The Portland bakery and takeout restaurant formerly known as Ameera Bread, at 845R Forest Ave., has reopened under the name Dina’s.

Who exactly owns the place is a mystery, but I do know it belongs to the same family that owned Ameera. And the former owner of Ameera, Ahmed Abbas, is managing it.

The popular Middle Eastern bakery, which sold everything from hummus and breads to stews and shawarma plates, closed suddenly last fall after Abbas got into a complicated legal dispute with his nephew, Ryan Abdul. In a nutshell, as the Press Herald reported in October, Abdul claimed Abbas tried to renege on a deal to sell Abdul the business after learning Abdul was transgender and transitioning from male to female. Abdul obtained a protection from harassment order against Abbas. Abbas countered that he had made no such deal and also denied any harassment. The dispute ended up in court.

Abdul, who uses they/them pronouns, says the new restaurant doesn’t belong to them. They said the location was leased back to the previous owner, Abbas. Abbas said in an email that it’s “a long story” and that he is limited in what he can say for legal reasons. He said the business now belongs to “one of my best family members,” and that he — Abbas — is managing it.

As for the new Dina’s, its menu is similar to the one Ameera had, and it has an updated website at dinascuisine.com.

New brewpub for Portland

Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co., based in Yarmouth, will open a brewpub in Portland this summer at 9 Commercial St., the former home of Arabica Coffee.

The first Brickyard Hollow opened in Yarmouth in June 2018. Photo by Carla Jean Lauter

The 81-seat brewpub will serve a menu similar to the one at the Freeport Brickyard Hollow – craft pizza, protein bowls, soups and salads, and appetizers such as potstickers, cheesy bread sticks, and french fries covered in pulled pork and a Gouda cheese sauce. The restaurant will also deliver pizza to all of Portland, according to Brendan Medeiros, operations manager for the company. The target opening date is July.

“We’re going to put huge garage doors in the front so you’ll be able to open those in the summer,” he said. “It will be full service dine-in. We’ll have a nice big bar there, but it will also have a slice counter.”

The 3,000-square-foot Commercial Street brewpub will be open until 2 a.m., Medeiros said, helping to fill the late-night void left when Bill’s Pizza closed last month.

The Portland brewpub will be Brickyard Hollow’s fourth location. In addition to the existing brewpubs in Yarmouth and Freeport, the company is scheduled to open a small restaurant – about 15 seats – in about three weeks at 242 Main St. in Yarmouth, next to the Yarmouth brewpub.

Restaurant reopenings

Hot Suppa, at 703 Congress St., has reopened for breakfast and lunch, serving until 2 p.m. every day, and is now taking reservations for dinner Thursday through Saturday. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. Seating is available in the dining room and on the enclosed-and-heated patio, and takeout is available as well. Hot Suppa is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth has announced it will open for the season on May 1. The iconic seafood restaurant, a popular local place for tourists to indulge in lobster and fried clams – not to mention a stunning view of the Atlantic – will be open from noon to 7 p.m. for takeout and outdoor dining only. Orders will be accepted online and in person, and safety procedures will be the same as last year: masks and social distancing are required except when patrons are seated at a picnic table.

When the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, 75 Market St., reopens Friday for outdoor drinking and dining, and to-go service, it will have an entirely new look. The new outdoor patio is covered and heated, and the menu and kitchen have been updated, too. Briana Volk, who co-owns the business with her husband, Andrew Volk, told me recently that until their entire staff can be vaccinated, the couple is transforming the inside of the bar into a pop-up shop selling food and cocktails to go, as well as merchandise, including some from other makers around the country. They’ve removed the lodge room, and are reconfiguring the bar, expanding the kitchen and building big new tables. To reserve an outdoor table, go to huntandalpineclub.com.

A new dish from Jordan Slocum, the new chef at Sur Lie in Portland: Carrots with sherry-maple-cardamom glaze, candied hazelnuts, and fried carrot greens. Photo courtesy of Jordan Slocum

New chef at Sur Lie

Jordan Slocum, the new executive chef at Sur Lie in Portland. Photo courtesy of Sur Lie

Sur Lie at has hired a new executive chef. Jordan Slocum, according to the restaurant, is a Texas native who attended the National Culinary Institute in San Diego while apprenticing at Penfold’s Cafe in Temecula. He has worked on private estates and yachts, and ran Forage & Fir, his own supper club. He moved to Maine in 2017. Before arriving at Sur Lie, he had a home in Lubec and worked as a private chef on a yacht in the Bahamas. He replaces Jef Wright, who has been the chef since late 2019.

Bayonne basics

Culture, a New England-based magazine devoted to cheese, is hosting an online event starring Bayonne ham and featuring Damian Sansonetti, chef/owner of Chaval in Portland.

“You will learn about the history and production of this distinctive and beloved cured ham, made the same way for more than 1,000 years in the Basque region of southwest France,” according to the magazine. Sansonetti will demonstrate the use of the ham in dishes such as baked Bayonne ham and asparagus, and smoky, Basque-style “mac-and-cheese” with crispy Bayonne ham. Participants will receive two 3-ounce packages of Bayonne ham before the event.

The event begins at 5 p.m. on April 8, costs $20 and is limited to 50 participants. It will be hosted by Susan Sherrill Axelrod, editor of Culture and a Maine resident. To register, go to eventbrite.com or click the link in the @culturecheese bio on Instagram.

Concessions at the Castle

Restaurateurs, food truck operators, ice cream companies and coffee shops take note: The city of Portland is looking for a vendor to lease and operate the Castle at Deering Oaks Park.

The Castle, built in 1894, was once a warming hut for skaters and sold snacks and hot cocoa. It’s been home to many food vendors in the past, most recently Tiqa. The one-room space is small, but includes a patio. For details, call (207) 874-8652, or email [email protected]

Bumper crop

Want to reward employees or offer a new workplace wellness option at your business? The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, in collaboration with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, has launched Bumper Crop, a program that lets employers buy gift vouchers for food from farmers’ markets.

Three employers tried the service last year, giving vouchers to more than 300 employees to spend at 10 markets in the Bangor, Lewiston and midcoast areas, according to the market federation. Those employees redeemed more than $10,000 in vouchers and spent more than $50,000 at the markets. Sixty percent of the employees reported that the program helped them eat more fruits and vegetables in 2020, and 58 percent said they visited farmers markets more often because of the program.

To learn more about Bumper Crop, email [email protected] or go to mainefarmersmarkets.org/bumpercrop.

Easter options

Ada’s Pasta, 642 Congress St., is offering Easter menus for two or four, as well as a la carte options. The menus for two or four include deviled eggs, carrot salad, broccolini, choice of side, choice of entree, and cheesecake topped with rhubarb and hazelnuts. Entree options are glazed smoked local pork loin and Gulf of Maine crab cakes. Orders are due by 6 p.m. Thursday for pickup or delivery between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday.

Earth at Hidden Pond, 354 Goose Rocks Road, Kennebunkport, is serving a prix fixe menu that includes English pea soup with local lobster; house-cured ham with scalloped potatoes, spring peas and a maple glaze; and roasted leg of lamb with asparagus, heirloom potatoes and mint jelly. The menu starts at $65 and will be available for in-house dining from 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, go to OpenTable.com, email [email protected], or call (207) 967-6550.

Isa Bistro, 79 Portland St., is offering cassoulet, seared halibut, confitted duck for two, and braised lamb shank for two. Preorder online, then pick up via curbside takeout from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday. (Heads up: the owners say they plan to open their patio shortly after Easter but haven’t yet settled on a date.)

Saltwater Grille, 231 Front St. in South Portland, will serve Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as a special lunch/dinner menu from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The brunch menu features classics such as steak and eggs, French toast and eggs Benedict. The dinner menu includes baked ham, roast lamb and honey mustard salmon.

Also, check last week’s Wrap column for more Easter restaurant menus.


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