The Portland Food Co-op at 290 Congress St. will be closed through Sunday because a second staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, the store’s general manager said in an email sent out to customers Monday.

The store had initially closed last week after an employee tested positive on Jan. 3. The rest of the workers were tested, and the store was sanitized before reopening Thursday afternoon. A second employee tested positive Sunday, prompting another closure. This time the store will remain closed through Jan. 17, general manager John Crane said. The store has shut down its curbside service during this closure as well.

“During this time, we are requiring all staff members to receive PCR COVID-19 tests before returning to work,” Crane wrote. “These tests are the most accurate available, and are able to detect the virus within days of infection, even among those who have no symptoms. The Co-op will be covering the costs of these COVID-19 tests for all employees, as well as paying our staff for any missed hours. Additionally, we will also be thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the store again.”

The Good Table restaurant at 527 Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth will reopen at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after temporarily closing so employees could be tested for COVID-19.

The restaurant temporarily shut its doors Thursday, a day after owner Lisa Kostopoulos discovered an employee had been exposed to the coronavirus, so that the entire staff could be tested. Kostopoulos informed customers in an email Saturday that all employees have tested negative.

The Public Market House at 28 Monument Square in Portland reopened Monday after being closed for a couple of days because someone who last worked there Jan. 6 had tested positive for COVID-19.

Chef Jordan Rubin, owner of Mr. Tuna, said the employee had been working alone during a pop-up event for Crispy Gai, a fried chicken takeout-only restaurant that Rubin and a partner opened in November. The entire market was closed down while employees were tested “as a cautionary thing,” he said. All tests came back negative. The market also went through a deep cleaning, Rubin said.

The market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

64 Pine St. is finally leased

Bravo Maine, a business that has been offering “immersion culinary experiences,” such as cooking classes and tastings at Fork Food Lab in Portland, has leased the former Aurora Provisions and Blue Spoon Cafe space at 64 Pine St.

January events have been postponed until February and March so the business can get settled into its new digs, owner/manager Justine Corbi announced on the Bravo Maine Instagram page. The Pine Street location will allow the addition of cooking and baking classes for kids, as well as pop-up dinners for 10. Corbi indicated she also is planning to serve coffee, French pastries and lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Spreading the doughnut love

The new Holy Donut in Auburn officially opened Tuesday.

Located at 848 Minot Ave. (at the corner of Minot and Hotel), the donut shop known for its potato doughnuts in flavors like pomegranate and Allen’s Coffee Brandy held a soft opening on Sunday. On Tuesday morning, Ryan Howe, the Holy Donut’s director of business operations, posted a video on Twitter of a long line of cars waiting in the drive-thru lane at the new Auburn location.

In October, the Holy Donut shop in Portland’s Old Port closed. The company has two other locations, one on Park Avenue in Portland and a shop with a drive-thru on Route 1 in Scarborough.

USA Today on Monday called the company’s Bacon Cheddar doughnut one of the top 10 most creative bacon dishes in the country.

 

Peanut butter cup s’more and blueberry lemonade doughnuts from Sugar High Donuts. Photo courtesy of Ryan Carey

 

The owner of Noble Barbecue has done a “pandemic pivot” by starting a side gig making mini sugar donuts.

More doughnuts? Enjoy, but watch out for those pandemic pounds

Ryan Carey, owner of Noble Barbecue restaurant and Fire and Company catering on Forest Avenue in Portland, has partnered with longtime employee Sam McNutt to launch a new side business called Sugar High Donuts.

Carey says with so many concerts, fairs and other events being canceled during the pandemic, he had a doughnut machine that wasn’t being used. So now he and McNutt are making mini doughnuts to sell at Noble and Rising Tide Brewing Co. at 103 Fox St. in Portland. The first flavors are strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, cookies and cream, and cinnamon sugar.

The donuts cost $8 per bag of 10 mini sugar doughnuts. For now, they’re selling one flavor per day; Wednesday’s featured flavor is cookies and cream. Carey also plans to sell large doughnuts at a pop-up soon. Look for additional flavors, such as peanut butter cup s’more and blueberry lemonade.

What goes well with donuts? Free coffee!

Aroma Joe’s will hand out free 16-ounce cups of coffee Saturday to celebrate its anniversary. For every cup it gives away, the company will donate $1 to its newly formed Honduras Coffee Farmers Group. Farmers who are part of the group receive a 20-cent-per-pound premium for every pound of coffee they produce for Aroma Joe’s, which raises their standard of living and allows them to improve their farming practices.

Plant-chiladas made with roasted eggplant, cauliflower rice, walnuts, cremini mushrooms, vegan mole sauce, cashew nacho and cheddar cheeses. Photo courtesy of Gaia’s Plant-Based Kitchen

Plant-based dinners at your doorstep

T. Love Smith and her wife, Jeanette Richelson, last month launched a plant-based meal delivery service called Gaia’s Plant-Based Kitchen.

The Wiscasset-based business offers three-course vegan meals featuring a soup, entrée and dessert. Richelson, the former owner of Roost House of Juice in Portland, said although all of the meals are vegan, adjustments can be made for special diets – recently, for example, they added yogurt to a meal for a customer who has cancer.

Smith prepares the soup and entrée, and Richelson is in charge of dessert, which right now is mostly personal-sized bundt cakes in different flavors, or “baby bundts,” which are about the size of a muffin, Richelson said. (Richelson owns another business called Barbara’s Bundts.) The cakes are not only vegan, they are gluten-free.

A recent Gaia’s menu started with vegan cream of broccoli soup, made with coconut milk, followed by a second course of either shepherd’s pie or an Irish stew bowl, made with meat substitutes. Dessert was a Maine apple pie personal bundt cake or a carrot cake baby bundt.

The new company delivers for free within an hour of Wiscasset – the cost of delivery is built into the pricing. But they are willing to deliver as far as two hours away for an extra fee. Menus are posted on Mondays, and customers can preorder their food through Saturday. Delivery is the following week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. (Delivery in Portland is on Wednesdays.)

To check out their menus, go to their Facebook or Instagram pages. Questions? Email [email protected].


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