PORTLAND, Maine — Whether you think it’s tastebud heaven or pretentious and boring, Portland’s food and drink landscape never stays the same for very long.
This fall at least five new food and drink spots are opening in, and around, the city. They include an Old Port bar, a new hotel kitchen, a tasting room, a food stall and a cafe for those that love the smell of old books and new-roasted coffee.
Also, one old stalwart is waving goodbye with the hopes of saying hello again in the future.
Here’s the list.
Books and beers
Novel Book Bar and Cafe plans to open its doors by January at 643 Congress St. in Portland, in a space most recently occupied by Bomb Diggity Arts.
Joshua Ames and Nate Donovan are the business partners behind the new venture which will feature a mix of used books, beer, wine, cocktails — and other, hotter drinks.
“Our menu will include our own roasted coffee, espresso, and latte drinks,” states Novel’s website. “
Along with books and drinks, Novel will eventually host music, poetry and literary events.
“Primarily, Novel is an experience space,” the website also states. “It is intended to capture the spirit of the growing American trend of book bars, and to be reminiscent of the classic European cafe bar.”
Grab and go
Soni’s Market Place is set to open at the Public Market House in Portland’s Monument Square on Monday. The second-floor stall will offer pre-made breakfast and lunch sweets and snacks, as well as food and drink made by other local micro businesses.
A recent Instagram post showed a grab and go lunch pack featuring sliced cucumber, crackers, salami and potato salad ready to go.
The Food Map reports the business is named after Wright’s daughter who died at age 5. The pink and flowery art motif at the stall will be in the girl’s honor.
Goodbye for now
On Sept. 15, owners Becky Simmons and Winnie Moody announced they’d be closing Katahdin Restaurant Wood Fire Grill and Bar after 22 years in business on the Portland peninsula.
Simmons and Moody cited pandemic business stressors and a new elevator installation, planned by their landlord, cutting straight through their bar, as reasons for saying goodbye.
“Thank you all for your many years of love and support,” the owners wrote in a social media post. “It breaks our hearts to have to say goodbye, especially under these circumstances.”
Katahdin served its last meal at 27 Forest Ave. in Portland on Sept. 24. Simmons and Moody stated they hope to reopen elsewhere but haven’t made any firm plans as of yet.
Another hotel kitchen
Alto Terrace + Kitchen is slated to open inside the new Cambria Hotel still under construction at 25 Hancock St. in Portland sometime this fall.
The new eatery will serve breakfast and dinner every day of the week. Guests will be able to dine indoors, or outside on a fourth-floor elevated terrace overlooking the India Street neighborhood.
According to social media posts, some of the dishes expected to be served include wild mushroom toast, lobster rolls and hearty, egg-based breakfasts.
An additional tasty spot
Mast Landing Brewing Company plans to open a third tasting room, located in South Portland, to go along with their existing sites in Westbrook and Freeport.
The new location, at 185 Cottage Road, was most recently occupied by Rwanda Bean Coffee Roasters. Pending final approval from town officials, the brewers hope to have the tasting room open by the end of the year.
“The space is great, and is well suited for us to jump in and make it our own,” said company CEO Ian Dorsey. “The vibrant neighborhood will allow us to connect with the community and hopefully grow with it.”
Along with its local tasting rooms, Mast Landing’s beers are distributed across New England, as well as in New York and the Mid-Atlantic region. Recently, the brewery won a World Beer Cup gold medal for its Pantless Thunder Goose double IPA at its own Wavy Days Beer Fest.
It could be better
The Portland Food Map reports local bartender Arvid Brown and his business partner Nick Coffin have signed a lease for 41 Wharf St. in Portland. There, the duo plans to open a new bar called Room for Improvement.
A recent social media post shows the two, sitting on the bar, toasting with bottles of champagne. The new venture isn’t expected to open until sometime in the new year.
The food map also reports that Brown and Coffin are positioning Room for improvement as a destination for pre-dinner drinks before finding a meal in the Old Port. It will also hopefully serve as a late night spot for food-service workers finishing their shifts.