A man walks by the former location of BRGR Bar on Brown Street in Portland on Friday. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — A slew of restaurants in the city have called it quits during the pandemic. Others are ailing as capacities remain capped at a fraction of their former occupancy rates and customers opt to stay safer, eating at home.

The latest numbers compiled by the Portland Food Map indicate the inventory of empty, potential restaurant spaces in Portland jumped 26 percent since October.

The list includes former restaurant locations, new buildings and vacant units suitable for food service.

The map listed 40 available locations a year ago. That number held more or less steady in 2020 as businesses closed and others opened. But in the latest list released last week, the number of empty restaurants in Portland shot up to 48 — an increase of 10 vacancies since October when many eateries stopped serving outside.

Here’s a taste of some of what’s sitting empty in Portland.

West End

The former Aurora Provisions at 64 Pine St. is for sale or lease. The 4,629-square-foot space can be bought for $1.4 million.

Arts District

All fixtures, furniture and equipment are included for the next tenants of 11 Brown St., where BRGR Bar used to be located. The 4,321-square-foot, turnkey restaurant includes two parking spots and 2,000 square feet of storage space.

Two nooks in the State Theater Building at 605 Congress St. are available. They are 543 square feet and 2,685 square feet. They’re listed at $25 to $35 per square foot.


The cavernous, 14,000-square-foot edifice that used to be the home of the Chestnut Street Church at 15 Chestnut St. is for sale at a price of nearly $4 million. As of late, it was occupied by the restaurant known as Grace.

Old Port

Chain burger slingers Five Guys is now closed. Its 2,900-square-foot, former home at 425 Fore St. is up for lease at $40 per square foot.

Bullmoose Music closed late last year. Its former digs at 66 Pearl St. is ready to transform into a restaurant for $15.75 per square foot.

India Street and Washington Avenue

A 300-square-foot shipping container at 93 Washington Ave. can be had for $1,450 per month. That includes all utilities, high-speed WiFi and shared access to an adjacent patio space for outdoor seating.

Forest Avenue

The long-empty Maelily Ryleigh’s diner at 949 Forest Ave. is still available. It’s got ample parking and prospective tenants can have it for $19 per square foot.

Valley Chinese used to sit on Morrills Corner at 688 Forest Ave., but not anymore. It’s now for lease at $12 per square foot.


A flexible space in the stripmall that houses Panda Garden at 1041 Brighton Ave. is available. The 1,200- to 7,000-square-foot space is available for lease at $10 to $13 per square foot.

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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.