If someone asked you your wish for the new year, would you answer that you’d like more new restaurants to try?

Some people would answer that question with a resounding yes, and the rest of you … well, I can hear your groans in the background. While I’m always happy to see a new restaurant open, I empathize with how hard it is to keep up with them all in this restaurant-crazy region.

In Portland, the latest opening of note was Gross Confection Bar, which served its first decadent dessert last Friday. The restaurant, owned by pastry chef Brant Dadaleares, is located at 57 Exchange St. and is open from 5 p.m. to midnight seven days a week. The bar remains open until 1 a.m.

The menu, which you can find at grossconfections.com, includes selections of sweets for one, two, and four or more. It includes classics such as crème brûlée and eclairs, but also the unexpected, such as brown butter–yogurt panna cotta and carrot cake French toast. Expect to see a range of chocolates, fruit pâtés and desserts to go. Cocktails and dessert wines are on offer, as well.

Up the road in Brunswick, the Odd Duck opened at 11 Pleasant St. on New Year’s Day. Chef Dirk Yeaton is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. The dinner menu features steaks and barbecue, as well as dishes such as salmon, cheesy shrimp and grits, spatchcock chicken and (of course) seared duck breast. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; it stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and it’s closed on Mondays.



The 18th-century farmhouse and 4 acres of surrounding grounds that once housed the famed Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit is to be transformed into a spot for weddings, rehearsal dinners, pop-up kitchens, beer and wine dinners, open air markets, cooking classes, and food and beer festivals. The new venture, called First Hill Gardens, is owned by Jason Miller, chef/owner of First Hill, a newish restaurant in York. He described his new business on Facebook.

The Arrows property was sold in 2014 and was briefly the home of The Velveteen Habit. That restaurant got excellent reviews but struggled to find its footing, closing in 2016. The property was put back on the market for $1.3 million.

On Feb. 6, First Hill Gardens has scheduled a Chinese cooking class with chef Jie He, a native of Yangzhou, China, who has more than 20 years’ experience in restaurant and retail food kitchens. The class costs $50. Email [email protected] to reserve a spot.


Speaking of Arrows, it was once named one of the 10 most romantic restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine. Now MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, owned by former Arrows chefs/proprietors Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, has been dubbed the most romantic restaurant in Maine by Food & Wine magazine: “If the epic views of Oarweed Cove from M.C. Perkins Cove’s floor-to-ceiling windows don’t put you in a romantic mood, then surely its extensive raw bar options will,” the feature said.

A nice wintertime boost for the place, just in time for Valentine’s Day.



Little Sichuan, the younger sibling of Sichuan Kitchen at 612 Congress St., in Portland, will open in the Public Market House sometime later this week or early next week, according to operations manager Sarah Haley. A menu posted in the restaurant’s second-floor space last week included items such as pork buns, zhong dumplings, Tian shui noodles, sliced beef in chili sauce, and a selection of salads.


Transplanted Southerners, take note: On Monday, at a regularly scheduled public hearing, the Kittery Town Council will consider a victualers license application from the Chick-fil-A franchise in Westborough, Massachusetts, so the restaurant can operate a food truck around town. The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at 200 Rogers Road. Chick-fil-A is known for its wide variety of chicken sandwiches, including the popular chicken biscuits on its breakfast menu.


Barbara Soley grew up in the same building that housed her mother’s British-style tea restaurant in Freeport, Jacqueline’s Tearoom. Jacqueline Soley closed the business in July, hoping to be able to find a way to continue online. Now the mother-daughter team has launched a new online subscription tea service called Jacqueline’s Teas (jacquelinesteas.com) featuring 80 varieties of looseleaf artisan teas. The women have designed five subscription tea offerings, based on interviews with former customers. They include the Tea Sommelier Subscription, which introduces subscribers to different kinds of teas, and the Jacqueline’s Tea Subscription, which features seasonal tea blends paired with Soley’s favorite recipes. A winter delivery of rich, dark teas, for example, might be paired with a soup or dessert recipe. In warmer months, lighter, fruitier teas might be paired with finger sandwiches and sorbet recipes.



The new owners of the Mellen Street Market in Portland plan to divide the space and add a small café. Shawn Freeman and Tim Ly, both of Portland, purchased the convenience store at 79 Mellen St., including the building and land, in October and plan to expand the existing business, according to documents filed with the city.

The café will be called Quinn’s Bardega. A sample menu submitted with the application included burgers and blackened salmon. The café will seat 24, and have a small bar and a full kitchen. The owners plan to install a jukebox and offer occasional acoustic entertainment.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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