Supporting local businesses doesn’t mean you have to stick to the Old Port. Portland’s charming Deering Center neighborhood has its own mini-downtown strip, perfect for browsing small shops, grabbing a coffee, or meeting up with friends.
Here’s a guide to our favorite spots on or near Stevens Ave, the bustling heart of Portland’s Deering Center.
Mochi, ice cream, and bubble tea—oh my! The latest addition to Deering Center’s adorable strip of shops, Le’Cha is an upbeat store serving Asian-inspired treats like brown sugar bubble tea, Thai tea soft serve, fruit teas with popping bubbles, Vietnamese iced coffee, and more. The colorful ube and matcha lattes are definitely worth a taste (not to mention the strawberry chocolate overload), plus the shop also offers Italian sodas and Gifford’s hard ice cream.
502 Stevens Ave
A family-owned store that began with a single hive, the Honey Exchange is your one-stop shop for everything remotely bee-related. Apiarists can find hive parts, tools, and resources here, while wellness enthusiasts will love the array of soaps, balms, lotions, and scrubs available to purchase. Of course, the store sells different varieties of honey for all your sweet needs, as well as honey drops, honey spreads, and even honeycomb-shaped ice cube molds.
494 Stevens Ave
Handiwork is a creative community hub with a low-pressure environment where crafty folk can explore their interests and local makers can sell their work. Each year, the store donates a portion of sales to organizations fighting for civil and human rights, which means shopping at Handiwork is doing good for the world. From crafting kits and quilting supplies to jewelry and greeting cards, this place has it all. Sign up for a workshop or book a private session and get your craft on!
199 Pleasant Ave
After doing some shopping, get your caffeine fix at Deering Center’s own Rwanda Bean Coffee Shop. Founded by Mike Mwenedata in 2013, the cafe and coffee bean distributor assists coffee farmers in Rwanda with the Fifty Percent for Farmers program that provides direct aid to uplift the community. If you love the namesake beans, take a bag home or sign up for a coffee subscription and get them shipped directly to your house.
463 Stevens Ave
Once you’ve shopped at Pat’s Meat Mart, you’ll never go back to any other grocery store or butcher—their stuff is that good. Pat’s has all the beef, pork, lamb, sausage, and chicken you could imagine for grilling, roasting, and braising (or just throwing in the oven and crossing your fingers), plus a deli counter with freshly sliced meats and cheeses to take home or enjoy on a made-to-order sandwich. A small array of locally baked breads, fresh produce, and to-go meals rounds out this neighborhood meat market slash butcher shop’s curated selection.
484 Stevens Ave
While it’s not everyday that you might need to visit a shoe repair shop, Roy’s is worth a stop: the family-owned store has been located in Deering Center since 1923 (yep, that’s 100 years!). Today, you’ll find Dan Lentz and his two children cobbling shoes alongside their shop mascot, Tucker the Pomeranian. Next time your Birkenstocks need a dye job, your puppy eats your Bean boots, or your Blundstones need new soles, pay a visit to the experts at Roy’s.
500 Stevens Ave
Don’t sleep on this unassuming bakery on Stevens Ave! Combining European baking, Japanese sensibility, and Maine ingredients, Norimoto Bakery’s sweet and savory baked goods are out of this world, and for good reason: head baker Atsuko Fujimoto was named a James Beard Award finalist in the Outstanding Baker category last year. Vegans, rejoice, because Wednesday at Norimoto means vegan croissants, pistachio snails, and kouign amann.
469 Stevens Ave
Located around the corner from the Stevens Ave strip, The Knotted Apron is Portland’s neighborhood bistro. The restaurant’s menu features French and Italian-inspired dishes with seasonal ingredients (think chicken liver mousse and tagliatelle with meatballs) plus a selection of creative cocktails, mocktails, beer, and wine. Don’t forget that Tuesday is Burger Night, which means freshly baked buns, hand-cut fries, and a juicy patty made from local beef.
496 Woodford Street