Maria’s Restaurant in Portland and Yankee Ford Sales in South Portland are teaming up to feed out-of-work food service workers a free take-out meal Friday at the restaurant’s new location, 1335 Congress Street.

The first 100 food service employees who show up between 1 and 4 p.m. will get a meal of pasta, meatballs, salad and bread. You must show a pay stub to receive the meal.

Yankee Ford is owned by Bob Esposito, who used to own Espo’s Trattoria. Last year, he sold the Espo’s to Maria’s, which was looking to move from its Cumberland Avenue location.

Tony Napolitano, owner of Maria’s, said he’ll have people on hand to help with social distancing in the parking lot Friday in case too many people show up at once. Napolitano also said he recently gave $20 gift certificates to Maria’s to every employee of Mercy Hospital, about 1,500 people.

Doughnut shop closes
Congdon’s Doughnuts in Wells sold its last honey dip over the weekend. It is now closed “until the coronavirus pandemic has subsided,” owner Gary Leech announced in a statement. “It has become clear that despite the enhanced sanitation and safety practices we have implemented, every interaction with another person presents risk to our staff,” the statement said.

The doughnut shop’s customers had been showing overwhelming support to the business, with more than 3,500 vehicles going through the drive-thru during the past few weeks, sometimes in lines 40 cars long. Customers donated homemade face masks for health care workers at the drive-thru, as well as toilet paper rolls for the needy.

As long as you’re baking….
We already know that Mainers are trying to bake away their anxiety. For some real comfort, how’d you like to know how to make the incredible biscuits from Tandem Bakery in Portland – and do good at the same time?

The bakery closed on March 14. To help its staff financially, Tandem is offering for sale the recipe to baker Briana Holt’s popular biscuits. Pay at least $5 online – there are also buttons for $10 and $20 should you wish to donate more – and you’ll be sent an email with a link to the recipe and a play-by-play video of Holt’s instructions. Any “biscuit bucks” raised will directly benefit the Tandem staff.

To get the recipe, go to tandemcoffee.com.

Clean hands

Matt Page, co-owner of Split Rock Distilling in Newcastle, making hand sanitizer. Photo courtesy of Split Rock Distilling

Split Rock Distilling in Newcastle is the latest distiller to start making hand sanitizer.
The distillery is prioritizing making sanitizer for health care workers and the service industry, but a portion of each batch will be made available to the public. A 16-ounce bottle costs $9. To have a bottle shipped, buy it through royalrosesyrups.com; for curbside pick-up on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, purchase it through splitrockdistilling.com.

Virtual wine expert

Sommelier Erica Archer, owner of Wine Wise, is teaming up with local restaurants to offer virtual wine dinners-for-two in the Greater Portland area. The first two dinners, including one Friday with Sur Lie and one Sunday with Solo Italiano, have already sold out. During the dinners, Archer will talk about the wines and take questions and comments from diners.

The price varies, depending upon the event and the wines served, but includes food, wine, tax, gratuity and delivery. The Solo Italiano dinner, for example, costs $120 (note that’s dinner for two, and includes two bottles of wine), while the Sur Lie dinner costs $134. Archer says they can also accommodate single diners at a lower price, or larger parties for a higher price. A dinner featuring food from Chaval is planned for mid-April.

The food and wine are delivered to your home one to two hours before the start of the dinners, which will be held via the Zoom app.

Watch for upcoming dinners on winewiseevents.com.


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