This is an archive of news from winter 2017-2018. Find the spring 2018 round-up here.
Broadening the scope a bit, here’s the latest restaurant news from beyond Greater Boston; we’re keeping an eye out for dining developments throughout New England. This piece is updated on a rolling basis, covering restaurant openings, closures, and more in Portsmouth, Providence, Portland, and elsewhere.
Check back for updates — the most recent ones will always be at the top — and email email@example.com with any news tips pertaining to New England restaurant news beyond Boston.
Note: Jump to the bottom of this page for a list of other links pertaining to New England dining, including a guide to Portsmouth and Kittery, an archive of Maine news, a map of the hottest new restaurants in Providence, and more.
March 13, 2018
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Yeto’s (299 Main St.) is now open, serving a blend of Southern and Italian cuisine. The menu features items like the big brisket biscuit sandwich, mac and cheese with an anadama crumb topping, and a version of penne alla vodka made with local gin instead of vodka. The restaurant’s inspiration comes from a love story of a pair of yetis, Yeto and Yeta, whose love was “intense enough to melt the snow on the mountain.” Turns out they’re not just any mythical snow beasts — they’re actually characters from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess — and Yeto, a locavore before his time, created a soup out of local fish, pumpkins, and goat cheese that healed his ailing wife (and apparently reinvigorated their love). Like Yeto, Yeto’s uses local ingredients to create comforting food, a philosophy Zelda fans and non-fans alike can appreciate.
In other Biddeford news, Jon Phillips and Briana Campbell are newcomers to town from Brooklyn and are working on plans to open Time and Tide Craft Coffee Roasters, which will be both a cafe and roastery. They’re looking for space and hope to open this summer, serving breakfast tacos and pastries along with coffee.
FREEDOM, MAINE — The Lost Kitchen is one of New England’s most in-demand restaurants, with famously difficult-to-get reservations. It’s also a member of Eater’s 38 Essential New England restaurants. Chef-owner Erin French has announced the new process for securing reservations, which involves mailing in a 3x5 index card with full name, mailing and email addresses, and phone number. Guests will be randomly selected for the chance to book dinner reservations between May and New Year’s Eve. “Against all odds, this restaurant has become far more popular than our wildest dreams,” French wrote in the announcement.
GORHAM, MAINE — Sebago Brewing Co. recently debuted its new facility at 616 Main St. It serves as a brewing space and headquarters for the brewery, which drastically increases its brewing capacity. There is a tasting room, and growler fills are available.
KITTERY, MAINE — La Casita is now open at 181 State Rd. in Kittery, serving rice and bean bowls with various protein toppings, Cuban sandwiches, roasted pork, and more. The restaurant is the work of chef Mark Segal and Gaby Velez, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont who grew up in Puerto Rico.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — New Haven’s famous Sally’s Apizza reopened under new ownership at the end of February. Lineage Hospitality acquired the restaurant from Bobby and Ricky Consiglio, the sons of founder Sal Consiglio, and the company has plans to expand nationally.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The owners of the now-closed Louie’s restaurant in Portsmouth have purchased The Carriage House in Rye and will renovate and reimagine the restaurant. Louie’s, along with its neighboring State Street Saloon, was severely damaged in a fire in April 2017, and owners James Woodhouse, RJ Joyce, and chef Brett Cavanna have run pop-ups around the region during the closure. With this new project, the team will be able to bring back many of Louie’s employees while keeping on those at the Carriage House and transitioning the nearly 90-year-old institution into its next iteration.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Two Fat Cats Bakery (47 India St.) has a new location locked down for an expansion. Known for its from-scratch baked goods, cakes, pies, and elaborately decorated cookies, Two Fat Cats is leasing a second space at 740 Broadway in South Portland.
Also in Portland, Abilene (539 Deering Ave.) will close down at the end of March after three years in business. Owners Anna Connolly and Travis Colgan said they wanted to adjust their lifestyles to accommodate their children reaching school age. They shared the news in a post on Facebook, expressing appreciation for their patrons over the last few years.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Boston’s own Bon Me rolls a food truck down to Providence this month. There will be festivities at Waterman Street near Brown University on March 14 and at Kennedy Plaza on March 27, where it will partner with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, to donate profits from the “pay what you want” day. After the second grand opening, the truck will park at Brown University on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and at Kennedy Plaza on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
February 20, 2018
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Stone Fort Distillery (26 Pearl St.) has opened in Biddeford — although a grand opening is planned for March. The distillery is producing vodka and whiskey and showing them off in cocktails such as lemon drop martinis and Moscow mules.
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, MAINE — Hunker Down is now open at Sugarloaf, serving American classics and landing itself on Eater Maine’s latest heatmap of hot new restaurants in the state. Menu items include steak frites, spaghetti and meatballs, and other hearty appetizers and entrees perfect for scarfing down after a ski run or 20.
MAINE — Speaking of Eater’s Maine Heatmap, why not check out the rest of the latest update as well? The map features the nine hottest restaurants in the state right now. From Elda in Biddeford (140 Main St.) to Taverna Khione in Brunswick (25 Mill St.), the cuisines currently span Greek, seafood, and comfort food options.
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Breakfast Club (no relation to Boston’s diner by the same name) opened a few months ago in Manchester (342 Cypress St.), and it serves egg tacos among other standard breakfast items. Nearby, Ritu’s Spice Utsav (484 South Main St.) is also up and running with a menu of vegetarian Indian dishes, including dosa, chaat, curries, and tandoor.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Uncle Billy’s Bar-B-Cue (166 Cumberland Ave.) is opening soon, courtesy of chef Jonny St. Laurent, per the Portland Food Map. The chef had previously run Uncle Billy’s Resto-bar at 653 Congress St. in Portland, but it closed in 2007. St. Laurent’s comeback will heavily feature smoked meats.
Meanwhile, Orenda and Peter Hale have reopened their newly expanded restaurant, Drifters Wife, alongside their wine shop, Maine & Loire (59 Washington Ave.) — it was just a move next door, but it came with some useful extra space for a full kitchen and full bar. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for a James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in 2017.
The Maine Lobster Shack is getting ready to open (425 Fore St.) and hiring staff members in preparation. The restaurant promises to serve various chowders, seafood rolls and sandwiches, and salads, among other items. Follow along on the restaurant’s social media for details of the opening.
February 13, 2018
CHESTER, CONNECTICUT — Grano Arso (6 Main St.) is now open within a former bank building in Chester, and it showcases a “modern yet familiar approach to traditional Italian cooking.” Chef Joel Gargano mills grain in-house for pasta and bread and has created a menu consisting of crostini, pasta dishes, and entrees ranging from monkfish stew to grilled pork loin with polenta and pesto. There are also cocktails, wines, and beer.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Chuck’s BARbershop (90 Low Ave.) is a new speakeasy-style bar from the team behind Codex in Nashua, serving up classic cocktails in a space hidden behind an actual barbershop.
HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT — The newly opened Lo Sano Restaurant & Bar (678 Maple Ave.) has a menu full of Latin American classics, including mofongo (made with fried plantains), skirt steak with chimichurri, fried chicken, and tres leches flan for dessert.
NORTH WOODSTOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Pemi Public House (115 Main St.) is a new option for those visiting the White Mountains. The restaurant serves sandwiches, soups, flatbreads, and hearty entrees like mac and cheese and pot pie, plus salads and appetizers. The restaurant also has open mic nights.
February 6, 2018
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A new cocktail bar has opened in the former Red Door space at 107 State St. The Nice is the work of Kevin Walsh and Bryan Emerson, alums of Moxy and Franklin Oyster House, and they’re running the bar from 6 p.m. on, six days a week (closed Tuesday). Drinks include the Venetian Monk (Bully Boy gin, chartreuse, aperol, lemon, and Peychaud’s) and Pearl Harbor (vodka, jalapeño-infused green chartreuse, pineapple, and melon).
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Coffee fans may soon get the chance to drink their favorite beverage in the presence of a double-decker bus. The Burgundian: Coffee and Waffles is a Rhode Island company that specializes in (as the name suggests) coffee and Liege-style waffles. Founder Shane Matlock purchased a double-decker British bus to restore and convert into a mobile coffee shop, where customers will be able to place orders through a service window but will also be able to enter the bus and partake in coffee and waffles on the second level. Matlock has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the bus conversion.
Xaco Taco is now open in Providence (370 Richmond St.), with ten versions of tacos (available as singles or platters) and a wide selection of tequila, plus beer, wine, and churro doughnuts for dessert.
A pop-up that serves sandwiches has debuted in Providence, from the same folks behind UMelt, a sandwich shop with locations at the University of Rhode Island and Brown. The aptly named Sandwich (stylized as ‘sandwich.’) pop-up operates out of the Brown UMelt location (267 Thayer St.) and offers build-your-own options, breakfast sandwiches, and 15 pre-set menu items.
SMITHFIELD, RHODE ISLAND — Laura’s Bar and Grill (945 Douglas Pke.) debuted in Rhode Island recently, with a menu of flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, and other pub fare. There’s a selection of cocktails, plus sangria.
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND — New Haven’s famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (which has a location near Boston, in Chestnut Hill) plans to expand to Rhode Island, opening in Warwick some time in April or May, the Providence Journal reports. The restaurant will feature a specialty brick, coal-fired oven that requires seasoning.
January 30, 2018
BRUNSWICK, MAINE — The Gelato Fiasco — a Maine-based gelato producer that’s previously popped-up in Boston and has been “eyeing properties in Boston for a while” for a potential permanent location here — has first landed on a site a little bit more southern: Orlando, Florida. After producing gelato for distribution and gaining traction in Florida thanks to the state’s beloved grocery store, Publix, Gelato Fiasco has signed a lease for a space at 25 West Crystal Lakes St., planning to open in spring 2018.
LONDONDERRY, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Long Blue Cat Brewing (298 Rockingham Rd.) is up and running with pints, flatbreads, and snacks. Operating varied hours from Wednesday through Sunday, the brewery is the work of two friends, Jason Knight and Shane Sorenson, who are serving several different beers, including a honey ale, a traditional porter, and a kolsch, among others.
MANCHESTER, VERMONT — Mystic Cafe & Wine Bar has opened in Manchester (4928 Main St.), serving lunch and dinner — both cafe fare and entrees, including salmon tartine, Cuban sandwiches, pastries, grilled cheese and tomato soup, salads, and mussels. The restaurant also offers a full bar and wines by the glass.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Poke hit Portsmouth with the opening of Ohana Kitchen several weeks ago (800 Islington St., Plaza 800). The restaurant serves customizable bowls of the Hawaiian dish, in addition to sushi burritos.
January 23, 2018
MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Suzette Crepes & Waffles (62 Lowell St.) is a recent addition to Manchester, and it serves what diners might expect from the name. With stuffed crepes and waffles topped with various items (including Nutella), the restaurant is connected to Gaucho’s Brazilian Steakhouse.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Seacoast Online shares the history and longevity of restaurateur John Mikolajcyk, who was born in Portsmouth 80 years ago and is still involved in the industry, as manager of the Portsmouth Elks Lodge.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — By Chloe, a New York City-born restaurant chain that has spawned locations in Los Angeles and Boston (with a couple opening soon in London), officially opened a new location in Providence last week at 223 Thayer St. The entirely vegan menu includes everything from avocado pesto pasta to various burgers, sandwiches, and breakfast items.
January 16, 2017
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Wow Barbecue got its start as a food truck in Boston before opening restaurants in Malden and Brookline. Now, there’s a new restaurant in play in Providence, open at 183 Angell St., and it’s serving a menu of Chinese barbecue dishes, rice bowls, noodles, and several appetizers.
WEST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT — A full-service restaurant and bar specializing in vegan food has opened in Connecticut from the same people behind Rooster Co. in Newington. Flora uses seasonal ingredients for its food and drink menu (there’s a juice bar in addition to wine and beer). In addition to falafel wraps, flatbreads, “mac-no-cheese,” and an avocado bowl, Flora serves the plant-based Impossible Burger. For any meat eaters who visit, Flora offers what it calls “viable fauna” or “sustainable and responsibly raised animal products,” like grass-fed beef, wild shrimp, and arctic char.
January 9, 2018
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Lunch Lady Food Truck debuted at the end of 2017 in Concord, serving a school-themed menu featuring items named for grades one through 10. There are burgers, barbecue pork nachos, Buffalo wings, and Reuben egg rolls, among many other items, including sides and drinks. Find it by the Everett Arena (15 Loudon Rd.), and keep an eye on social media for other locations.
DURHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Burger joint Hop + Grind (7 Madbury Rd. — Madbury Commons) opened at the end of November. The restaurant butchers and grinds its own meats and makes its soda in-house. There are beef, chicken, and pork burgers and two versions of veggie burgers, plus chicken fried mac and cheese and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Hop + Grind also serves craft beer and ice cream malts.
MAINE — As a new year kicks off, Portland Food Map takes a look back at the year in 2017 — exploring new restaurants, notable events, trends, and obituaries — while looking ahead towards openings slated for 2018.
PORTLAND, MAINE — The Rock apparently has great taste in beer and sent an assistant to procure some. The famed Bissell Brothers Brewing Company (4 Thompsons Pt.) shared the story on Twitter: “An assistant for The Rock just showed up, he took a private jet here to pick up Substance cans. Got shown some credentials... either we just got massively played or THAT IS AWESOME!!”
Also in Portland, Definitive Brewing Company is under construction and could open in the spring at 35 Industrial Wy., near Allagash Brewing Company, according to the Portland Food Map. Few other details are available at this point, but stay tuned for more from Maine.
SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE — The poke trend is creeping its way north to South Portland: Big Fin Poke, which specializes in the Hawaiian raw fish dish, is now open at 29 Western Ave., with this location joining a second in Westbrook, Maine. In addition to rice and salad bowls topped with seafood, chicken, beef, or tofu, Big Fin Poke also serves poke burritos, or seaweed wraps stuffed with sushi rice and proteins.
December 19, 2017
KITTERY, MAINE — The Caribbean-inspired Blue Mermaid Island Grill, which was previously open in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for over 20 years, returns to the dining scene this week, opening its new Kittery location at 10 Shapleigh Rd. on Thursday, December 21, right next to Tributary Brewing Company. Opening weekend is reservation-only; call (207) 703-2754.
NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Biryani Pot, which has a location in Framingham, Massachusetts, will add a location in Nashua (295 Daniel Webster Hwy.), and the grand opening will happen soon. The restaurant specializes in Hyderabadi cuisine, including biryani with chicken, goat, egg, shrimp, or vegetables.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Tuscan Table arrives at 390 Gorham Rd. in South Portland on Wednesday, December 20. The restaurant has ties to Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth, Maine, and Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro in Freeport, Maine. The restaurant will serve Italian cuisine.
In other Portland news, Bon Appetit recently featured a look at six of the city’s newest restaurants to check out, including Hunt & Alpine Club’s little sibling Little Giant (211 Danforth St.), which is both a restaurant and a market; Noble Barbecue (1706 Forest Ave.), which serves a “formidable” brisket sandwich and more; and Belleville (1 North St.), home of “legitimate Roman-style pizza.”
Eater Maine is also currently featuring some of the hottest new spots in Portland and beyond in the latest updated Heatmap; check it out here.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A restaurant with a wonderfully silly name opened recently in New Hampshire, and it specializes in wood-fired cooking. Nibblesworth (409 The Hill) was started by wife-and-husband team Jenny and Tom Nelson, who launched the restaurant with a goal of taking “classic recipes and rejuvenat[ing] them for today’s palate.” The menu includes items like poutine, pierogi, seafood stew, and lobster tacos. As previously reported, it has taken the place of Blue Mermaid Island Grill, which closed in June and reopens in Kittery this week, as mentioned above.
December 12, 2017
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Nuts & Bolts Brewing Company inches closer to an opening this winter at 7 York St. in the Pepperrell Mill, per the Portland Food Map. The brewery is the work of Patrick Doherty and Deedra Zeeh, and they’re providing progress updates on social media.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A new collaboration aims to bring tortillas made with local corn to a pair of restaurants in New Hampshire. Vida Tortilla unites the owners of Vida Cantina (2456 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth) and Dos Amigos Burritos (26 N Main St., Concord, and other locations) with Tuckaway Farm (36 Captain Smith Emerson Rd., Lee), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the equipment needed to produce the tortillas.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — One of New Haven’s oldest and best pizza restaurants, Sally’s Apizza (237 Wooster St.), has been sold to new owners, as Eater reports. The names of those now involved will not be made public until January, but they apparently plan to try to expand the restaurant nationwide.
PORTLAND, MAINE — The Portland Harbor Hotel (468 Fore St.) will lean into the cold of winter with an ice bar and ice sculptures in its courtyard garden. From January 25 to 27, the Ice Bar will be open from 5 to 9 p.m., and tickets can be purchased online. There will be specialty cocktails and small bites available.
December 5, 2017
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Elda opens its doors today, arriving at 140 Main St. with regional-inspired small plates from Bowman Brown, who relocated to the Northeast from Salt Lake City and is a James Beard-nominated chef. The restaurant is named for Brown’s grandmother and will initially serve food only, with wine, beer, and a full bar menu coming soon.
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — From the same owners behind Gale Motor Co. in Manchester, Whiskey & Wine has been open for nearly a month in Concord (148 N. Main St.), and it serves exactly that, with 34 varieties of whiskey and American and European wines. The varied food menu includes items like miso and tonkotsu ramen, pulled pork tacos, sushi rolls, chicken potstickers, and seared scallops.
PORTLAND, MAINE — The Highroller Lobster, a popular food truck in Portland, now has a permanent home at 104 Exchange St. The restaurant opened over the weekend and will officially begin operations Wednesday through Thursday, starting on December 6, serving lobster in several different forms (including lobster grilled cheese), plus corn dogs, burgers, and a surf n’ turf option.
November 29, 2017
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Rover Wood Fired Bagels and Pizza is now open at 111 Elm St. Founders Kimberly Chaurette and Alec Rutter, both alums of Somerville’s Forge Baking Company, started Rover as a bagel pop-up, appearing in Salem at Bambolina and local farmers markets. They’re now in business as a brick-and-mortar up in Maine, serving up bagels and sandwiches, with wood-fired pizza on the way before the end of the year.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Sonny’s, a nearly decade-old restaurant in Old Port (83 Exchange St.), will close at the end of the year. Taking its place: Black Cow, a burger-and-shake shop with an old-fashioned soda fountain. Jay Villani and Garry Bowcott, who own Sonny’s, Local 188, and Salvage BBQ, are behind the new project, and longtime Local 188 chef Nicholas Nappi (who took a hiatus from the group and worked at Eventide and Hugo’s in the interim) is partnering with them for Black Cow. December 31 is the final day for Sonny’s, and Black Cow could open as soon as mid-February.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The team behind the Wallingford Dram — an excellent cocktail bar in Kittery, Maine — has opened a new spot in Portsmouth. The Wilder, a “no-rules New England gastropub,” is now open at 174 Fleet St., the site of the former United Kingdom-themed Coat of Arms bar. It’s open daily, with bar service starting at 3:30 p.m. with snacks, the full menu available starting at 5 p.m., and a late-night menu offered until 1 a.m. Dishes include everything from Scotch duck eggs to braised kid ragu, which most likely refers to goats, not children. For dessert? Apple cider beignets with maple sauce. And shakshuka makes an appearance on the late-night menu.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — A food hall slated for Providence just met its fundraising goal through a Kickstarter campaign. The forthcoming West Park Food Hall (233 West Park St.) will have a number of restaurants, a brewery, and a roastery, with communal seating and a roof deck. It raised more than $120,000, which will go towards various expenses, including design and legal costs.
In other Providence news, Thee Red Fez (49 Peck St.) is changing things up, converting the upstairs dining room into a cocktail bar with its own name, White Rabbit. Get dinner at the Fez Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 5 p.m., and drink snazzy cocktails upstairs Thursday through Saturday, starting at 5 p.m.
And in other Providence news, North is now up and running at its new location, the first floor of the Dean Hotel (122 Fountain St.). Stay tuned for details on what the team plans to do with the original space at 3 Luongo Sq. — owner James Mark promises a simpler neighborhood spot that could open in a few short months.
- New England’s 38 Essential Restaurants: A guide to the best of the best throughout New England, compiled by Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison with the help of food writers from around the region.
- The 9 Hottest New Restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island: Updated in October 2017, this map highlights some of the hot new spots to hit the Providence dining scene in 2017.
- Eater Maine: Eater Boston’s sister site to the north has been largely retired, but stop by the homepage now and then for updates to major maps, such as the Heatmap, which tracks some of the hottest new openings.
- Maine Restaurant News Archive on Eater Boston: While most Maine news going forward will appear right here in this New England news round-up, older stories are archived at the Maine Restaurant News Archive link.
- A Guide to Dining and Drinking in Portsmouth and Kittery: Take a trip up to the New Hampshire-Maine border.
- Eater Recommends: What to Eat and Drink in Portsmouth and Kittery: Don’t have time to read the whole guide mentioned above? Skip to this map, which highlights some of the Eater Boston team’s Portsmouth and Kittery favorites.
- Where to Drink Beer in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: And here’s the beer-specific accompaniment to the above two links.