Mariagrazia Zanardi works on a batch of panna cotta gelato at Gorgeous Gelato in the Old Port. Zanardi trained in the art of gelato-making at the Italian School of Gelato. Staff photo

Boston first got a taste of Portland when the owners of Otto Pizza, Eventide Oyster Co. and Mainely Burgers expanded their businesses in the city. Next up? Gelato.

In October, Mariagrazia Zanardi and Donato Giovine, owners of Gorgeous Gelato at 434 Fore St., announced they were moving production to a kitchen on Union Wharf to make way for more gelato machines and to create a more efficient production layout.

Now we know why they really needed those extra machines. The couple announced on Facebook last week that they are opening a second location in Boston, at the 20,000-square-foot High Street Place Food Hall opening this winter at 100 High St. The new, 500-seat food hall – one of several in development in Boston – will feature a five-story atrium and be home to 20-plus food stalls.

Gorgeous Gelato will continue to be made in Portland, the Giovines said, and it will be business as usual at the Fore Street shop.

Flatbread Co. closing for renovations

After two decades on the Portland waterfront, Flatbread Co. will close for eight to 12 weeks beginning Jan. 13 for much-needed renovations.


The renovations will be mostly structural, according to General Manager Thomas Cancelliere, and will address issues that come with the restaurant’s waterfront location. Some equipment will also be updated, and the interior will be refreshed. No re-opening date has been set because progress will depend on the weather and other factors. Flatbread’s 70 employees will be given three weeks’ paid leave, Cancelliere said, and the company will be scheduling employee training and special classes during the renovations. Employees will also be given the opportunity to fill in as needed at other nearby Flatbread locations, including in Rockport, North Conway and Portsmouth, he said.

Flatbread will celebrate its 20th anniversary June 15. Look for special events and promotions as the date draws near, Cancelliere said.

New chef at Sur Lie

Sur Lie, a tapas-style restaurant on Free Street in Portland, has a new executive chef. Derek Davis/Staff photo

Krista Cole and Tony Alviar, owners of Sur Lie, have announced they’ve hired a new executive chef to replace Emil Rivera, who is leaving the tapas-style restaurant at 11 Free St. in Portland after five years.

Jef Wright, who helped open The Garrison in Yarmouth as sous chef, will step into Rivera’s position Dec. 21, Cole said. Originally from central Florida, Wright is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy and has worked with Richard Blais, former Top Chef winner, in Atlanta, where he used molecular gastronomy to re-imagine traditional Southern dishes. He has also worked in Philadelphia and New York. Wright moved to Maine eight years ago to help his wife run her family business, Pinetree Garden Seeds in New Gloucester. He returned to the kitchen when he joined the team at The Garrison.

New SoPo restaurant


Chef Chris Wilcox is opening his own restaurant early next year at 171 Ocean St. in South Portland, the former home of Teriyaki Exchange.

Wilcox was the chef de cuisine at Eventide Oyster Co. and former executive chef at Velveteen Habit, a highly regarded but short-lived restaurant in Ogunquit. His restaurant will be called Judy Gibson, after his grandmothers, and serve contemporary American food. It will be casual but not too casual, by which he means no burgers. “We’re really trying to make it feel like your local neighborhood restaurant that serves food that you’re not expecting in a tiny neighborhood restaurant,” he said.

Judy Gibson will be small – just 30 seats, including seats at the bar and at the open kitchen counter – and have a “very small” menu, Wilcox said.

Wilcox searched for about a year, all over the Portland peninsula, for the perfect spot. Two places he liked fell through. After he saw the Teriyaki Exchange space, he spoke with South Portland restaurateurs and diners and decided it could work, although he’d had his heart set on Portland. The fact that the Knightville neighborhood has plenty of parking, he said, was “a huge, huge selling point.”

Wilcox plans to hold three pop-up dinners at Hugo’s on Jan. 2, 3 and 4 to introduce dishes from the Judy Gibson menu. Watch for details on the restaurant’s Instagram page @judygibson_maine.

Wilcox hopes to have Judy Gibson open by early February.


Sizzle and slurp

Kim Lully and Sunny Chung, owners of Yobo, the homey Korean restaurant at 23 Forest Ave. in Portland, are teaming up with another couple to open a classic steak house and oyster bar in Brunswick.

Maine St. Steak & Oyster at 148 Maine St., which will have 38 seats, will serve all local beef and, of course, Maine oysters. Lully points out that Merepoint oysters are harvested “literally less than three miles from the restaurant.”

“This one will be a little more reminiscent of the restaurant we had in New Hampshire – a little higher end than Yobo, a little more traditional,” Lully said.

Their partners in the project are Tony Pastor, who is the sous chef at Scales in Portland, and Sarabeth Gabrielson, who has worked at Portland restaurants Central Provisions and Tipo and is now at Fire & Co.

Yobo has already scaled back service to three nights a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – so Lully and Chung can spend the rest of their week this winter helping Pastor and Gabrielson run Maine St. Steak & Oyster. The new restaurant will be open for dinner only, five to six nights per week. Look for it to open in mid-January.


Plant-based Portland

Copper Branch, the newest plant-based restaurant in Portland (90 percent vegan), is scheduled to open Wednesday in the round building at 1 Canal Plaza in the Old Port, according to the chain’s corporate spokesman. (Hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.) At the same time, a review released Friday by ranks Portland among the top 10 vegan-friendly cities in the U.S. The website looked at metro areas with more than 100,000 residents and ranked them based on the number of vegan restaurants per resident. Portland clocked in at No. 6, with 19 vegan restaurants per 100,000 residents. In addition to The Green Elephant, the website listed Otto, for example, because it offers vegan cheese substitutes. If that’s their standard, Portland could probably have ranked much higher, given how many restaurants here offer vegan options.

No. 1 on the list was Sarasota, Florida, and No. 10 was Salt Lake City. The website also looked at the cities with the most overall vegan restaurants. Chicago ranked No. 1 on that list.

Learn to cook with David Levi

David Levi, chef/owner of Vinland at 593 Congress St., has decided to resurrect cooking classes at his restaurant next year. He’s planning 20 classes, with a maximum of 20 people per class. The classes will be held Sunday afternoons, January through May, and will include natural wine and Vinland snacks. The classes cost $65 each, or $595 for 10 classes or $995 for all 20.

The classes launch Jan. 5 with a session on cooking vegetables. Other topics include Wild Ferments Part 1: Kraut, Kimchee, and Salt-Cured Mushrooms (Feb. 9); Sous Vide Cooking (April 12); Beef Butchery (May 10); and Wild Foods of Spring (May 31).

Levi says he’ll post the full list of classes on the Vinland Facebook page.

Comments are not available on this story.