June 1, 2013

Chefs on the move in Portland

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer


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Chef Chris Gould is shown at 414 Fore St. in Portland, where he plans to open a new restaurant. The brick structure was erected in 1828.

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Krista Kern Desjarlais poses in the kitchen at Bresca, on Middle Street in Portland. She's opening a snack shack, Bresca and the Honeybee, at Outlet Beach in New Gloucester.

2012 Telegram file photo/John Ewing

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Back in Maine, the chef plans to create a dining spaceat 414 Fore St. in one of the city's oldest buildings.

When the building at 414 Fore St. was built in 1828, the waters of the Fore River lapped at its door.

The red brick building, which is actually at the conjunction of Fore, Wharf and Dana streets, has barely been touched over the years, even surviving the Great Fire of 1866. Now the entire building is undergoing a major renovation.

"It's one of the oldest buildings in Portland, and it's never been remodeled," said chef Chris Gould, who left the helm of Ken Oringer's Uni Sashimi Bar in Boston last year to move back to Maine and open his own restaurant. "It's all original from top to bottom."

Gould and his wife, Paige, recently purchased the building, and plan to turn the first two floors into a cozy bar and restaurant that serves seasonally driven, tapas-style fare. The chef is designing the kitchen and floor layout himself.

The bar will be downstairs off the Wharf Street entrance and feature an L-shaped bar, a communal table and a standing-room-only drink rail area by the front window. A prep kitchen will be located in the back of the bar. The pumpkin pine floors in the bar area will be taken up to replace the joists and then relaid.

The restaurant entrance will be a level above, on Fore Street. It will have an open kitchen with seating at the bar, and 11 tables.

Altogether, the bar and restaurant will seat about 58. The two levels will be connected by an interior open stairwell. (The third and fourth floors are being turned into residential units.)

The Goulds will be installing early 19th century lighting in keeping with the historical character of the space, and the bar tops will be made of restored wood.

The couple is working with a blacksmith in Hope who is building all of the tables, chairs and barstools. Good Wood Tables in North Yarmouth is building all the furniture made with reclaimed wood -- bar tops, table tops, drink rails and communal table.

Look for the restaurant to open in early to mid-September.

Krista Kern Desjarlais

The chef at the acclaimed Bresca restaurant in Portland has plans to open a snack shack in New Gloucester.

Bresca was still turning away reservations, and still getting rave reviews. Chef/owner Krista Kern Desjarlais was even a finalist for a James Beard award in 2011.

So why did Desjarlais decide to close the doors of the critically acclaimed little restaurant at 111 Middle St. in May?

She's opening a summertime snack shack, Bresca and the Honeybee, at Outlet Beach on Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, the town where she lives with her husband and daughter.

This sweeping change was not just the whim of a bored chef. Everything that's happened at Bresca in the past few months -- scaling back dinners to two nights a week, starting a lunch service -- was designed to help Desjarlais find some relief from her chronic migraines. It turns out that while she was creating those fine dining dishes Portlanders so enjoyed, she was often in massive pain.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Chef Damian Sansonetti is shown at his Blue Rooster Food Co. restaurant on Dana Street in Portland's Old Port district. He has plans for a new restaurant.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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David Levi will be opening a new restaurant called Vinland this fall at 593 Congress St. in Portland. His goal: to help build "the sustanable local food economy."

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


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