Think of it as a floating cocktail lounge. On the Rocks Cocktail Cruises launched last week, offering – for now – BYOB cruises around Casco Bay.

But the Portland City Council approved a liquor license for the business Monday night, so owner Jill Norwalk of Portland hopes to begin selling drinks on board, including canned cocktails, beer, wine and prosecco by early August. A two-hour cruise for up to six passengers costs $240.

On the Rocks is the name of Norwalk’s 1969 Navy Whaleboat MK10 “that was originally used as a lifesaving vessel on large Naval ships all over the world,” Norwalk wrote in the liquor license application she filed with the city.

“This boat is sturdy, spacious, and extremely seaworthy,” she said. “Based on my years of experience on the water and navigating through the process of becoming a USCG captain, I am excited and eager to begin this new adventure.”

The boat will dock at Maine Wharf. Fogg’s Water Taxi & Charters is handling reservations; call 207-415-8493.

A beer salon?


Hi Fidelity, a small brewery and tasting room, is slated to open in East Bayside later this summer.

PD Wappler of Portland and business partner Dante Maderal of Brunswick have leased space at 200 Anderson St., Suite 6, where they plan to offer small plates, prepackaged food, coffee and tea as well as their small-batch beer. Wappler wrote in the brewery’s liquor license application that they hope to host open-mic performances, art exhibitions, poetry nights and stand-up comedy. The Portland City Council approved the license Monday night.

More sushi and ramen for Portland

The owners of Eagle Sushi & Steakhouse in Windham plan to open Tokyo Sushi and Ramen in Portland in September. Their new restaurant will be located at 11 Brown St., the former home of BRGR Bar and, before that, Margarita’s. Gordon Yang, one of three partners in the new restaurant, said Tokyo Sushi and Ramen will have 72 seats indoors and patio seating for 16.

Wayside Tavern to open Friday

A dry-aged, wood-grilled rib steak with sauce au poivre from Wayside Tavern in Portland. Photo by Jen Wyllie

Wayside Tavern, the new Portland restaurant inside The Francis hotel on Congress Street, is scheduled to open Friday. The location is the former home of Flood’s and Bolster, Snow & Co.


The tavern, owned by Michael and Siobhan Sindoni, will use fresh, local ingredients to make French- and Italian-inflected food. For now, hours will be 5-10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays (the bar will be open until 11 p.m.), and 5-9 p.m. Sundays. Reservations will be available beginning Thursday.

Still in the oven

Brunswick residents may be wondering what happened to Ritual Bakehouse and Patisserie, a bakery that was supposed to open during the holidays last year.

Owner April Robinson says her original location at 66 Maine St. fell through (it’s a long story), so she moved down the road, buying the building at 111 Maine St., the former home of Big E’s, a burrito restaurant. (Big E’s closed in May after five years in business.) Robinson now hopes to open Ritual Bakehouse by mid-September.

Pancakes & you

A breakfast/brunch restaurant opened last week at 139 Riverside St. in Portland, in the former home of Egg & I. The Stacks Pancake Co. is owned by the  Papanikolaou family, who are posting on Instagram @stackspancakeco. Stacks is open every day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Get your napkins ready

The Georgia Peach Truck will be making a pit stop – yes, I did that on purpose – at Broadway Gardens in South Portland Sunday from noon to 1:30 p.m. The truck makes an annual road trip up the East Coast, selling peaches from Dickey Farms in Musella, Georgia. Dickey Farms has been growing peaches for more than 120 years and, according to the farm, is home to the state’s oldest peach packinghouse. The 1,000-acre farm grows more than 20 varieties of peaches.

Online orders will be accepted through Thursday, so don’t waste time. Walkup sales are first-come, first-served. A 25-pound box of peaches (which contains 50-65 peaches) costs $48. Organic peaches are available in 15-pound boxes (48-64 peaches) for $64. The truck also is selling 16-ounce bags of Georgia pecans for $18. Each bag contains about 350 shelled pecan halves. To order, go to

Blueberry sales deal

Wild blueberries in Warren, Maine.  AP photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Jasper Wyman & Son in Milbridge announced Friday that it is expanding its blueberry supply and freezing operations by acquiring the assets of Allen’s Blueberry Freezer in Ellsworth, which was founded in 1957. The deal includes 2,800 acres of wild blueberry land, flash-freezing operations, and more than 50,000 square feet of cold storage. Wyman’s declined to disclose the sale price.

Rock Row Food Hall gets a manager


Hospitality HQ, a New York-based developer and operator of food halls and restaurants, has been selected to manage the food hall at Rock Row, a $600 million development that includes retail, office and residential space on 110 acres in Westbrook.

Chef Akhtar Nawab, a restaurateur and cookbook author, is a founding partner of Hospitality HQ, which also manages food halls and markets in New York, Chicago, and Omaha, Nebraska. Nawab also owns Mexican restaurants in New York City and New Orleans.

The 26,000-square-foot Rock Row food hall will have 550 seats and feature 15 food-related businesses and seven spirits tasting rooms.

“Greater Portland has a rich culinary offering and local food culture that is world-renowned,” Nawab said in a news release announcing his involvement in the project. “We want Rock Row’s Food Hall to be a foundation of that culture and a showcase for the many rising stars in the local culinary scene to grow and shine.”

Rock Row is accepting applications for tenants of the food hall. Women- and minority-owned businesses will be given special consideration, according to the developer.

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