Evan Richardson, chef/owner of Eaux in Portland, is planning to open a small cafe in the food neighborhood that’s developing in the Knightville neighborhood of South Portland.

Richardson closed Eaux temporarily in November while he searches for a new location for the New Orleans-style restaurant. Meanwhile, he hopes to open Cafe Louis at 173 Ocean St. in March. The new project, he said, is a creative outlet that will allow him to provide work for his employees and introduce his culture to the Portland-area food scene. Cafe Louis will focus on breakfast and lunch to start, then add dinner on weekends.

“My family is Costa Rican and Honduran,” Richardson said, “and there’s something really beautiful about a breakfast in Costa Rica.”

Costa Rican breakfasts typically feature rice and beans, eggs, and other simple proteins, he said. “Obviously we’re going to add our personality to it,” Richardson said. “We’re going to find the Maine parallel for that cuisine. It’s a big seafood culture with lots of fresh produce. It will be a lot of light, clean fresh food, and we’ll be baking a lot.”

The restaurant will seat about 40 people and include an open kitchen and bar.

Why is it called Cafe Louis? Well, there’s the whole Louisiana thing, and Louis Armstrong, but Louis is also the name of Richardson’s dog, a mutt he rescued from Alabama. “Louis is just a constant in my life,” he said.

Premier seafood market reopens

Browne Trading Market in Portland reopened this week after nearly being destroyed by a three-alarm fire in April. (The firefighters, bless their hearts, were able to save $250,000 worth of fine caviar.)

The renovated specialty seafood market, at 262 Commercial St., is “essentially identical” to the old market, according to Staci Best, the company’s marketing director. In normal times, the shop carries a wide variety of gourmet foods and wines, but product is limited right now thanks in part to limited inventory and shipping delays. (One new product on the shelves: Mumbai to Maine simmer sauces created by midcoast resident Cherie Scott.) The fish case, however, is fully stocked for all your Christmas dinner needs.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Curbside pickup is available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The new Batson River Brewing & Distilling in Portland includes a black-and-white exterior mural by Hugh McCormick Design Co. Photo by Navadise Media

More beer

Batson River Brewing & Distilling opened its second location Friday, this one at 82 Hanover St. in Portland.

The new Batson River is located in an old Portland Public Works building that has been covered in a black-and-white mural by Portland artist Hugh McCormick. The 9,000-square-foot space has 18-foot ceilings and features two full bars, a large fireplace, a wood-fired pizza oven, and spaces for indoor games and live music.

Tucker Creveling is the executive chef, and Amy Caramante, formerly of Big Tree Hospitality, is the food-and-beverage director. Jon Quade is the head distiller.

Hours will be 4-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Both dine-in and takeout are available.

The original Batson River Brewing & Distilling opened in Kennebunk in 2018.

Joseph’s by the Sea sold

A well-known Old Orchard Beach restaurant has changed hands, but the previous owners say employees and customers shouldn’t see any major changes when the business reopens for the season in March.

After 52 years in business, the Dussault family has sold Joseph’s by the Sea, at 55 West Grand Ave., to Scott and Barbara McCrum, according to a message that was posted Sunday on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“This has been a bittersweet moment for us,” the owners wrote. “We want to acknowledge our staff; you have all become family over the years. The selling of our restaurant will not change that. We thank you for the hard work, dedication and loyalty.”

Joseph’s owners also assured customers that the name will not change and staff will be retained. The restaurant was founded by Joseph Dussault – who died in 2012 at the age of 89 – in a building that was once a private coastal home. Its most recent owners were his three siblings, Paul Dussault (who was also the chef), Louise Lesperance, and Helene Dussault-Paulik.

Five-course tasting menu for New Year’s – to go

Matt Ginn, chef at Evo Kitchen & Bar, is reuniting with an old friend and mentor, Colin Wyatt, to create a takeout New Year’s Eve dinner.

Wyatt worked with Ginn at Five Fifty-Five in Portland before moving on to become executive sous chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York. The chefs’ extravagant five-course tasting menu, which costs $130 per person, includes caviar, Maine scallops, black truffle lobster lasagna, braised short rib, petit fours, dessert and a celebratory toast. (For the complete menu, go to evoportland.com.)

Stay in your Chipotlane, buster

I don’t usually write about chains in this column, but this is worth noting: Chipotle Mexican Grill opened a restaurant in Auburn last Wednesday, and it has the first “Chipotlane” in Maine — a drive-thru where customers can pick up online orders from their car.

The restaurant, located at 410 Center St., will be open daily from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Drive-thru veggies

The Bath Farmers Market has launched an online store with an outdoor pickup window, making it easier than ever to eat well while supporting local farmers. Juliana Hoffman, the online store coordinator, said she believes the Bath market is the only one in the state offering an online preorder and pickup service.

The market moved inside to its winter location, the Bath Freight Shed at 27 Commercial Street, on Dec. 5 and started the online market the following week. Only 17 shoppers are allowed in the market at one time, making the preordering option especially convenient. The link to the online market can be found on the market’s website, bathfarmersmarket.com. At checkout, each vendor is paid separately – just like at the traditional farmers market. Credit cards are processed online, while checks and SNAP benefits are paid upon pickup. But leave your cash at home – vendors will not accept cash for pickup orders.

This Saturday’s market is canceled because of the holiday weekend, but the market will be open Wednesday. The outdoor pickup window hours for Wednesday, and on Saturdays through the rest of winter, are 10 a.m. to noon.

Something new brewing at Thompson’s Point

Rwanda Bean is to open its third location, this one at Thompson’s Point, in the Brick North building next to Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

The coffee company, which also has shops on Stevens Avenue in Portland and Cottage Road in South Portland, will move its roasting and production to the new location and offer retail sales, coffee education and tasting events there as well.

Rwanda Bean, founded by Mike Mwenedata in 2013, returns 50 percent of its profits to Rwandan coffee farmers, and helps provide healthcare to 800 farmers and their families. The company has also assisted in the construction of a children’s education center in Rwanda.

Igloos for holiday dining at the Kennebunkport Inn. Photo by David Dostie

What’s on the menu in a gingerbread house?

A gingerbread house at The Boathouse restaurant in Kennebunkport. Heidi Kirn Photography

The Boathouse Restaurant in Kennebunkport and The Burleigh at the Kennebunkport Inn have infused their outdoor dining options with festive spirit for the holidays. At The Boathouse, heated gingerbread houses decorated with Christmas trees and icicle lights offer a cozy spot to enjoy an all-day happy hour on Sundays and $1 oysters and $6 martinis on Wednesdays through Jan 3.

The Kennebunkport Inn has installed three igloos where you can dine on snacks and sweets and enjoy a glass of Hallmark wine (yes, that Hallmark) while dreaming of leaving your high-paying corporate job in the city for your rural hometown, where you will start your own boutique bakery to help save your family’s struggling farm and fall back in love with your high school sweetheart, who has no visible means of support. And, oh yes, there are also fire pits and a curling rink. Runs through Saturday.

This bar will get you high

The Top of the East Lounge at the Westin Portland Harborview hotel is the place locals love to take out-of-state visitors for a drink and a bird’s-eye view of the city. My nephew happened to be in town on a milestone birthday a few years back, and I took him to the rooftop bar for cocktails and stunning views of Casco Bay, Portland, and the White Mountains.

Now the Westin has announced the Top of the East will undergo a major renovation in 2021 to “refresh” the interior space and add 2,200 square feet of outdoor dining. The hotel expects to start construction in the second quarter of 2021 and reopen the bar later in the year.

Mainers helping Mainers

Customers at Congdon’s in Wells donated 10 times the number of toys this year to the restaurant’s Giving Tree. Photo courtesy of Congdon’s

Throughout the pandemic, Congdon’s Family Restaurant and Bakery in Wells has been asking its customers to donate to Mainers in need. Now the end-of-the-year tally is in, and it is impressive: Congdon’s owner, Gary Leech, estimates that more than $50,000 was raised over the past few months, and thousands of dollars more in groceries, toilet paper, toys and clothing donations.

The most recent fundraiser, a turkey “stewfest” on Dec. 16, raised more than $10,000 for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. In May, a Chowderfest fundraiser brought in more than $30,000. The Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation and local Masonic Lodges assisted in the events and donated a portion of the money.

And finally, Congdon’s “Giving Tree” broke previous records by collecting hundreds of toys, baby clothes and diapers since Black Friday – 10 times as many as in previous years, Leech estimated.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed an item to this column.










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