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Chef Shuffles, a Toast Bar, and More Updates to Start the Week

Kick off Monday morning with some mini news bites

A dish at Central Provisions in Portland, Maine
A dish at Central Provisions in Portland, Maine

Chef Shuffles

Ribelle alum Brandon Baltzley spent most of 2016 working around the Cape, first relaunching Woods Hole restaurant Fusion Grille into The 41-70 with his wife Laura Higgins-Baltzley before moving on to launch The Buffalo Jump pop-up series with her. Now, Baltzley has joined Cambridge’s Cafe ArtScience as executive chef, reports Boston Magazine, and his new menu “will roll out in the next couple of months.” Look for “unexpected ingredients and flavor combinations” within the realm of Cafe ArtScience’s “classic French technique and European influence.” (Meanwhile, Higgins-Baltzley continues to work on The Buffalo Jump concept.) Cafe ArtScience’s opening executive chef, Patrick Campbell, has departed to work on plans for “a neighborhood bar and restaurant” in Stoneham, per Boston.

In other shuffles, those who were sad to see Backbar bar manager Melinda Johnson depart in October 2016 will now have the chance to see her popping up around town, serving up delicious cocktails as always. She’s joined the Offsite crew as bar manager. Offsite puts on fun, boozy events in Boston and beyond. Some of the events, for example, pair cocktails with classic movies, such as Home Alone and Groundhog Day.

Beer Here

Hopsters’ planned Fort Point expansion (and eventual nationwide expansion, if owner Lee Cooper has his way) is moving right along, thanks in part to some hefty equity crowdfunding on Wefunder. The new brewpub/restaurant/brew-your-own-beer facility could open in early spring, reports BostInno. Cooper managed to raise more than $1 million in equity crowdfunding, thanks to about 600 investors. (Unlike crowdfunding on a site like Kickstarter or IndieGogo, where fans donate in exchange for simple rewards but no ownership, Wefunder is a platform for regulation crowdfunding, allowing for actual investments, small and large.)

Soup Alert

Michigan-based fast-casual chain Zoup, stylized as Zoup!, is opening its second Massachusetts location next month (375 Main St., Worcester), per a press release. The first Massachusetts outpost appeared in Natick’s Sherwood Plaza on Route 9 a couple years back, and the chain began in the Detroit area in the late 1990s, serving up soups, salads, and sandwiches. Soup sampling is encouraged. The chain is approaching 99 locations around the United States and Canada.

Meanwhile, in Maine

A sequel to the acclaimed Central Provisions, Tipo (182 Ocean Ave., Portland), opens January 11, notes Portland Food Map. The space was previously home to Borealis Bakery & Bistro. Chris and Paige Gould are behind both restaurants, and their friends Mike Smith and Robyn Luongo Smith will serve as Tipo’s chef de cuisine and general manager respectively, according to the Portland Press Herald. Chris and Mike, though both Maine natives, have strong Boston ties within the Ken Oringer empire: Chris worked at Uni, departing in 2012 to open Central Provisions, and Mike was chef de cuisine of Toro. (He’s been back in Maine for some time now, and most recently, he was executive chef at Scales in Portland.) Per the Press Herald, Tipo will serve “Neapolitan pizza, handmade pastas, crudo, and salads.”

In other carb-filled Maine food news, keep an eye out for the South Portland opening of a toast bar in a garage that sort of looks like a giant toaster, courtesy of the Scratch Baking Co. team. It’ll have toast and bagels with plenty of toppings (as well as grab-and-go bagels by the dozen), coffee and espresso, and a little bit of seating.

And in Kittery, Woodland Farms Brewery (306 US Route 1) officially opens its doors January 19 with samples and growler fills. The initial lineup includes an Irish pilsner (“hoppy, malty, light, dry, and drinkable”), a Mexican lager (an “excellent session beer” made with Pearl hops), a modern pale ale (made with Galaxy, Lemondrop, and Azzaca hops), and more.

And in New Hampshire

Chef Daniel Rean has closed down Radici (142 Congress St., Portsmouth) and reopened it as Braise, with the goal of serving “great food without pretense and satisfying portions with a competitive price tag,” reports Dishes include duck sausage cassoulet, gnocchi bolognese, and tenderloin au poivre.

Got a news tip for the Eater Boston team? Email

Central Provisions

414 Fore Street, , ME 04101 (207) 805-1085 Visit Website

Zoup! (Worcester)

375 Main St., Worcester, MA 01608 Visit Website

Hopsters (Newton)

292 Centre St, Newton, MA 02459 (617) 584-1492 Visit Website

Cafe ArtScience

650 East Kendall Street, , MA 02142 (857) 999-2193 Visit Website

Scratch Baking Co

416 Preble Street, , ME 04106 (207) 799-0668 Visit Website

Woodland Farms Brewery

306 Route 1, Suite C, Kittery, ME (207) 994-3911 Visit Website


182 Ocean Ave., Portland, ME 04103 Visit Website

Braise (Portsmouth)

142 Congress St., Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 373-6464 Visit Website