PORTLAND ( AP) — Insiders in Portland’s burgeoning restaurant industry are running into a new problem — a lack of affordable space for new eateries.

The city’s food reputation was built on the backs of young chefs opening their own places. But as space shrinks and rents rise, some worry that soon the only people able to open a restaurant in the Old Port area will be big names with deeper pockets than recent culinary school graduates.

Tom Bard, proprietor of Zapoteca restaurant, has been searching for a year and a half for space to open a new place. He tells the Portland Press Herald spaces with an existing kitchen are snapped up quickly or are too pricey.

One broker says rents have risen as much as 50 percent in the past decade.

filed under: