We’ve had to say goodbye to quite a few places in the past 8 months. Drifters Wife, Piccolo, and Vinland just to name a few. While these are all tragic losses, there is a silver lining to be found. Despite everything, restaurateurs in Portland are still moving forward with plans to open their doors. From delayed starts to major renovations, these newcomers are entering a very different culinary world. But they’ve course-corrected appropriately to meet the challenge head-on. Here are just a few of the newest additions to Portland’s resilient food scene and what you can look forward to.
Located at 545 Congress Street in Portland, Broken Arrow is, as described on their website, “a refined regional menu utilizing the freshest ingredients sourced in Maine”. Similar to the late Vinland, you can expect a menu graced with locally sourced ingredients that change out seasonally based on availability. Owners Lyle Aker and Holly Aker are Chicago natives each with years of culinary experience under their belts. With a passion for fresh, local food as well as Maine creamery products, Broken Arrow is slated to quickly become a new Portland darling when they open in October.
In response to the new health and safety guidelines, Broken Arrow will be launching with only a fraction of their full 47-seat capacity available. They will be using a ticket-based reservation system with seats becoming available as early as September. So be sure to act fast and follow Broken Arrow on Instagram to keep tabs on when reservations will open, lest you experience a serious case of new restaurant FOMO.
A number of locals have had a sour taste in their mouth about WEX’s new downtown behemoth. But it can’t be denied that the first floor of the building has provided space for a few new and welcome eateries. Navis Cafe, a cafe and provisions storefront serving soups, sandwiches, and La Colombe draft lattes opened August 13th. And Helm, with a similar clean and nautical flair, will be opening at 60 Thames Street as an oyster bar and bistro.
According to their site, “Helm Oyster Bar & Bistro is an ode to the coast and farmland offering an airy dining room, bar, and seasonal outdoor patio along Portland’s historic waterfront”. Their raw bar will feature a broad selection of local seafood and a full menu to change seasonally based on local availability. Their bar will sport a focus on natural wines, local brews, and classic cocktails. A new spin on the Portland oyster bar industry is always welcome and Helm promises to offer a fresh, local experience unlike anything before.
Roll Call took an interesting, and smart, approach to their opening here in Portland. Prior to their slated late September opening on Clark Street in the West End (Former site of A&C Grocery West and Giant), Roll Call has hosted a weekly pop-up at Austin Street Brewing on Fox St. Their small menu consists of an ‘8-hour’ roast beef sandwich, a soy protein-based sandwich called the Fake ‘n Cheese, a cucumber salad and buttermilk panna cotta with a blueberry and milk crumble.
Owners Michael and Siobhan Sindoni both have prior experience in the culinary industry and are no strangers to running a restaurant. Aiming to serve ‘craveable classics’ that are both ‘elevated and refreshed’, you can look forward to what the Sindonis have in store very soon. But if you’re not sure, grab a beer at Austin Street and try one of their roast beef sandwiches drenched in au jus for yourself!
Follow Roll Call on Instagram.
If you’re familiar with Kuno’s food truck, then you already know what you’re in for: high-quality, super flavorful Malaysian and Singaporean food that’ll have you coming back for more. Juicy chicken dumplings, comforting congee, and spicy noodle soups have captured our hearts and stomachs. That’s what the owner of Kuno, Nick Yee, has in store for their new brick and mortar located at 166 Cumberland Ave.
On their draft menu, you’ll find an expanded offering of Southeast Asian fare including: Nasi Goreng fried rice, Mee Goreng Mamak stir fry, and Gang Dang curry vegetables. The restaurant has also applied for a liquor license. We’ve already been given a unique taste of Southeast Asian cuisine at Yee’s hand, and there’s more goodness to come when Kuno tentatively opens their doors at the end of the month.
Follow Kuno on Instagram.
While not a new restaurant, per say, the Terlingua we knew has undergone quite a big change. Occupying the former Silly’s space at 40 Washington Ave, their former space at 52 Washington will be leased to a new restaurant. The seating capacity has doubled from the previous space, which as we know was quite cozy. (Which isn’t a bad thing!) Terlingua closed its doors in the Spring prior to lockdown in order to begin renovations, and thankfully seems to have been unaffected by the roadblock that the stay-at-home order created months ago.
On top of the expanded seating, Terlingua will also be offering prep food, sauces and rubs in a small retail space within the restaurant, as well as a beer garden and utilizing the outdoor decks Silly’s left behind. Terlingua always felt bigger than its britches in its old, tiny space. So it’s exciting to see such a beloved space not only persevere, but grow and change to welcome us back with open arms when the time is right.