A gull appears to fly over a morning moon in Portland in 2019. The city's food options are always changing but seemingly never limited. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — Pat’s Pizza on Market Street has slung its last slice. Old Port stalwart Bull Feeney’s, named for the city’s most famous film director, has finally yelled, “That’s a wrap,” closing its doors after more than 20 years.

But fear not, there’s still plenty of food and drink in the Forest City.

A serious cocktail bar, a bakery specializing in crispy potatoes and a joint featuring sit-down, Italian-style Sunday dinners are all on the city’s extensive, ever-changing menu.

Here’s what we know about new and recently reopened restaurants around town.

Room for Improvement, 41 Wharf St.

Billing itself as a “halfway decent bar,” this new establishment on Portland’s cobblestone pedestrian walkway below Fore Street seems to have a sense of humor. Its Instagram profile shows pictures of men with mouths stuffed full of hot dogs and cigarettes, along with a group of them shotgunning Budweiser from beer cans with holes poked in the sides.

According to the Portland Food Map, it’s scheduled to open to the public on Thursday.

“Room for Improvement is being launched by Arvid Brown and Nick Coffin,” reads the Food Map report. “Brown is a well-known Portland bartender who was the founding bar manager at Crispy Gai and before that at Baharat. Coffin is a native of Vermont and has been a partner and manager in bars in Colorado and California prior to moving to Maine.”

The Food Map included the bar’s expected menu in its report. It features a slew of daiquiris, flaming scorpion bowls and beer.

The menu also touts a “mind eraser” drink that includes vodka, Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy and Amaretto layered with soda water.

Bread & Friends, 505 Fore St.

This bakery and lunch spot opened on Easter, serving sourdough breads, artisan pastry, coffee, tea, plus wine and beer. It’s housed in the historic 1866 Tracy-Causer Block, saved from demolition in the 1990s.

In addition to sweet, baked dainties, Bread & Friends serves heartier breakfast and lunch fare, including crispy potatoes, chorizo and a green chermoula concoction with eggs and bacon.

Maggie and Tanner Rubin, Jessica Rattey and Jeremy Broucek co-own the new brick-and-mortar venture. They began baking together in 2021, initially selling at farmers’ markets while also wholesaling their breads and baked goods.

Esaan, 65 Portland St.

This homestyle Thai restaurant reopened in the former Back Bay Grill space at the end of March. It closed its former location on Forest Avenue in 2021.

According to a social media post, the restaurant has the same aims as it had at its former digs.

“Our goal has always been to serve good food and that’s it,” reads the post.

Esaan’s menu includes Thai restaurant comfort staples such as spring rolls, crab rangoon and chicken satay. It also offers an array of curry and noodle dishes.

One of the more intriguing options is krah pow moo grob, which includes spicy basil, green beans, onion and crispy pork.

Full Turn, 91 Anderson St.

“We all believe that true hospitality is rooted in sharing, and we start that right here in our kitchen,” reads a recent social media post.

Currently, Full Turn is featuring a full “Italian family dinner” on Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. Menu items include chicken parmesan, pasta with vodka sauce, garlic soup and meatballs. Its spuma di mortadella consists of Italian sausage, truffle, cream, ricotta, pistachios and toast.

This unique spot just finished up a round of renovations and has reopened with limited hours, for now. It features short, ever-changing menus heavy on in-season ingredients. Most menus consist of small plates meant to be shared.

Maps, 64 Market St.

This well-established underground venue had been closed since the start of the year but reopened two weeks ago. Known for maps on the ceiling, loud vinyl records, grilled cheese and beer, it went dark for a few months to “expand and refresh” its space, according to a social media post.

The reopening has been a relief to regulars.

“I’m so happy,” wrote one person on Instagram. “I thought it closed for good!”

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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.