Two Maine entrepreneurs make Good Food finals

Two food producers in Maine have been named finalists in the 2015 Good Food Awards.

The awards honor socially conscious food entrepreneurs who take sustainability and social good into account in their sourcing and production.

Brunswick-based Royal Rose, a maker of cocktail syrups, is a finalist for its sweet and smoky Three Chiles syrup, made with fresh poblano and jalapeño peppers and dried ancho chiles.

In the confections category, Isle au Haut chocolatier Black Dinah is a finalist for its Cassis de Resistance, a black currant truffle made with local berries.

Nearly 1,500 products were entered into the national competition this year, and 180 chefs, food writers, farmers and other experts narrowed them down to 206 finalists. The 150 winners will be announced Jan. 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where Alice Waters will present the awards.

Maine Restaurant Week stretches out the bargains

Maine Restaurant Week will run for a full two weeks next year, from March 1 to 14. (Maybe they should rename it Maine Restaurant Weeks.)

Restaurants that want to participate can sign up at mainerestaurantweek.com or by calling 775-2126.

Nearly 100 Maine restaurants participated last year. During Restaurant Week, these restaurants offer three-course prix fixe dinners at bargain rates, ranging from $25-$55 per person. Some offer three-course lunches for $15.

In addition to 14 days of reasonably priced dining (four more than in previous years), Maine Restaurant Week presents many community food-related events, including the Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off, Pancake Race, Chef-Am Bowling Tournament and the finale Signature Event, which features cocktail and dessert contests. Proceeds are donated to local charities.

To date, Maine Restaurant Week has donated more than $60,000 to Preble Street, United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine and others. To nominate a charity for the 2015 event, email [email protected]

BRUNSWICK

Tao Yuan teams up with farms for harvest dinners

Tao Yuan at 22 Pleasant St. is partnering with local farms to hold a series of Maine harvest dinners this month and next.

The first dinner will be held Thursday and feature the Snell Family Farm in Buxton. On Nov. 13, the spotlight will be on Thirty Acre Farm in Whitefield. The final dinner will be held Dec. 11 and feature products from Kennebec Cheesery in Sidney.

The prix fixe meals ($48 per person for the first two dinners and $58 for the third) will follow the Asian-fusion restaurant’s style of offering a variety of small plates.

The series is part of a larger plan to expand the restaurant’s farm-to-table program and grow specialty ingredients in its own greenhouse next year.

Reservations are required. Call 725-9002.

OGUNQUIT

New owner of Arrows plans to open in 2015

Arrows Restaurant, the longtime fine dining establishment founded by James Beard Award winners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, was sold Oct. 24, according to the Lux Realty Group.

The new owner, Benjamin Goldman, plans to open a restaurant called The Velveteen Habit in the space in early 2015.

KENNEBUNKPORT

Three elected to top posts in restaurant association

Tina Hewett-Gordon, general manager of the Nonantum Resort, has been elected to a two-year term as chairman of the board of the Maine Restaurant Association. Michelle Corry of Portland’s Five Fifty-Five and Petite Jacqueline is the new vice chair, and Laurie Palmer of Waterville Burger Corp. (Burger King) is second vice chair.

This marks the first time that women have served in the top three chairs simultaneously, according to Greg Dugal, president and CEO of the association.

The elections were held during the MRA’s annual meeting last month.

PORTLAND

Maine Pie Line to close as owner takes new job

Briana Warner, owner of Maine Pie Line, told her Facebook fans last week that she is hanging up her rolling pin Saturday to go back into non-profit work. She is negotiating the sale of her business and recipes to another bakery, but declined to name it.

Warner, who lived abroad as a member of the Foreign Service, opened Maine Pie Line in East Bayside shortly before Thanksgiving last year.

“We were in a position where we grew too big for our space,” she said. “We started looking around town for new bakery space, and it occurred to me when I was looking around that maybe that’s not what I wanted to be doing. I still had this big passion for doing public service work.”

Warner has accepted a new position as economic development director for the Island Institute. The decision to leave Maine Pie Line, she said, was a matter of the “stars aligning all at once.”

Salt Exchange to reboot with new chef and menu

Charles Byron, owner of the Salt Exchange at 245 Commercial St., says he has decided to “reboot” the restaurant with a new menu at the same time he is signing a new five-year lease.

Doors open to the public at 6 p.m. Nov. 13 for complimentary passed appetizers and a cash bar. Guests will be able to sample dishes from the restaurant’s new menu and meet the new chef, Torr Kelso. The restaurant will not serve dinner that evening.

For more information, email Byron at [email protected]

Lolita to host a feast two days before holiday

Need a break from all the pre-Thanksgiving craziness? Lolita is hosting a “pre-Thanksgiving porchetta feast” two days before the holiday. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 25.

Chef Guy Hernandez will prepare the boneless loin of a locally raised pig, seasoned and rubbed with fresh herbs and garlic, then wrapped in pork belly and slow roasted in the restaurant’s wood-fired grill. The four-course dinner, including a glass of sparkling wine, costs $50. To reserve a spot, call 775-5652 or reserve on Open Table.

Game dinner planned at Pocket Feast on Saturday

Pocket Brunch Events is hosting a Pocket Feast, a collaboration with the founders of Family Feast and the Maine Brewers Guild, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The venue for the meal, which will be a game dinner, will be released to ticket holders only. The cost of the dinner is $80 per person. Go to pocketbrunch.com/tickets/ to get a reservation.

Danforth Inn will have a new Asian restaurant

The new owners of the Danforth Inn, 163 Danforth St., plan to open a Southeast Asian fine dining restaurant called Tempo Dulu in early 2015. It will be the first restaurant at the inn since Carmen at the Danforth, a Latin restaurant, closed in early 2013.

The new owners are Raymond Brunyanszki and Oscar Verest, owners of the Camden Harbour Inn and its restaurant, Natalie’s, a Relais & Chateaux property. The owners have said they’ve budgeted up to $1 million for renovations, including for the new restaurant.

– Compiled by Meredith Goad, Staff Writer

This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6 to correct the name of Arrows’ new owner.