Qutaiba Hassoon has leased 1053 Forest Ave. in Portland where he plans to open Falafel Time, an Iraqi/Middle Eastern takeout restaurant.

Hassoon said it will be a family restaurant, with his parents doing much of the cooking. His father, Saeed Saeed, was the last owner of Haggerty’s, a takeout restaurant at 849 Forest Ave. (a spot now occupied by Thai Esaan) that served Brit-Indi and Middle Eastern cuisine until 2014.

Falafel Time’s menu will go beyond just falafel, Hassoon said. “We’re also going to be doing bread, pizza, rice and chicken.”

Hassoon said he wants to have something for everyone, so the falafel will be gluten-free, and some dishes will be vegetarian. Meat dishes will be made with halal meat.

Falafel Time will be takeout only, although there will be a little outdoor seating while good weather lasts. For indoor seating, Hassoon said he would have to add a bathroom, which would delay the opening of the restaurant. He said he may add indoor seating next summer.

Hassoon has been busy since June renovating the space, which used to be a Papa John’s. He still has to buy some equipment and get his restaurant permit from the city. He hopes to open Falafel Time on Oct. 1.

Labor shortage temporarily closes bakery

Recently on the menu at Gross Confection Bar: Brandt Dadaleares’ version of Black Forest Cake. Photo courtesy of Gross Confection Bar

Brandt Dadaleares, owner of Gross Confection Bar, a dessert-focused restaurant in Portland, announced last week that he’s made the “unfortunate and hard decision” to temporarily close the bakery side of his business because of a staffing shortage. But Gross Bakery will be back, he said.

“We hope to reopen ASAP, but the reopening date at this time is undetermined,” he wrote on social media. “Thank you for your understanding. The bakery will be back.”

Meanwhile, you can satisfy those sweets cravings at Gross Confection Bar, 172 Middle St., which still opens at 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Both indoor and patio dining are available.

East Ender shifts menu and hours

Beginning in September, East Ender in Portland will have new hours, opening at 2 p.m. instead of noon and closing at 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

Located at 47 Middle St., East Ender shifted its menu this summer to focus more on snacks and bar foods. Customers seemed to like that change, according to the restaurant, so it’s sticking around: “We figure our neighbors have lunch under control, and we have always been night owls anyway. We didn’t like doing last call at 9 p.m. and we know you didn’t like it either. East Ender will always be a great place to grab dinner. Keep an eye on us for fall specials, fun seasonal menu changes and winter events.”

Bravo Maine moves

Bravo Maine, a business that has been offering baking and cooking classes and demonstrations at 64 Pine St. in Portland, is moving to the original Rosemont Market building at 559 Brighton Ave. (where the market had its bakery operations before moving to a new production facility on Stevens Avenue), and has started taking reservations for French bistro-style pop-up dinners.

The dinners, which will be held every Tuesday and Wednesday, are limited to 10 people. The first one, scheduled for Sept. 15, is sold out. Reservations are now being taken via Open Table for Sept. 21 and beyond. You can also text owner Justine Corbi 207-425-4482 to book a spot or get on the waiting list. To see a menu, go to bravomaine.com.

More dinner options

Ruby’s West End, which has been offering breakfast and lunch since it opened in April (and shared the 64 Pine St. space with Bravo Maine), is now serving dinner from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 5-8 p.m. Sundays. Find a dinner menu at rubyswestend.com.

Tragic news for vacationing taco fans

If you’re heading Down East for one last summer jaunt and thought you might make a fuel stop (fuel, as in tacos) at EL El Frijoles, the popular Mexican restaurant in Sargentville on the Blue Hill peninsula, you’re out of luck. The restaurant is closed until Sept. 8 because the restaurant’s walk-in cooler died Aug. 21, and the owners are waiting for a replacement. When it reopens, the restaurant will start serving at 3 p.m., instead of the usual 11 a.m., a move the owners call “a radical departure … but it is the only way we can do it with employees who are in school!”

Fall restaurant hours are 3 p.m. until closing Wednesdays through Fridays.

Top cheese

The Maine Cheese Guild has announced the details behind its first-ever Maine Cheese Awards.

The guild will begin accepting submissions for the awards Friday, and the deadline for submissions is Sept. 9. Licensed cheesemakers can submit up to eight cheeses in six categories. A panel of five judges will hold a blind tasting on Sept. 10, and the awards will be announced at the Maine Cheese Festival in Pittsfield on Sept. 12.

Here’s the best part: the guild will sell a “Best in Show” box afterward so cheese lovers can try the winning entries for themselves.

Maine cheesemakers who have questions or want to register for the competition can go to mainecheeseguild.org or email [email protected]

Ocean’s Balance is launching two pasta sauces that contain kelp, and are vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free. Photo courtesy of Ocean’s Balance

Some seaweed with your spaghetti?

Biddeford-based Ocean’s Balance is introducing a line of vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free pasta sauces containing seaweed.

The marinara and spicy arrabbiata sauces are made with sustainably farmed and harvested kelp, and will be introduced in late September at Expo East, a natural products trade show that’s being held in Philadelphia this year.

Beer and a concert

In mid-August, Threshers Brewing Co. in Searsmont released a German-style Kölsch named Shangri La La, after one of the most popular songs by the indie band SeepeopleS. Now Bayside Bowl, at 58 Alder St. in Portland, is hosting a release party and concert at 8 p.m. Sept. 18. The event is free and open to the public.

Shangri La La will be available on tap and in cans.

The concert will feature members of SeepeopleS, theWorst, Sparkxsea, Forét Endormie and Sea Level.

And the award for most creative perk goes to…

… Pineland Farms. Like so many other businesses these days, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is hiring. While Pineland touts incentives such as paid time off, flexible schedules and employee discounts in its job listings, it also says its new hires will get lots of fresh garden vegetables, along with what could be an irresistible (though messy) perk: “unlimited cow kisses.”

 


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