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A Decadent Dessert and Cocktail Bar Opens Next Month in Portland

And other regional food and beverage updates from New England, beyond the borders of Massachusetts

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Gross Confection Bar
Gross Confection Bar dessert
Gross Confection Bar/Kickstarter

Updated weekly, this round-up summarizes the latest restaurant news from New England, beyond the borders of Massachusetts — restaurant openings, closures, and more in Portsmouth, Providence, Portland, and elsewhere. (This page will be updated throughout fall 2018; find the archive of summer 2018 news here and spring 2018 news here.)

Check back for updates — the most recent ones will always be at the top — and email with any tips pertaining to New England restaurant news.

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, 1/9/19: This page has now been retired; consult the winter 2019 round-up here.

December 18, 2018

CRANSTON, RHODE ISLANDBettola (44 Rolfe Sq.) is now open in Cranston, serving Italian dishes from customizable pizzas to pasta (gluten-free or not), sandwiches, and a roasted half chicken. Appetizers include Roman artichokes, eggplant rollatini, and garlic bread, and there are salads and desserts. Bettola also offers takeout and delivery.

EAST GREENWICH, RHODE ISLANDLineSider Brewing (1485 S County Trl.) is up and running in more than 4,000 square feet of space. Owners Jeremy Ruff and Dan Koppe put between eight and 14 beers on tap in the brewery, with the taproom open Friday and Saturday. Customers can bring their own food or order from the food trucks LineSider brings in.

PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLANDThe Rhody Hen Cafe (350 Prospect St.) has opened for breakfast and lunch, serving a range of dishes from eggs Benedict to cinnamon roll French toast, fried chicken, Cuban sandwiches, muffins, and more.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A dessert and cocktail bar called Gross Confection Bar (57 Exchange St.) will open the first week of January in Portland. Owner Brant Dadaleares puts dessert front and center, offering desserts for one, two, or four or more people, consisting of cakes, parfait, tarts, custard, and so much more. There will also be ice cream, chocolate and confections, and cheese, plus a selection of cocktails, wine, ports, and sherry.

Elsewhere in Portland, William Dowd and Jared Dinsmore plan to open Bird & Co. (539 Deering Ave.), serving Mexican and Southwestern American dishes. The restaurant could open in January and will serve lunch and dinner.

Plus, a new restaurant debuted in the Old port area of Portland earlier this month: Korean BBQ Grill is now open at 31 Exchange St. serving assorted barbecue meats and dipping sauces.

December 11, 2018

Fat Boy Drive-In
Fat Boy Drive-In
Fat Boy Drive-In/Facebook

BIDDEFORD, MAINE — The Farm to Coast cafe — a brick-and-mortar offshoot of food truck Farm to Coast Mobile Kitchen — is now open at North Dam Mill, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch, including tofu and pork belly banh mi, steamed buns, focaccia pizza, soups, and specials. There are also pastries, coffee, and tea.

BRUNSWICK, MAINEFat Boy Drive-In (111 Bath Rd.) is up for sale. The nostalgic establishment has operated seasonally since 1955, serving hamburgers, lobster rolls, sandwiches, chicken fingers, fried fish, soda, frappes, and more. The family-owned business closed as usual for the season after Labor Day Weekend, but now the property is listed for sale.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A Public Market House business that predominantly serves arepas will open a second location in the Portland area. Maiz (28 Monument Wy.) owners Martha Leonard and Niky Walter leased a space at 621 Forest Ave. and will work to open there in 2019. In addition to arepas, Maiz serves empanadas, choclo, and pan de bono.

In other Portland news, the Maine-inspired, New York-based lobster roll chain Luke’s Lobster will expand to Portland in dramatic fashion, with a 175-seat restaurant at 60 Portland Pier. The restaurant’s founder, Luke Holden, is originally from Cape Elizabeth nearby. This will be the largest location by far, set to open in the summer of 2019, and it sits adjacent to a lobster distribution and wholesale facility Luke’s opened in July.

December 4, 2018

Bolster, Snow & Co.
Bolster, Snow & Co. burger
Bolster, Snow & Co./Facebook

LEWISTON, MAINEThe Heritage Restaurant (265 Lisbon St.) is now open. It serves a selection of American and Somali dishes, with both seated service and carry-out options.

Also in Lewiston, a 275-seat American comfort food buffet is coming to the Lewiston Mall (20 East Ave.), opening around January 2019 in the former Hibachi Super Buffet space.

Portland Pie Co.’s location in Lewiston’s old Lincoln Street firehouse is also still in the works; it could open in mid-to-late summer 2019.

MILFORD, NEW HAMPSHIREGreenleaf Restaurant (54 Nashua St.) is slated to open in spring 2019 under the direction of chefs Chris Viaud and Keith Sarasin (who are the executive chef and founder of farm-to-table event series the Farmers Dinner, respectively), who are focusing on local sourcing for a menu of New England classics. The restaurant will be situated in a former bank building and will have an open-concept kitchen with a chef’s table, a dining room, and a 12-seat bar.

PORTLAND, MAINEBolster, Snow & Co., located inside the Francis hotel (747 Congress St.), has closed. Francis owners Nate and Tony DeLois announced the closure, indicating the restaurant would reopen once more for its Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. In the meantime, the space will be available for pop-ups and events while the hotel seeks a new operator. Open for only a year, Bolster, Snow & Co. got great reviews from diners as well as the Press Herald. Executive chef Nick Verdisco was an alum of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Inn at Pound Ridge in New York.

In other Portland news, the city’s new row of shipping container establishments is already undergoing some change: All Those Who Wander (93 Washington Ave. Unit 5), a coffee shop that opened in late October, has already closed. In late November, the team announcing an upcoming relocation but were not ready to share an address; now, the shop’s website and social media channels are offline. Stay tuned for updates.

And also in Portland, a longtime dive bar with an eye-raising name is on the verge of making a comeback: Three Dollar Deweys (241 Commercial St.), which closed in July, has been purchased by a local business owner who hopes to reopen it come next spring. The bar first opened in a different location in 1980 before it found its home on Commercial Street, and it changed owners once in that time. Now, new owner Joe Christopher promises to keep the bar’s 36 tap lines flowing with local beer, though he plans to change the menu to accommodate vegetarian and grain-free diners and will make some cosmetic changes to the space. No word on whether he plans to keep the name, which evokes old-timey language from brothels.

WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND — A political brouhaha has emerged for Amigos Taqueria (2 Canal St.) after the establishment’s employees wore shirts that read “86 45” on midterm election day this year, a message advocating impeachment of the current president. (If something is “86ed” in restaurant jargon, it’s taken off the menu, it has run out, or similar; when the verb is used with a person, it typically means they’re being ejected or refused service.) The restaurant has come under fire from a state senator for the shirts and fielded angry calls and messages as well. The restaurant now displays a full statement on its website clarifying its intent, emphasizing that the shirts were in support of impeachment but were not a call to violence.

November 27, 2018

Batson River Brewing & Distilling
Batson River Brewing & Distilling
Batson River Brewing & Distilling/Facebook

KENNEBUNK, MAINEBatson River Brewing & Distilling (12 Western Ave.), which has been growing its own hops and botanicals on a centuries-old Kennebunkport farm over the past few years, will open the doors to its tasting room on Wednesday, November 28. To start, the new business — which donates 4% of its profits to Maine animal shelters — will have three beers on hand (an IPA, a pale ale, and a stout), along with some food, as well as games like shuffleboard and darts. Batson River will start to sell its spirits throughout December and January. The opening event on November 28 will run from 4 to 10 p.m.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDSarto (86 Dorrance St.) is now open in Providence, fashioning itself as an osteria and salumeria with a touch of local influence on rustic Italian dishes. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering family-style service, individual entrees like pasta and pork shank, and more.

WARWICK, RHODE ISLANDApponaug Brewing (334 Knight St.) has opened in the Pontiac Mill with a 10-barrel brewing system and a full kitchen. Beers include saisons, New England-style IPAs, a German festbier, and a helles lager, among others. For food, customers will find cheese boards, pretzels, assorted french fries, salads, flatbreads, and three kinds of tacos. There’s also a selection of liquors and wines, plus soft drinks, ginger beer, and coffee.

November 20, 2018

Grace Portland
Grace Portland

BIDDEFORD, MAINETime & Tide (35 Main St.) is now open, with co-owners Briana Campbell and Jon Phillips roasting beans and serving espresso, pour over, and other coffee beverages. It operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

LONDONDERRY, NEW HAMPSHIRE — An East Boston pub plans to push north into New Hampshire. Renegade’s Pub will open a second location in Londonderry at 103 Nashua Rd. The space is under construction, and once it opens will presumably mirror its Boston counterpart with craft beer, bourbon, pub fare, and affordable burgers.

MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRETwin Barns Brewing Company (194 Daniel Webster Hwy.) heads for the lakes region of New Hampshire with a goal of opening by June 2019. Co-founders Dave Picarillo and Bruce Walton took over the former home to the American Police Motorcycle Museum and have started converting the space (in two barns joined together) into a 10-barrel brewhouse and pub, which will eventually have outdoor seating. Follow along with the brewery’s progress on Instagram.

PORTLAND, MAINEGrace Restaurant, which is situated within a former Methodist church at 15 Chestnut St., will cease its dining operations at the end of the year, with owner Anne Verrill announcing the restaurant’s shift in focus to events exclusively. “We are excited about the future and look forward to being able to host a wider range of functions with a more flexible schedule,” she wrote. December 31 will be the restaurant’s last full day of service.

November 13, 2018

French toast at Palace Diner
French toast at Palace Diner
Bill Addison/Eater

BIDDEFORD, MAINE — Eater’s national critic Bill Addison has released his newest incarnation of his list of the country’s 38 essential restaurants. Only one New England spot makes the cut this year, and it’s in Biddeford: Palace Diner (18 Franklin St.). “Eating here haunts me,” writes Addison. “I can’t find better light, lemony, buttery pancakes, or a more precisely engineered egg sandwich, and theirs is the only tuna melt I ever hunger after.”

In other Biddeford news, Farm to Coast Mobile Kitchen will add a permanent arm to its business. The food truck has secured a cafe space in Biddeford, and the buildout is underway within the North Dam Mill. Keep up with the progress on social media.

BRIDGEPORT, CONNECTICUT — Top Chef alum Chris Scott (of soul food restaurant Butterfunk Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York) is opening Birdman Juke Joint in Bridgeport, serving fried chicken as well as “incredible sides” and “classic Southern desserts in the form of soft serve ice cream,” not to mention “traditional Southern cocktails and then some.” There will be live music, too. Follow the new place on Instagram for updates, after taking a minute to gaze at these biscuits.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIREThe Elephantine Bakery (10 Commercial Alley, No. 2) will open soon in Portsmouth, serving “fine breads and pastries inspired by the Mediterranean.” There will be French batards, sourdough boules, asiago cheese fougasse, and more pastries and breads. The bakery will announce its opening details on social media.

Meanwhile, over at 100 Market St., Lure Bar & Kitchen is now open and serving a mix of seafood and classic New England dishes like stuffed squash. There are crudo options, tinned seafood selections, and soups and salads, plus charcuterie and cheese. On the beverage side, Lure has a handful of signature cocktails plus rotating gin cocktail offerings, as well as wine and beer.

November 6, 2018

De Nada Empanadas
De Nada Empanadas
De Nada Empanadas/Instagram

PORTLAND, MAINETotally Tubers (28 Monument Wy.) has opened at Portland’s Public Market House, selling potato-based dishes. The owners of Daily Greens — a salad company also located in the market — are behind the potato shop. Another vendor called Mr. Tuna is now also open at the Public Market House, serving hand rolls and sushi burritos.

Meanwhile, De ‘Nada Empanadas will be operating around Portland for the season. It debuted over the weekend at Bunker Brewing, and its menu includes pork, chicken, and spinach versions.

Candy’s, a forthcoming project designed to serve as a hub for the queer community, is in the works for Portland. It will include a coffee shop and bar, and it could host events and activities once it opens.

WESTBROOK, MAINE — A food hall is also on the way to the Portland area: Rock Row is now accepting vendor applications. The development will span 25,000 square feet, with 15 food vendors and seven tasting rooms, plus seating for more than 500 people.

YARMOUTH, MAINEThe Garrison (81 Bridge St.) is on its way to Yarmouth, courtesy of chef Christian Hayes. The restaurant is slated to open in 2019.

October 23, 2018

All Those Who Wander
All Those Who Wander
All Those Who Wander/Instagram

EAST GREENWICH, RHODE ISLAND — Providence, Rhode Island’s Circe Restaurant & Bar has expanded to East Greenwich, where it opened just a few weeks ago at 1646 Division Rd. The restaurant serves an array of seafood and meat entrees, plus grilled and raw bar items, vegetables, and pasta dishes.

NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUTPoke Cape (165 Orange St.) is now open near Yale and the New Haven train station. Serving poke bowls, the restaurant offers both pre-set and customizable options with proteins including tuna, salmon, shrimp, chicken, and tofu. There are various toppings, vegetables, and dressings available as well.

Steamed (77 Whitney Ave.) also opened recently in New Haven, serving dim sum, noodle soups, and various appetizers, plus hot and iced teas.

MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUTPerkatory Coffee Roasters (725 Main St. Unit 23) opened last month, with a focus on small-batch roasted coffee beans. The shop has a punk rock feel to it, with its single-origin beans listed on skateboards hung on the walls. The beverage list offers pour over, cold brew, and nitro coffee, plus blended mocha, matcha, and sea salt caramel drinks.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A lineup of shipping container businesses on Washington Avenue welcomed a new member this week. All Those Who Wander (93 Washington Ave. Unit 5) opened on Monday, October 22, and it serves a range of cafe fare, including coffee beverages made with beans from Parlor Coffee, plus assorted teas, chai, and more.

Meanwhile, around the corner at 41 Fox St., the Portland Zoo is now open. No, you won’t find any animals here, but you will find a selection of local beers, including Oxbow, Lone Pine, Rising Tide, Fore River, Allagash, Orono Brewing, Foundation, and Battery Steele, according to the Portland Food Map. This space was previously home to One Eye Open Brewing, but with its transition to the Zoo, it has a taproom space with a television and outdoor space for food vendors. The bar is open seven days a week starting at 2 p.m.

October 16, 2018

Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery
Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery
Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery/Facebook

PORTLAND, MAINEMaine Oyster Company (38 Portland St.) is now open and serving a handful of varieties of oysters, plus lobster rolls and chowder.

Additionally, Root Wild (135 Washington Ave.) successfully secured its brewery license and plans to open on Saturday, October 20, at 12 p.m. The business specializes in kombucha in a variety of flavors.

RAYMOND, NEW HAMPSHIRETuckaway Tavern and Butchery fell victim to a burglary when a thief allegedly stole around $25,000 from the restaurant. In response, Tuckaway launched a “Tip-Off for Tips” rewards system to help police catch the thief. The restaurant will offer $2,000 cash and free steak tips for the duration of the suspect’s sentence.

SHELBURNE, VERMONTPeg & Ter’s (5573 Shelburne Rd.) recently opened under the direction of wife-and-husband team Tina and Johnny Helzer. The restaurant is dedicated to Tina Helzer’s late parents, Peggy and Terry, who are described on the website as “consummate hosts, always ready with a cocktail and a smile for their friends at the strike of 5 o’clock.” The Helzers aim to carry this spirit into the restaurant, which serves beer, wine, cocktails, and a simple menu of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and a few desserts.

October 9, 2018

saint monday
Saint Monday pastries
Saint Monday/Instagram

PORTLAND, MAINEHero’s Subs (50 Wharf St.) has expanded to Portland from Lewiston, and it’s serving a menu of signature subs, build-your-own sandwiches, salads, and more.

The Cheese Shop of Portland (93 Washington Ave.) has also opened, making its home inside a converted shipping container. Owners Mary and Will Sissle are both former Formaggio Kitchen team members who met while working at Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco. In addition to cheese and retail products, the shop also sells sandwiches and platters to go.

In further Portland news, Maine Oyster Company (38 Portland St.) will celebrate its grand opening on October 12. The 30-seat restaurant opens at 4 p.m. on that day, and its menu features a range of seafood, including oysters, chowder, and lobster rolls.

Finally, Crunchy Poké (426 Fore St.) debuts on October 10, with special deals for its first day. The restaurant took over for East End Cupcake, and its menu features poke bowls, sushi burritos, and ramen.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A decades-old iconic music venue and restaurant in Portsmouth makes its grand return this month under new ownership and following substantial renovations to its interior. The Press Room (77 Daniel St.) will reopen on October 26, and its new owners aim to keep alive the tradition of live music that’s been a staple of the venue since it opened in 1976.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDSaint Monday (393 West Fountain St.) is a new hybrid coffee shop and bar in Providence. It serves pastries, tea, coffee, cocktails, burgers, and more, currently operating from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (cafe hours) and from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. (bar hours).

September 25, 2018

Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound
Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound
Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound/Facebook

PORTLAND, MAINEThe Crooked Mile Cafe (428 Brighton Ave.) has taken over a damaged building and renovated the space to accommodate a second location. The new spot will serve the same menu as the original Milk Street location, including sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, and coffee.

In other Portland news, Babylon (1192 Forest Ave.) has closed down after six years in business, but the owners are looking for a new location in either Portland, South Portland, or Westbrook.

Plus, two Portland restaurant industry vets with deep pedigrees in Boston talk with Lauren Friel (of the forthcoming Rebel Rebel Wine Bar in Somerville — and also an Eater Boston alum) for Chefsfeed about mental health in the industry. Rian Wyllie (previously of Deep Ellum and Lone Star Taco Bar) and Jen Trebino-Wyllie (previously of Oleana) moved to Portland to open Little Giant (211 Danforth St.), but both have since moved on to new projects, and they share their reasoning, along with stories of their experiences in the industry.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — A new Italian restaurant called Sarto (86 Dorrance St.) will open next month in Providence. Chef Robert Andreozzi, an alum of New York mainstays Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Del Posto Ristorante, will oversee the menu pegged as “Rhode Island-inspired regional Italian cuisine,” with an accompanying wine list and cocktails. To start, the restaurant will serve dinner, later adding cafe fare for breakfast and lunch on weekdays.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE — A plan from Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound (465 Seawall Rd.) that aimed to humanize the lobster-cooking process by exposing its lobsters to marijuana smoke before killing them has come up against the state’s health department. The state asked the restaurant not to move forward with the method, indicating it would classify the serving of lobsters treated with this method “as adulterated and therefore illegal.” This may not be the end of it, though: Owner Charlotte Gill plans to continue researching the state’s laws and codes to find a way to legally implement the practice, “out of compassion for the lobsters and their well-being, not our own,” a message on the restaurant’s website reads.

Further Reading

Spicy miso ramen at Anju Noodle Bar
Spicy miso ramen at Anju Noodle Bar
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater