PORTLAND, Maine — Location, location, location, goes the old saying, are the three things that matter most when opening a new business.
If that still holds true, those with hot restaurant dreams should browse all the available properties in the city, and beyond, then choose wisely. Just where a new foodie heaven opens could make or break the endeavor in Greater Portland’s competitive eatery scene.
To help facilitate this crucial decision, the Portland Food Map hosts an exhaustive monthly roundup of retail rents that could potentially make great restaurant locations. The Portland Food Map is aided by the Boulos Company, commercial real estate folks who have been facilitating watering hole entrepreneurs since 1975.
Here’s a taste of the current list.
156 State St., Portland
This unique downtown location is inside the former Hunnewell Mansion, which also hosts the storied Portland Club. This 5,250-square-foot, first-floor space boasts a large ballroom and a commercial kitchen. The listing also mentions it could be an ideal spot for a marijuana dispensary.
Price: $6,125 plus utilities and taxes.
56 Portland St., Portland
The 2,700-square-foot Back Bay Grill operated here for two decades, even though it was actually near Back Cove. Now it’s available as a turnkey operation, ready for new owners to walk in and pick up where the previous proprietors left off.
Price: $5,729 per month, plus utilities.
605 Congress St., Portland
This 543-square-foot spot at the corner of High Street used to house a retail antiques and brick-a-brack business but could be the ideal spot for a coffee shop. Since it’s around the corner from a large marijuana business (what isn’t these days), munchie treats, along with steaming java, could be a big hit.
Lease price: $25 to $35 per square foot.
1 Commercial St., Portland
Vacant for several years now, this free-standing, wooden building used to house Benkay. The sushi joint was known for its party lights, blaring rock and roll music and smoke machines on the weekends. The corner lot gets a lot of foot traffic in the tourist months. The building is listed as having a whopping 12,847 square feet available, with 2,494 of that in contiguous, first-floor restaurant space.
Price: $35 per square foot, plus all operating expenses.
41 Wharf St., Portland
This cobblestoned, pedestrian stretch of Wharf Street is famous for its wild, weekend watering holes. A bar named Jager recently called this space home. Today, it’s vacant, waiting for another tavern to commence business. With no hood system, light fare and cocktails are just the thing. Its nearby neighbors include Street & Co, Via Vecchia and Central Provisions, plus a couple of hotels, as well.
Base price: $3,966 per month, which includes some operating expenses.
945 Forest Ave., Portland
The former home of Portland’s last camera and darkroom store, Photo Market, this outer Forest Avenue venue with a bit of parking is looking for some kind of new exposure. Perhaps an eatery is just what the clapboarded building needs. This 5,510-square-foot address, complete with hundreds of cars streaming by every day, is for sale.
List price: $995,000.
240 St John St., Portland
This strip mall storefront used to house a gym. Now, it’s a clean slate with plenty of free parking. It boasts 2,400 square feet of walk-in space plus even more available in the basement. It’s close to Maine Medical Center, the county jail and Interstate 295. As Portland rents go, it’s a relative steal.
Price: $14 per square foot, plus all expenses.
1420 Long Plains Rd., Buxton
If you have a hankering to get out of town, this 3,600-square-foot restaurant housed in a historic residence might be just the ticket. This turnkey operation, located at the junction of Routes 22 and 202, features an open-truss ceiling and a concrete-topped bar. The Buxton Common restaurant had operated here for four years, before closing in June.
Price: It’s for sale at $720,000 or could be leased for $4,500 per month, plus expenses.