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Providence’s Red Fez to Close After 18 Years

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

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Bluefish and Old Bay fries at Thee Red Fez in Providence
Bluefish and Old Bay fries at Thee Red Fez in Providence
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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. (Find the archive of summer 2018 news here, spring 2018 news here, and fall 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.

March 19, 2019

BATH, MAINESisters Gourmet Deli will expand to Bath from Portland. The owners took over the Sandwich Shop space (45 Vine St.) and will renovate it to accommodate their deli operation. Updates will be shared on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

FREEPORT, MAINE — Celebrating 10 years in business, Maine Beer Company recently unveiled an expanded taproom and brewing capacity that will allow it to double its production. The taproom has 20 tap lines, with some exclusive offerings and bottles available for purchase. Customers can also order wood-fired pizza in the new taproom, which has communal seating and a patio area that will be heated during winter months. The expansion also serves the brewing company’s environmental values — it uses solar energy, and the company will continue to devote one percent of its annual sales to environmental non-profits.

PORTLAND, MAINE — Canadian chain Copper Branch plans to open in Portland within the Canal Plaza building. The vegan restaurant serves rice, quinoa, noodle, and salad bowls, plus burgers, sandwiches, and sides.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Longtime crowd favorite Thee Red Fez (49 Peck St.) will end its run in Providence on March 30 after 18 years. The owners announced the impending closure on Facebook, indicating the building that houses the restaurant has been sold. “New adventures await for us, and we hope you remember the fez fondly,” the message read.

Shake Shack (249 Thayer St.) opens its first location in Rhode Island on Wednesday, March 20. The New York fast-food chain known for its burgers and ice cream shakes will be in the heart of College Hill, near Brown University.

WALPOLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Well-known American filmmaker Ken Burns has stayed under the radar in another capacity: as a restaurateur, quietly holding partial ownership of the Restaurant at Burdick’s in New Hampshire for almost 18 years. He partnered with chocolatier Larry Burdick (of L.A. Burdick’s chocolate shop) to open the restaurant in 2001. Read more on the story of the partnership in Travel + Leisure.

March 12, 2019

Oysters at the Lost Kitchen
Oysters at the Lost Kitchen
Bill Addison/Eater

FREEDOM, MAINE — A notoriously hard-to-book restaurant has announced its reservation guidelines for this coming season. The Lost Kitchen (22 Mill St.) — one of New England’s most essential restaurants — will accept reservation requests via mailed notecard between April 1 and 15, after which owner Erin French and her staff will randomly select the individuals who will be offered the opportunity to make a reservation (more on the process here). French, who’s a semifinalist for a James Beard award this year, began this reservation method last year, making waves after searching for a more manageable process than the Lost Kitchen’s previous phone-in system, which proved overwhelming. As an added bonus, the act of physically mailing something dovetails well with the restaurant’s philosophy: “Through the use of simple postcards in such a hyper-digital age, we were reminded just how important it is to slow down, connect with others, and make it personal,” writes French on the Lost Kitchen’s website. “The cards connected us. And connecting brought us joy...and when you cook with joy, you can taste it.”

PORTLAND, MAINEGrippy Tannins (16 Middle St.) will open soon in Portland, serving as both a wine shop and a tasting room. Owner Lindsey Murray reportedly wanted to create an opportunity for people to taste and explore new wines to learn about something new they could then enjoy at home. The shop is named for a “structural component of wine that provides character and texture,” Murray wrote on the venue’s social media. It could open this spring.

Elsewhere in Portland, Bird & Co. (539 Deering Ave.) is now open for its first week and plans to hold an official grand opening celebration on Tuesday, March 19. The restaurant — a self-described “neighborhood bar” — took over the former Abilene space and serves tacos, cocktails, and beer.

WOONSOCKET, RHODE ISLANDNeos Greek Restaurant (480 Cass Ave.) opened recently in Rhode Island, offering a menu of classic Greek dishes, from mezze and souvlaki to pastitsio, moussaka, avgolemono soup, and loukoumades.

March 5, 2019

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

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT — A smoothie bowl chain with locations across the country has opened a new location in Hartford. Rush Bowls (15 Front St.) serves a selection of smoothies and bowls with various toppings.

NEWINGTON, CONNECTICUT — New York City’s Artichoke Basille’s Pizza has expanded to Newington, opening on the Berlin Turnpike. Known for its famous cream-sauced artichoke pizza, the restaurant serves a variety of other pizzas as well, plus meatballs, calzones, and tomato and mozzarella salads.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A restaurant called Flood’s is currently under construction and slated for a spring 2019 opening at the Francis, a boutique hotel at 747 Congress St., and owner Greg Mitchell shared a sample menu for the forthcoming restaurant when he applied for a liquor license. When Flood’s opens, it could serve a selection of bar snacks, including nuts, cheese toast, and grilled oysters. The proposed menu also includes salads; dishes like lamb shoulder and chicken schnitzel; assorted sides; like creamed spinach, Parker House rolls, and brown butter carrots; and classic desserts, like butterscotch pudding and chocolate souffle. Mitchell also co-owns Palace Diner in Biddeford, one of America’s 38 essential restaurants, per Eater’s former restaurant editor Bill Addison. “Eating here haunts me,” he wrote. “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.”

As announced earlier this year, Little Giant (211 Danforth St.) has now officially converted its market space into an all-day cafe, Giant (81 Clark St.), with baked goods, a deli case, takeout meals, lunch, and tinned fish. Customers can also purchase beer and wine, and the cafe will host a monthly dinner pop-up series, “Hush, Hush,” with a rotating theme. (Coming up on March 12: pizza, Sicilian wines, and soul music, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

Ten Ten Pié (171 Cumberland Ave.) has closed. Known for its selection of baked goods, hand pies, bentos, and other snacks and meals inspired by street food around the world, Ten Ten Pié had operated in Portland for about four and a half years. The bakery posted about its closure on Instagram, with a note of thanks for the community’s support.

Brewery Extrava (66 Cove St.) is in the works for Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. It will specialize in Belgian-style ales and will eventually have a tasting room with up to 12 beers on tap, plus outdoor seating. The owners are Joe and Charlene Doherty, along with brewer Michael LaCharite. Brewery Extrava aims to open this coming summer.

Rockland’s Ada’s Kitchen has leased a space in Portland, where it will open a second location. The restaurant will move into a space in the Lafayette Square apartment building at 638 Congress St. Ada’s Kitchen specializes in Italian dishes, including house-made pastas, pizza, meats and cheese, and more.

WARWICK, RHODE ISLANDCork & Rye Gastropub (255 Lambert Lind Hwy.) is now open, with a menu of pub fare and a wide selection of whiskey. There are burgers and sandwiches on the menu, along with mac and cheese, linguine with clams, grilled pizzas, nachos, crab cakes, and more.

February 26, 2019

Pokéworks poke bowl
Pokéworks poke bowl
Pokéworks [Official Photo]

BURLINGTON, VERMONT — Poke has made its way to Burlington, courtesy of the growing Pokéworks chain. Pokéworks (40 Church St.) is now open with its signature menu of poke bowls, sushi burritos, and salads.

MIDDLETOWN, CONNECTICUTThe Whey Stationary (544 Main St.) is now open, serving a menu of grilled cheese and potatoes in tot, chip, or fingerling form. Grilled cheese sandwich toppings include prosciutto, fig jam, bacon, roasted garlic, tomato, basil, and more, depending on the selection, and there are also salads, soups, and mac and cheese. The Whey Stationary also has beer and wine available.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIREFuki (2 Bow St.) has made its debut in the heart of Portsmouth. The restaurant serves a menu of “Asian fusion” dishes, from grilled eggplant and vegetable gyoza to yellowfin tuna crudo, wagyu beef burgers, duck wings, and smoked spare ribs. On the beverage side, Fuki serves cocktails, wine, and sake.

WISCASSET, MAINELe Garage (15 Water St.), which operated for decades on the waterfront before closing in 2017, now has a new owner. Chef Ed Colburn bought the restaurant from its previous owner, Cheryl Rust, and plans to open his own restaurant there while possibly keeping the same name. Colburn, who previously worked with the Daily Catch restaurants in Boston, will keep to a similar menu that features pasta and seafood but will also serve salads and meat entrees with a focus on local produce.

February 19, 2019

Chicken satay from Kuno in Portland
Chicken satay from Kuno in Portland

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLANDRoot (6 Broadway St.) is now open in Newport serving a fully vegan and kosher menu consisting of smoothies, smoothie bowls, assorted toasts, and grain bowls with vegetables.

NORTH KINGSTOWN, RHODE ISLANDBapsang (6170 Post Rd.) has opened in Rhode Island, featuring a menu of Korean fare, including dumplings, fried chicken wings, bibimbap, sizzling stone pot, and Korean barbecue.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A new food truck called Kuno debuted last weekend at Battery Steele Brewing, serving assorted Southeast Asian dishes. The truck specializes in curry laksa, Indonesian fried rice, Malaysian chicken satay, and more. Follow along with the truck on Instagram for updates on its schedule.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — An Australian-style cafe from Providence, Rhode Island, has expanded north to New Hampshire. Sydney (8 Russo Rd.) is an all-day cafe with beverages like flat whites and Vietnamese iced coffee, and food ranging from smoothie bowls and baked goods to lunch sandwiches, salads, and soups.

February 12, 2019

Sandwich from Other Side Delicatessen
Sandwich from Other Side Delicatessen
Other Side Delicatessen/Facebook

BELFAST, MAINEPerennial (84 Main St.) is on the way to Belfast, promising cider and dishes made with local produce. Founders Khristopher Hogg and Hunter Sunrise plan to open Perennial on April 3 and could eventually offer “tastings, talks, and other events” alongside regular restaurant operations.

BIDDEFORD, MAINEMagnus on Water (12 Water St.) is coming to Biddeford from Elda bartender Brian Catapang and former general manager Brittany Saliwanchik, who have partnered with Julia Russell and Carmen Harris. The restaurant will have 30 seats, with some additional outdoor seating in-season, and will reportedly feature a menu using locally foraged ingredients.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A future food truck called Basket & Blanket aims to hit the streets of Portland serving a menu of picnic-themed food. The team of Mike Allen and Avril Williams are crowdfunding their purchase of a food truck and some startup costs, and they already have a business plan in place that will focus on providing sandwiches, sides, desserts and drinks to customers, as well as donations of toiletries and blankets to individuals in need.

Meanwhile, the owners of Other Side Delicatessen in Portland plan to expand with Other Side Diner (500 Washington Ave.). Peter and Jessica Sueltenfuss will serve diner fare with a touch of Greek inspiration. Look out for the diner opening in April.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDAleppo Sweets (107 Ives St.) is now open and serving a menu of Syrian sweets and cafe fare. Founded by Youssef Akhtarini, who fled Syria’s civil war with his family, Aleppo Sweets offers assorted baklava by the box, along with soups, stuffed dates, mezze, fatayer (stuffed pastries), kebob, falafel, and coffees and teas.

February 5, 2019

Grilled Nutella pizza at Coals
Grilled Nutella pizza at Coals
Nella P./Yelp

EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Portsmouth’s 5 Thai Bistro has a new sibling headed for 69 Water St. in Exeter. Oba Noodle Bar is likely to open in mid-February, serving dishes such as kimchi noodle soup with bacon.

OXFORD, MAINE — Local favorite Oxbow Brewing Company now has its own tasting room and retail shop in Oxford, adding to its locations in Portland and Newcastle. The team plans to add a wood-fired pizzeria to the new location in the future and will brew special batches of beer onsite, too.

PORTLAND, MAINECoals Pizza, which has two locations in New York’s Westchester County, will expand to Portland, opening at 114 Preble St. (the former Portland & Rochester space). This will be the first Coals location outside of New York, but owner Billy Etzel reportedly has family connections to the state of Maine that pulled him in to expand north. The restaurant specializes in grilled pizza, including dessert options, such as fluffernutter and Nutella.

In somewhat related news, Garrett FitzGerald, who was previously involved in Portland & Rochester, has partnered with a new team to bring Royale Lunch Bar (11 Union St.) to life. The restaurant will offer sandwiches and burgers in the 25-seat space, in addition to takeout and catering. (“Montreal smoked meat and other lunchy treats,” per Instagram.) FitzGerald is also behind the Bar Harbor Lobster Company.

Elsewhere in Portland, Island Lobster Company aims to open by May in the former Peaks Island House space (20 Island Ave.). The new business, from owners Katie and Thom Werner, will incorporate a five-room bed-and-breakfast in addition to the 48-seat restaurant.

January 29, 2019

Portland Hunt & Alpine Club
The missing art at Portland Hunt & Alpine Club
Portland Hunt & Alpine Club/Facebook

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIREBotanica (110 Brewery Ln.) is now open in Portsmouth. Brendan Vesey, the owner of the Joinery in Newmarket, runs the French bistro, which seats 36 people and features a menu that includes dishes like duck meatballs, steak frites, pasta, and more. The beverage selection is heavily focused on gin.

PORTLAND, MAINEThe Portland Hunt & Alpine Club (75 Market St.) reports a theft: a painting of Crater Lake that had been hanging in the restaurant since its opening (and before that, for decades in the family home of one of the owners) was stolen from the restaurant. The owners are asking for anyone with information to get in touch.

January 22, 2019

Pho Keene Great
Pho Keene Great
Pho Keene Great/Facebook

KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A pho restaurant in Keene, Pho Keene Great, has received approval to hang its signage after some initial controversy over the name (see January 8 round-up below.) The forthcoming French-Vietnamese restaurant, opening in late winter, will be located at 11 Central Sq.

LONDONDERRY, NEW HAMPSHIRERenegade’s Pub, which operates in East Boston, will expand to Londonderry by the end of February. The restaurant has taken over the former Cafe Theresa space at 103 Nashua Rd. and will serve local craft beer and pub fare.

PORTLAND, MAINE — A bakery in South Portland has closed. Owners Pamela and James Plunkett announced the shuttering of Little Bigs (340 Main St.) on Facebook, thanking customers for their patronage.

A decorate-your-own bakery in Portland and Yarmouth has also closed. Ice It Bakery shut down bakery operations but will continue to offer wholesale goods and book birthday parties.

Mainely Wraps (431 Congress St.) has closed its South Portland and Scarborough locations to focus on its main Portland location. The restaurant serves wraps and sandwiches, plus soup, french fries, and mac and cheese.

Little Sichuan is now open in the Public Market House (28 Monument Sq.). It’s run by the same people behind Sichuan Kitchen, serving a selection of dumplings, pork buns, noodles, and more.

A new food truck in Maine plans to serve Southeast Asian street food. Kuno’s dishes include curry laksa, Indonesian fried rice, Malaysian chicken satay, and other dishes.

Rosanna’s Ice Cream (953 Congress St.) will close down at the end of February as the owner aims to take more control of her health. A Facebook announcement read: “The main reason is that the toll Rosanna’s has been taking on my physical health is unjustifiable. I’m ready to let go, get healthy, and try something new before diabetes gets more of a toehold (which it’s threatening to do).”

Coffee by Design (43 Washington Ave.) will close down at the end of February. Owners Mary Allen Lindermann and Alan Spear announced their plans on Facebook, indicating they had previously sold the building to the owners of Duckfat. The post went on to say, “We look forward to seeing what they choose to do, which will surely add to this already wonderful neighborhood.”

Little Giant (211 Danforth St.) — collectively an adjacent restaurant and market — will transform its market space into a coffee shop and wine bar. Owners Andrew and Briana Volk and Ian and Kate Malin will rename that portion of the business Giant, converting it first into a coffee house for baked goods, soups, sandwiches, and more, starting on March 1. Later on, after the summer, they’ll start to build out a full bar in the space in which to serve wine in the evenings, along with snacks and tinned fish.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDBarnaby’s Public House (385 Westminster St.) is now open in Providence, celebrating the era of pre-Prohibition with a vast selection of drinks and a food menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, and more.

January 8, 2019

Breaking New Grounds
Breaking New Grounds
Breaking New Grounds/Facebook

AUBURN, MAINESide By Each Brewing Co. and the Poutine Factory will open soon at 1110 Minot Ave., a former tractor dealership space that spans more than 10,000 square feet. The taproom will have 24 taps, but not just for beer. There will be 15 beers on tap, but also cold brew coffee, wine, cider, and carbonated water. The Poutine Factory will be a permanent fixture within the brewery and even has a partial food truck mounted on the wall.

KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A forthcoming Keene restaurant, Pho Keene Great, has temporarily taken down its signage after the city manager deemed it offensive and claimed that the restaurant hadn’t gotten proper permission to hang it up. As is not entirely uncommon with Vietnamese-American restaurants, this one makes punny use of the pronunciation of the Vietnamese soup pho, “fuh.”

KITTERY, MAINE — Chef Gary Kim, co-founder of Kittery’s Anju Noodle Bar and an alum of Uni in Boston, is bringing his Sheep & Wolves pop-up to Ore Nell’s BBQ (2 Badgers Island West) for the season, serving a special menu on Mondays and Tuesdays this winter. Monday’s menu will focus on street noodle dishes from Thailand, Japan, China, and Hong Kong, while the Tuesday menu will showcase food inspired by Seoul, Korea, and Los Angeles’s Koreatown.

PORTLAND, MAINE — Saco’s Quiero Cafe will expand to Portland, opening this spring at 3 Deering Ave. in the former Trattoria Fanny space. The restaurant will serve a selection of Latin American dishes, including empanadas, tamales, burritos, and juices.

Tim Ly and Shawn Freeman, who own Mellen Street Market, plan to constitute some of the space for a restaurant called Quinn’s Bardega (79 Mellen St.). The area will have 44 seats and a full liquor license.

Palace Diner (on the list of Eater’s national 38 Essential Restaurants) co-owner Greg Mitchell plans to open a restaurant in Portland at 747 Congress St. He’s still working on the details, but look out for a debut of the restaurant this spring.

In further Portland openings, the Whiskey Barrel (82 Hanover St.) is on the way. It will be a country music bar with 52 seats.

Additionally, Gross Confection Bar (57 Exchange St.) is now open, serving a broad range of pristine desserts, plus cocktails, wine, port, and sherry.

Meanwhile, Jamaican restaurant Federal Spice (225 Federal St.) closed down on Christmas Eve. The owners were unable to reach terms to renew their lease, according to a message posted on the restaurant’s website.

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A staple of Portsmouth’s Market Square has closed. Breaking New Grounds (14 Market Sq.) shut down operations on January 3 after 15 years in business. The coffee shop’s Durham location will remain open. The Portsmouth building was sold to the team behind Tuscan Brands, which will relocate its Tuscan Market from 581 Lafayette Rd.

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLANDKen’s Ramen (69 Washington St.) has closed temporarily, with plans to relocate, though the new location has not yet been announced. Stay tuned to Ken’s Ramen on Instagram for updates.

Further Reading