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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 last season’s news here.)
Check back for updates every Tuesday — 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.
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.
December 10, 2019
In other Portland news, what has been described as the city’s first hummusiya (see October 29 update below) is now open. Nura, the hummus-centric vegetarian restaurant, is operating at 1 Monument Way. Owners Dylan and Cameron Gardner are also behind the Falafel Mafia food truck.
And also in Portland, a restaurant called Dos Naciones will open at 649 Congress St., serving Mexican and Salvadoran food.
SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Tuscan Brands founder Joe Faro (behind Tuscan Kitchen and Tuscan Market locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire) is working on a 170-acre mixed-use development called Tuscan Village in Salem, New Hampshire, that will include retail, residential, medical, and office space. On the food side, a few vendors have signed on so far: Faro’s own Italian-style market, Tuscan Market, which will be relocating from its current Salem space and will also include a space for cooking classes; New Hampshire-based Pressed Cafe (which also has a couple Massachusetts locations); and mega-chain Chipotle.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — New Haven’s legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which has been expanding around the Northeast for a while now, has its sights set on Maryland next, reportedly expanding to a Bethesda mall next year.
WEST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT — Mecha Noodle Bar, a small Connecticut chain that describes itself as “American-Vietnamese-Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Korean-New England-Momofuku-Totto-and-Ippudo-inspired,” will expand to West Hartford this spring, opening at 975A Farmington Ave. around spring 2020. It already has locations in New Haven, Fairfield, South Norwalk, and Stamford, serving dishes like Korean fried chicken bao and numerous pho and ramen options.
November 26, 2019
KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Modestman Brewing is now open at 100 Main St., with a grand opening celebration planned for November 30. Modestman’s opening lineup of beers includes an IPA, a kolsch, and more. The brewery also has a food truck, Guru, that serves dishes such as a beef tongue pastrami sandwich and Sriracha Buffalo chicken wings.
PORTLAND, MAINE — A&C Grocery — a neighborhood shop at 131 Washington Ave. that sells wine and beer, produce, pantry staples, sandwiches, and lunch specials — is adding dinner (A&C After Dark) Thursday through Saturday, serving dishes like onion soup and steak and fries.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — A tiny bar called Tinybar is now open in Providence (377 Richmond St.), next to Olga’s Cup and Saucer. It only has eight seats, but the seasonal Olga’s patio will add a lot more space. From owner Joanne Chang — not the same Joanne Chang as the Boston chef of Flour and Myers & Chang fame — Tinybar is meant to have a bright, airy vibe. Chang is serving cocktails, wine, and beer, along with some sweet treats from Olga’s, with more snacks coming soon. Red Fez alum Kevin Berglund is bartending.
In other Providence news, the El Rancho Grande owners are set to open a new restaurant, Dolores, tomorrow, November 26, at 100 Hope St. The Mexican restaurant will focus on food from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca (including various moles) and highlight small-batch agave spirits.
November 19, 2019
BIDDEFORD, MAINE — With the slogan “looks burnt, tastes great,” Rover Bagel has been wood-firing bagels in a Biddeford shop (111 Elm St.) for two years now, after getting its start as a pop-up on Massachusetts’ North Shore. Founded by Kimberly Chaurette and Alec Rutter, both alums of Forge Baking Company in Somerville, Massachusetts, Rover will be closing up shop on December 22, per an announcement on Instagram.
“Doing business here has exceeded our wildest dreams,” the announcement read in part. “We were immediately welcomed with open arms, and our business was able to thrive in a way we had not anticipated. We are incredibly grateful for all that our time in Biddeford has given us ... We’re roving on, and looking forward to the personal and professional growth that lies ahead.”
NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Taiwanese chain TKK Fried Chicken has been expanding quite a bit around the United States recently, including one Massachusetts location (Quincy) and another coming soon (Boston). Most of these new locations are joint endeavors with bubble tea chain Kung Fu Tea. Another TKK/Kung Fu location is slated to open soon in Nashua at 493 Amherst St.
In addition to TKK’s various standard fried chicken options, the chain also serves sides like crunchy cheese curds and shishito peppers. The dish it markets as its “signature” item is called kwa kwa bao, a ball of sticky rice that is filled with mushrooms, wrapped in chicken skin, and fried.
MILFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — From the team that opened Greenleaf in Milford earlier this year (they’re also behind the Farmers Dinner event series), a new restaurant will open early next year, also in Milford: Culture Bread & Sandwich (75 Mont Vernon St.).
Culture will be a fast-casual sandwich shop featuring breads made onsite, and there will also be seasonal soups and salads. There will be a variety of vegan and gluten-free options available, too.
Also newly open in Portland: Uncharted Tea (662 Congress St.), serving bubble teas with options such as the Kraken (Thai tea, milk, simple syrup, boba) and Point Nemo (jasmine tea, passionfruit, simple syrup, popping boba).
In the works for Portland: The Knotted Apron, coming to the former JP’s Bistro space at 496 Woodford St. Chef and owner Ryan Hickman is an alum of the Chebeague Island Inn, Pine Point Grille, Arrows, and more and may serve dishes such as duck rillette, braised lamb pappardelle, and lasagna with short rib Bolognese. The restaurant could open early in 2020.
November 12, 2019
PORTLAND, MAINE — Little Giant co-owners Briana and Andrew Volk have sold their shares of the restaurant to their business partners Kate and Ian Malin. The Malins reportedly intend to keep running the two-year-old restaurant as is, with the same staff, although they’ve closed the cafe portion of the business for now to “reimagine the space.” Meanwhile, the Volks plan to focus more on family, politics, and new projects. They also own the Portland Hunt and Alpine Club, an acclaimed cocktail bar.
Cocktail bar Cocktail Mary is now open at 229 Congress St. (the former Ramen Suzukiya space). Owner Isaac MacDougal is an alum of Izakaya Minato in Portland, as well as the acclaimed, now-closed WD-50 in New York City.
Eventide alum Chris Wilcox will open a 35-seat restaurant called Judy Gibson at 171 Ocean St. in South Portland (formerly Teriyaki Exchange), serving contemporary American food. It could open before Valentine’s Day.
Nosh co-owner Matt Moran will open a new family-friendly neighborhood restaurant at 501 Cottage Rd. in South Portland; it doesn’t have a name yet but could open in the spring.
After a little over two years, juice bar and cafe Portland Pulp has closed.
November 5, 2019
BARRE, VERMONT — Those missing Worcester’s Kummerspeck, a deli and restaurant that closed in fall 2018, can head up to Vermont to find Kummerspeck cofounder Matt Mahoney working at Morse Block Deli (260 North Main St.), smoking meats and making charcuterie, sausage, and more. Keep an eye out for updates on “Kummerspeck Le’BOARatory.”
DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Smuttynose Brewing Co. will open Smuttlabs Brewery & Kitchen (47 Washington St.) on November 6 at 5 p.m., with full hours beginning the next day. The brewery and test kitchen can fit 120 people and will feature eight rotating limited-batch beers on draft (retail beer will also be available.) Local chef Anthony Ricco will be serving “elevated pub food,” per a press release, with Smuttynose beers present in some of the recipes. Think duck confit poutine with a Robust Porter gravy and Old Brown Dog fried chicken and waffles. This is the first public-facing location for Smuttlabs, born out of a pilot system at Smuttynose in 2013.
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT — The recently opened Graduate New Haven hotel (1151 Chapel St.) has outfitted its lobby with two very special pay phones that give hotel guests and visitors a direct line to order delivery from two of New Haven’s top pizzerias: Pepe’s and Modern. The pizzas arrive at the hotel’s cafe. The pay phones — inside handsome wooden closets with gleaming gold lettering — are in operation from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
PORTLAND, MAINE — The Cheese Shop, which got its start in a container space at the Black Box Incubator late last year, has reopened in a larger space at 107 Washington Ave., selling cheese and other goods as well as serving sandwiches. (There’s some indoor seating available.)
207 Bar & Restaurant will open in the former Maria’s space at 337 Cumberland Ave., serving dishes such as samosas, chicken wings with a Swahili sweet sauce, grilled goat with onions, ndazi (doughnuts), Belgian waffles, and more.
Scratch Baking Co. temporarily closed its Toast Bar business (205 Broadway, South Portland) in September, and the closure is now continuing on longer than expected due to staffing shortages. In the spring, the team will revisit the possibility of reopening Toast Bar; in the meantime, they may try to use the space for catered meetings and special events.
Portland mainstay Andy’s Old Port Pub (94 Commercial St.) is now closed after more than a dozen years, with the owners citing a broken walk-in cooler as the final nail in the coffin in “a cacophony of incidents that all kind of came at the same time.”
October 29, 2019
EAST PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — Fork’n Sammich (1055 South Broadway) is now open in East Providence, serving sandwiches like meatball subs, fried chicken, pickled tuna, BLT melts, and Reubens, among many others.
GLASTONBURY, CONNECTICUT — Square Peg Pizza (1001 Hebron Ave.) is now open and serving two different versions of wood-fired pizzas, including round pies and Sicilian-style. There are also sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads available, as well as starters like garlic bread and burrata.
MERRIMACK, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The recently opened a Lot of Thai (360 Daniel Webster Hwy.) stays true to its name in New Hampshire, serving a large selection of Thai food including noodle and curry dishes, tom yum soup, spicy duck, and specials like grilled squid, barbecue pork with sweet basil, and plar goong, or shrimp salad.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH, MAINE — Pho Oob (40A Old Orchard St.) opened a couple months ago at Old Orchard Beach, serving various Vietnamese noodle soups, wonton soups, rice dishes, and stir-fried noodles.
PORTLAND, MAINE — Two brothers behind a falafel truck in Portland plan to open a hummus-centric vegetarian restaurant at 1 Monument Wy. Dylan and Cameron Gardner operate Falafel Mafia and plan to debut Nura by the end of November, where they’ll serve breads made daily alongside hummus and select Middle Eastern dishes, including falafel pockets. The restaurant will reportedly seat 30, operating for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch service. It’s being described as Portland’s first hummusiya.
Elsewhere in Portland, a rebranded restaurant made its debut last weekend. Jason Loring and Michael Fraser bought the former Congress Bar and Grill from Deb Glanville earlier this year and reopened the restaurant as CBG on Friday, October 25. The restaurant serves some classic pub fare and some variations, including cheeseburgers, baked mac and cheese, a tempeh larb salad, wings, and a garbage plate with french fries and chop suey. The restaurant operates seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Portsmouth is gearing up for its restaurant week, which will run from November 7 to 16. There are more than 40 restaurants participating in the event, with each offering three-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($19.95) and dinner ($34.95), in most cases. Visit the event website for a full list of participating restaurants.
The Green Room from Hampton Beach just opened a new location in Portsmouth (41 Vaughan Mall). The juice bar serves smoothies and smoothie bowls made with fruit and vegetables and topped with items like granola, nut butters, seeds, and spices. There are also breakfast sandwiches and wraps with eggs, or lunch offerings with sliced meats, cheeses, and vegetables. The Green Room serves coffee and tea, juices, salads, toasts, and vegan soft serve. Its Hampton Beach location is closed for the season.
October 15, 2019
NORWALK, CONNECTICUT — An iconic name in pizza from New Haven has a second location set to open soon in Norwalk: Sally’s Apizza will debut at the new SoNo Collection Mall (100 North Water St.). This will be the first expansion for the 81-year-old business, which came under new ownership in 2017. At the time, the new owners hinted at plans to take the brand nationwide. Sally’s ranks among the best pizza places in the northeast, if not the country, and is one of the founders of the distinctively charred and asymmetrical New Haven pizza style, which typically relies on coal-fired ovens.
One of the other main players on the New Haven pizza scene, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, has already undertaken quite a bit of expansion in and beyond Connecticut — including two Massachusetts locations with at least one more to come — so it will be interesting to watch for similarities and differences in Sally’s expansion plans as they come to fruition. (Pepe’s predates Sally’s by 13 years, and Sally’s was founded by Frank Pepe’s nephew, Salvatore Consiglio, who learned pizza-making from Pepe.)
PORTLAND, MAINE — Candy’s (34 Portland St.) is now open, functioning as a coffee shop during the day and as a hybrid cafe and cocktail bar at night. By design, Candy’s is a “queer community hub,” designated for “gathering, learning, conversing, connecting, networking, socializing, celebrating, and addressing and rectifying community issues.” The business sources coffee from Onyx Coffee Lab and will serve brunch on Sundays.
Flying Fox Juice Bar (98 Washington Ave.) has announced an impending closure. The business will shut down on October 19, but the space won’t remain vacant for long: The owner of an acclaimed diner in Biddeford, Maine, and a bagel place in Portland has his sights set on a third business in the space. Chad Conley (of Palace Diner and Rose Foods) teamed up with Rose Foods staff member Josh Sobel to lease the Flying Fox space. The duo has not yet shared plans for the new space.
October 8, 2019
EAST GREENWICH, RHODE ISLAND — Huck’s Filling Station (4654 Post Rd.) is now open in Rhode Island, with a compact menu of dishes like bone-in pork chop, crispy half chicken, cheese and charcuterie, and sweet and sour eggplant. The restaurant also has a selection of snacks and beautiful cocktails, along with beer and wine.
PORTLAND, MAINE — A Portland restaurant has filed a lawsuit over the cost of salmon. Portland Hunt + Alpine Club (75 Market St.) has accused a consortium of salmon suppliers of price fixing, charging restaurants higher rates than necessary due to stable costs associated with raising Atlantic salmon over the past four years, as production has increased alongside a shrinking market due to global trade relations. Portland Hunt + Alpine Club could become the lead plaintiff in a possible class action suit.
Elsewhere in Portland, the owner of Portland Mash Tun plans to open a Mexican restaurant called Jefe Juan’s at 47 Wharf St. Ricky Binet signed a lease for a space where he’ll serve items like burritos, cheese plates, salads, a lobster roll, and chips and salsa, along with liquor. The restaurant is named for the chef at Portland Mash Tun, Juan Cordero.
SANDWICH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A woman who purchased a lobster roll and fries from Maine restaurant Bay Haven Lobster Pound before heading home to New Hampshire never had a chance to eat it: A bear apparently beat her to the meal. Realtor Lobin Frizzell left the roll in her car to go inside and prep a meal for her daughter, and when she came back out she discovered no lobster roll, three remaining french fries, and bear paw prints on the seat of her car and the door. Otherwise, there was no mess, with Frizzell telling Boston.com, “He did a better job eating that lobster roll in my car and not making a mess than I would’ve done.” Unfortunately this lobster roll theft didn’t result in an epic photo, like this past spring’s tale of a hungry seagull.
October 1, 2019
PORTLAND, MAINE — A New Jersey restaurant that’s received James Beard semifinalist nods will relocate to Maine. Osteria Radici, from Randy and Ally Forrester, will hold its last service in New Jersey in mid-October, and the restaurant could reopen in Maine this spring. The Forresters reportedly fell hard for the restaurant community and overall environment in Portland and are looking for a location for their restaurant.
In other relocation news, JP’s Bistro (496 Woodford St.) will move to Falmouth, Maine. Owner John Paul Gagnon will close the restaurant on October 12 with a goal of reopening in early November at 204 Route 1, the former site of Hugs Italian Restaurant. The move will give JP’s more space and new equipment.
A Portland restaurant that served poke has closed, and a noodle-centric restaurant will take its place. Poke Pop shut down early in the summer, and Noodle Love has placed signage at the 658 Congress St. storefront.
More noodles are on the way to a different part of Portland, too: Ishi Ishi Ramen will open in one of the black shipping containers on Washington Ave., offering three ramen varieties and gluten-free noodle options. Owners Matthew De Fio and Andrew Doolittle could open Ishi Ishi in November or December. The shop will have nine seats and a BYOB option, and the owners reportedly aim to keep the restaurant a cellphone-free zone.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND — The Dean Bar (122 Fountain St.) is now open at the Dean Hotel in Providence. The hotel’s previous bar, the Magdalenae Room, closed at the beginning of the summer, and now acclaimed chef and restaurateur James Mark (of North, which also operates at the hotel, and Big King) is at the helm of the new bar. The drink menu at the Dean Bar reflects Japanese influences, with cocktails incorporating ingredients like miso, curry, lemongrass, and sweet potato. There are also selections of beer, wine, and spirits. The space is full of dramatic lighting and can accommodate up to 50 people. Bar snacks — such as nuts, pickled vegetables, and bread and butter — will be available starting later this month.
September 24, 2019
PORTLAND, MAINE — The building housing Maria’s Ristorante (337 Cumberland Ave.) has been sold, and the restaurant will reportedly relocate to 1335 Congress St., where Espo’s Trattoria currently operates. Espo’s will close in mid-October, and Maria’s owner Tony Napolitano Jr. will do some small renovations on the space ahead of reopening Maria’s there in December.
PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Golden Egg Restaurant (960 Sagamore Ave.) is up for sale. Owners Tom and Debbie Gosselin have spent 36 years serving breakfast foods, house-made pies, and more at the restaurant, and while they’re ready to sell, they’re not ready to talk about the end of the era. It’s possible the property could remain a restaurant, but until a sale is finalized, the fate of the long-running restaurant will be unknown.
VERMONT — The state of Vermont is experiencing a staffing shortage in the restaurant industry, even as the overall unemployment rate settles into a historic low. It’s leading restaurateurs to rethink staffing, scheduling, and coordinating. Cara Chigazola Tobin of Honey Road in Burlington (an alum of Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts) has strategies for getting the most out of her staff when they’re in the restaurant, and Nicole Grenier of Stowe Street Café is working on solutions that will allow restaurants to collaborate. Read more from Seven Days Vermont.
- Summer Fridays: Food-Filled Day Trips Outside of Boston: Where to eat and drink on the Cape, in Portland, and elsewhere in New England.
- New England’s 38 Essential Restaurants: A guide to the best of the best throughout New England, compiled by former Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison with the help of food writers from around the region.
- The Hottest New Restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island: Updated periodically, this map highlights some of the hot new spots to hit the Providence dining scene.
- 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 appears 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.