sandwich shop in the city’s West End.

Bubble up enthusiasm for a new bubble tea shop opening today

This community table made from sustainably harvested wood will be a feature at Uncharted Tea, a new bubble tea shop on Congress Street.

Uncharted Tea, a new bubble tea shop, opens Wednesday at 662 Congress St., near Longfellow Square. Owners Emma Vonderheide and Michael Bowser say their hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The space has been renovated to include a 22-foot copper counter top and a beautiful 9 1/2-foot-long, 4 1/2-foot-wide community table made of a giant slab of Parota, a fast-growing, sustainably harvested tree grown in Mexico and Central America. The tea shop will use compostable cups, straws, plates and containers.

South Portland also scores a new restaurant (‘YOU get a restaurant, and YOU get a restaurant …’)

Matt Moran, co-owner of the Portland restaurants Nosh and Slab, confirmed that he is taking over the lease at 501 Cottage Road in South Portland, the former location of the Terra Cotta Pasta Co.

Moran said he plans to open a family-friendly, fast-casual neighborhood restaurant there, using products from local businesses such as Terra Cotta and nearby Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill. He said he’ll be taking over the lease Jan. 1 and plans to open in spring. He hasn’t decided on a name yet because he wants to research the history of the building and neighborhood first.

Batson River coming to Portland

The owners of Batson River Brewing & Distilling in Kennebunk have leased space at 82 Hanover St. in Portland, where they plan to open a full bar and tasting room in late spring called the Batson River Social Club. The original Batson River Tasting Room opened in Kennebunk in November last year.

The new Portland location will be double the size of the Kennebunk tasting room and also have a “more robust” food menu, according to the owners, as well as additional space for indoor games and activities and a retail store.

Batson River grows its own hops and botanicals on a Kennebunkport farm, and donates 4 percent of its annual profits to animal shelters in Maine. The business was founded by Matt Dyer, Tim Harrington and Kevin Lord.

Little Giant sold

Briana and Andrew Volk announced last week that they’ve sold their shares in Little Giant, their restaurant on Portland’s West End, to their business partners, Ian and Kate Malin. The Volks still own the Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, a bar on Market Street in the Old Port.

You say, ‘potato’

Last year around Thanksgiving, Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg started selling its Cold River Gold potato to the public for the first time. This year, the farm is introducing a new potato to Maine – the Queen Anne, which will be available this weekend at Hannaford.

Most yellow potatoes are round, but the Queen Anne is oblong, making it easy to peel and cut into fries. It will be sold under a new label called Farmer’s First.

Others! – the coffee shop with an exclamation point – has closed

Others!, the coffee shop at 15 Monument Square known for serving fair trade coffee before that was a thing and for making its own gelato, has permanently closed. Brad McCurtain, the owner, said it is only the retail operation that is closing. The wholesale and roasting side of the business, which he said is “the biggest and most meaningful part,” remains. McCurtain is also still running his principal business, Maine Securities Corp.

Juice bar closes

The owners of Portland Pulp, a smoothie and juice bar at 116 Free St., announced on Facebook last Thursday that they have closed the business permanently. It opened in July 2017.

The owners of 21 Taps, a pub and wood-fired grill at 185 Route 1 in Scarborough, have also listed their business on Facebook as permanently closed. The restaurant opened a little over a year ago.

Mainers, historically, love a good happy hour

The Pejepscot Historical Society is hosting a History Happy Hour at the Brunswick Inn from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday night to honor the late Maine food columnist and cookbook author Marjorie Standish. Writer Julie-Ann Baumer, a member of the historical society, will give a presentation about Standish. A recipe contest will follow. (We received the news about this event too late for our readers to enter the contest, but you can enjoy sampling the entries after they’ve been judged.) Admission is $15, and since it’s a happy hour event, there will be a cash bar.

Miracle on Fore Street

Vena’s Fizz House, 345 Fore St., is  participating in the nationwide holiday pop-up bar extravaganza known as Miracle. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, more than 100 bars around the globe transform themselves into Christmas- and Hannukkah-themed pop-ups with nostalgic holiday decor, serving specialty cocktails such as the Run Run Rudolph, the Bad Santa, the SanTaRex Likes Milk & Cookies, and the Christmapolitan in funky mugs and glassware. Vena’s Fizz House is the only bar in Maine that plans to participate.

The holiday mugs and glassware will be for sale, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Action Against Hunger.

Correction: Because of incorrect information given to the Press Herald about Miracle, this story was updated at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019 with updated information. 

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