Broadening the scope a bit, here’s the latest restaurant news from beyond Massachusetts; we’re keeping an eye out for dining developments throughout the rest of New England. This piece is updated on a weekly basis, covering restaurant openings, closures, and more in Portsmouth, Providence, Portland, and elsewhere. (Find the archive of spring 2018 news here.)
Check back for updates — the most recent ones will always be at the top — and email firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips pertaining to New England restaurant news beyond the borders of Massachusetts.
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.
Update, September 25, 2018: Now that summer 2018 is over, this page is no longer being updated. Check out the fall 2018 version here.
September 11, 2018
AUBURN, MAINE — Side By Each Brewing Co. (1110 Minot Ave.) will open this winter with a dozen varieties of beer, from IPAs and sours to wheat beers, Belgian styles, and some barrel-aged offerings. The brewery will double as a cafe during the day (as these things go), serving beverages with beans from Coffee By Design from Portland. A popular poutine truck, Pinky D’s Poutine Factory, will occupy kitchen space in the brewery, serving counter-service poutine.
BEDFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Moxie may soon be available to a wider audience: Coca-Cola acquired the classic New England soda brand from Coca-Cola of Northern New England, an independent bottling partner in Bedford. The company plans to continue bottling Moxie in New Hampshire but may expand its reach to other regions.
BURLINGTON, VERMONT — Magnolia Bistro (1 Lawson Ln.) has closed down in Burlington after 12 years in operation. Earlier this year, the owner had received some flack for messages posted on Facebook, for which he later apologized.
CLAREMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Globe featured Remix Coffee Bar and Social Club (1 Pleasant St.), which provides an alternative to the typical alcohol-filled bar and social scene. The venue opens from 7 to 10 p.m. on Fridays with a donation-based system. It’s a faith-based organization aimed at providing a relaxed atmosphere where “people of all walks” can find community.
August 28, 2018
BRUNSWICK, MAINE — A crash of crustaceans left 7,000 lobsters scattered about a roadway in Maine. A truck carrying 60 to 70 crates of lobsters overturned on the road, and authorities spent hours cleaning up the spill. The lobsters were deemed inedible due to the time spent out of refrigeration.
BURLINGTON, VERMONT — Fans of Montreal’s longstanding St-Viateur Bagel Shop recently became aware that Vermont’s Myer’s Bagel Bakery has signage featuring a cartoon bagel wearing shoes and gloves and waving at passersby — an extraordinarily similar logo to the one used at St-Viateur. But after the initial outrage died down, it came out that it’s more of an homage than a theft, supported by a verbal agreement between the shop’s founders. The Vermont shop is actually named for the founder of St-Viateur, Myer Lewkowicz, and Myer’s owner Lloyd Squires learned the craft of making wood-fired Montreal-style bagels from Lewkowicz at St-Viateur. (In fact, Squires’ mother and sister reportedly still work at St-Viateur.)
PORTLAND, MAINE — Hella Good Tacos (500 Washington Ave.) closed down last weekend after eight years in operation as both a food cart and restaurant. Owners Josh and Melissa Bankhead announced the news on Facebook, sharing their decision to “let go and try something new.”
Also in Portland, Shucks Maine Lobster has plans to build out a seafood restaurant on the Portland waterfront. The proposed 16,000-square-foot complex will reportedly house a lobster processing plant, a raw bar, and a test kitchen. The goal will be to educate visitors on the journey seafood makes from ocean to table.
Elsewhere in Portland, a new food cart hits the streets: The Steam Machine serves coconut milk steamed buns filled with tofu, pickled veggies, coconut curry aioli, and cilantro, among other things. Because the cart is mobile, it will bounce around various locations in Southern Maine, and it has already appeared at Barreled Souls Brewing Company in Saco, Battery Steele Brewing, and a few outdoor locations.
Additionally, Aurora Provisions Cafe (64 Pine St.) will close down the restaurant portion of its business in Portland to focus on catering. Its final day will be September 1, and owner Melissa Carr will refocus attention on realizing the “catering business’ full potential” and meeting demand.
SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE — Hana Thai (740 Broadway) has opened in South Portland, joining other restaurants in the same Veranda Thai family. The place is owned by Than Pham, a sibling of Hai Pham, who opened the first Veranda Thai location.
August 21, 2018
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Dizzy Birds Rotisserie (59 Main St.) will open in Biddeford, specializing in rotisserie-cooked chicken. Owner Tom Peacock has been working on the restaurant since late 2017, and according to Facebook, the restaurant will do dine-in and takeout, along with catering. Previewed items on social media show rotisserie chicken, a Brussels sprout and kale salad with apples and dried cranberries, peach upside-down cake, and grilled vegetables.
NEWINGTON, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Moko Japanese Steakhouse (2060 Woodbury Ave.) is set to open soon. (It does not appear to be connected to Moko Japanese Cuisine, which is in South Boston.) It will offer hibachi, plus sushi, soup, assorted tempura appetizers, and more.
WATERVILLE, MAINE — The owners of Bolley’s Famous Franks (96 College Ave.) have faced brutal backlash from customers following a switch from crinkle-cut to straight-cut french fries. Leslie Parsons addressed the change on Facebook, explaining the cost involved in producing the crinkle-cut fries and the rationale behind the switch, while commenting on the hostile responses she has received: “I will absolutely not tolerate being sworn at, threatened physical harm to myself, my husband and children.”
WESTBROOK, MAINE — Construction is underway at Roots Cafe (20 School St.), just outside of Portland. The owners are Aimee Fortier, Lorraine Fagela, and Faye Wilson, and they’re working to open the cafe in September, with dining space inside, on an outdoor patio, and on a roof deck. The menu will include crepes, sandwiches, soups, salads, and coffee from Farm House Coffee Roasters in Winterport.
WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT — A Connecticut restaurant has removed an offensively named cocktail from its menu. A rum-based drink called the “Tuskegee Experiment” referred to an unethical 40-year study tracking the progression of untreated syphilis in African-American men, who participated thinking they were receiving free medical care but were never actually treated for syphilis. All menus referencing the drink have reportedly been removed from the restaurant, though the initial rationale behind the naming is unknown.
August 14, 2018
MASHANTUCKET, CONNECTICUT — The Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center plans to hold an Intertribal Food Sovereignty Summit from August 20 to 23. The event will explore indigenous food landscapes and methods of cultivating produce and wildlife. Tickets are available online, and meals will be included.
PORTLAND, MAINE — The 5 Spot sandwich shop is opening a Philadelphia-inspired bar in the basement. The Philly Underground, which has acquired its liquor license, is now under construction under the 5 Spot at 935 Congress St. and full of Philly-themed murals. (The 5 Spot itself draws inspiration from Philadelphia, serving up cheesesteaks and more.)
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Loaded Question Brewing Co. (909 Islington St.) is now up and running in Portsmouth, churning out saisons, IPAs, cream ales, and a Belgian single. Two friends who run other local businesses started the brewery, which operates out of an inconspicuous building in West Portsmouth.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — An Australian-inspired cafe in Providence called Sydney (400 Exchange St.) plans to add two new locations: one in Portsmouth and another in Cranston, opening in November and next year, respectively. The menus at the new locations will bear resemblance to the Providence cafe, including baked goods, breakfast and lunch items, and coffee. New additions include smoothie bowls, noodles, and vegan and gluten-free baked goods.
August 7, 2018
FREEPORT, MAINE — Three breweries are on the way to Freeport, Maine: Stars and Stripes Brewing Co. (8 Varney Rd.) will span 2,000 square feet and is set to open later this fall, while Mast Landing of Westbrook will open at 475-491 US Route 1 and will be about three times as large, with a deck. Another even larger brewery (around 15,000 square feet) is in the works for the area, but few details are known at this point.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Bon Appétit called out Portland, Maine, as its “Restaurant City of the Year,” making note of places like Tandem Bakery, the Shop at Island Creek Oysters, Rose Foods, and of course several craft beer producers, from Bissell Brothers to Allagash and Oxbow. With much to eat and much to toast, this celebration of Portland’s restaurant world is worth a read.
In other Portland-in-the-media news, learn the ins and outs of Parlor Ice Cream Co., directly from founder and Boston expat Jacqueline Dole. She tells Cherry Bombe about how she founded the company and expanded it from a pop-up ice cream concept to a pint-producing presence across New England. “Life is too short to continuously ask permission from others — it’s up to you to learn what you need to do and how you need to make it happen,” she said.
And in Portland restaurant opening and closing news, a new restaurant has opened: Pizzarino (505 Fore St.) serves pizza, pasta, salads, and other Italian dishes, plus cocktails, beer, and wine. Meanwhile, two longtime Portland bars have closed. Dive bar Forest Gardens has served its last beers, and the three-tap, paper-plate restaurant will transfer to new owners, who will rename it 371 but plan to keep it essentially the same. Additionally, the nearly 40-year-old Three Dollar Deweys closed suddenly, as the family reportedly decided to retire.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Rhode Island Monthly explores the cost of dining out in the small seaside state, including insights from chef Benjamin Sukle, co-owner of Birch and repeat James Beard award nominee for Best Chef: Northeast. From setting menu prices to keeping operating costs down, Sukle shares his story.
July 24, 2018
BRISTOL, RHODE ISLAND — Sakurtani (531 Wood St.) opened recently in Bristol, featuring eleven ramen dishes made with either pork or sesame broth, simmered for 24 hours. The restaurant also has meat skewers, or yakitori, plus appetizers and salads. For beverages, Sakurtani offers sake, beer, and soft drinks.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Bob’s Clam Hut (111 Cumberland Ave.), a quintessential New England seafood shack in Kittery, Maine, now has a location in Portland as well. The restaurant added some new items to the menu, like seafood tacos and a fried lobster tail basket, and there’s the usual selection of fried clams, chowder, and lobster rolls, plus local craft beer.
WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND — The recently opened Vanda Cucina (1 Centerville Rd.) serves up a menu of Italian food in Warwick. With antipasti like seasonal bruschetta, ricotta with fruit jam, calamari with smoked tomato, and meatballs with pomodoro, there are also salads, vegetables, and assorted mains, including pasta.
July 17, 2018
MILO, MAINE — Portland’s coveted Bissell Brothers Brewery has expanded with a wild beer brewery in Milo, the founders’ hometown. Called Bissell Brothers Three Rivers (157 Elm St.), the new taproom and production facility will be used for creating sour beers that have been fermented and aged. There will be different pours in Milo than at the Portland brewery, along with some funky offerings.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Silly’s aforementioned vegan counterpart is now open. The 30-year-old restaurant expanded nearby with Simply Vegan by Silly’s (68 Washington Ave.), which offers counter seats and takeout options for its menu of vegan meals, sauces, baked goods, and more.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — A new kind of coffee shop has arrived in Providence. Shiru Cafe serves free coffee for university students, who must provide certain personal information in exchange, including their name, e-mail, age, field of study, and professional interests. The cafe works with corporate sponsors who are able to communicate with patrons based on their details. Shiru will also reportedly open a location near Harvard University this fall.
July 10, 2018
CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND — Takkei (745 Reservoir Ave.) is now open, serving falafel, shawarma, kebabs, and more. Items are available as sandwiches, plates, or as entrees with sides like hummus, fries, or baba ghanoush.
GREAT DIAMOND ISLAND, MAINE — The aforementioned Crown Jewel (255 Diamond Ave.) is now open, with flamingo wallpaper and a seafood-rich menu of oysters, lobster, whitefish, and more.
MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT — A new source for African cuisine has arrived in Connecticut, courtesy of Walia Ethiopian Restaurant (836 Main St.). The restaurant serves injera, which is a dosa-like spongy flatbread made from teff flour, with assorted meat and vegetarian sides. The restaurant has gluten-free and vegan options, according to its website.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Brookline’s Ganko Ittetsu Ramen, one of the best ramen options in town, is on the verge of opening a location in Providence at 215 Thayer St. The shop serves six kinds of ramen, including miso, shio, shoyu, and tan tan. Stay tuned for an opening date.
SOUTH WINDSOR, CONNECTICUT — Red Heat Tavern (400 Evergreen Wy.) expanded from Massachusetts to Connecticut, with a new location in South Windsor. It serves the same menu of fire-cooked foods, from roasted meatloaf to wings, plus items like chipotle ribs, barbecue platters, and more.
July 3, 2018
GREAT DIAMOND ISLAND, MAINE — Just across the harbor from Portland proper, Great Diamond Island will soon have a new restaurant: Crown Jewel (255 Diamond Ave.) will open on the island, serving oysters prepared multiple ways, along with poached lobster, burgers, pan-seared whitefish, and other appetizers, plus shaved ice for dessert. Go for the food and stay for the flamingo wallpaper.
MIDDLETOWN, RHODE ISLAND — Newport Vineyards has expanded its beverage-making capacity from just wine to include beer, with the opening of Taproot Brewing Co. The seven-barrel brewhouse operates at the winery, and visitors are able to get beer on tap to enjoy onsite or in cans for takeaway.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Poké Pop (658 Congress St.) opens on Friday, July 6 in Longfellow Square. The new poke shop will serve a mix of seafood and vegetarian rice bowls, with ingredients ranging from salmon to radishes and more.
June 26, 2018
NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT — The Kitchen (136 Main St.), a sibling to MofonGo Restaurant, has opened in New Britain, serving pizza, pasta, burgers, and a mix of other entrees, plus wine and craft beer. It’s open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Crunchy Poké (426 Fore St.) could open in September in the former East End Cupcakes space. Not much is known about the menu yet, but the restaurant’s Instagram feed shows off some typical poke ingredients, including Atlantic salmon, cabbage, radishes, and shredded carrots. Stay tuned to social media for updates.
Elsewhere in Portland, new vendors are moving into the Public Market House (2 Monument Sq.), including the pop-up Mr. Tuna, Sichuan Kitchen, and a new place called Totally Tubers that serves (you guessed it) potatoes.
Additionally, Portland’s nearly 30-year-old Silly’s Restaurant will expand down the street with Simply Vegan By Silly’s (68 Washington Ave.), a cafe and market that will sell vegan meals, sauces, baked goods, and other items. There will be nine counter seats with food available for takeout. It could open in July.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A pizza restaurant with locations in Manchester and Epping has expanded to Portsmouth: 900 Degrees is now open at 2454 Lafayette Rd., serving pizza, pasta, appetizers, and salads.
- 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.