More po’ boys and custardy vanilla shakes? Yes, please. Po’ Boys & Pickles, the popular New Orleans-style sandwich shop on Forest Avenue, is slated for a second location on the Portland peninsula this spring.

Chris Bettera, who bought Po’ Boys in 2015, declined to disclose the location of the new place because he hasn’t yet signed the lease, but now that the news is out – we broke the story Friday – he’s running an online contest offering a $15 gift card to the customer who can guess the spot. He’ll pay up, he says, when the lease is signed. Bettera hopes to open the new location by May 1.

The menu will be smaller than the off-peninsula restaurant to start with, Bettera said, because the tentative location is much smaller, but he hopes to develop workarounds for some items and add them later.

“We’re streamlining some of the items that take longer,” he said. The fried chicken cutlet sandwich, for example, will not be on the initial menu because the fry time is too long. Neither will the chicken wings, for the same reason. Once he’s familiar with the new kitchen, Bettera hopes he’ll be able to find a way to add them.

Why open a second location in the same city? Bettera said fans have tried to lure him to Lewiston or Bangor, but he’s more interested in recapturing the downtown Portland customers who stopped coming to the Forest Avenue restaurant after the development of Woodfords Corner – translation, more traffic – made it harder to reach. He believes peninsula residents remain interested in his food because his 2DineIn delivery business there is “crazy good.”

“A lot of that food is going right onto the peninsula,” he said. “They want that food, so why not give it to them?”

EXPANSIONS GALORE

Tamales at Quiero Cafe in Saco. Photo courtesy of Quiero Cafe

The owners of Quiero Cafe, a casual restaurant that serves Latin street food in Saco, plan to open a second location in Portland this spring.

Alejandra Herrera and Carlos Guzman, the husband-and-wife proprietors of the Quiero Cafe at 8 Pepperell Square in Saco, are renovating the space at 3 Deering Ave., the former home of Trattoria Fanny. The Saco location opened in May 2017.

The 40-seat Portland restaurant will serve lunch and dinner every day, and offer take-out, according to its liquor license application filed with the city. A sample menu includes a wide selection of empanadas; tamales, quesadillas, and Cuban sandwiches; and smoothies, limeades and tropical juices.

And a third second location… Michaela McVetty, owner of Sisters Gourmet Deli at 15 Monument Way in Portland, announced on Facebook that she is opening a second location at 45 Vine St. in Bath, the former location of The Sandwich Shop, which had a run of almost 40 years. Now begins a long process of renovations. No word yet on an opening date.

Mr. Tuna in Portland’s Public Market House is getting a beer and wine license. The sushi counter at 28 Monument Way, open since October, is owned and operated by Jordan Rubin, whose mobile sushi carts were praised by Bon Appetit last summer when Portland was named the food magazine’s Restaurant City of the Year.

Stroudwater Distillery at Thompson’s Point in Portland is adding a lounge license so it can offer “small plates and bites” in its tasting room, as well as serve beer and wine at certain events. A sample menu includes soups, salads, spuntini (meats and cheeses) and paninis.

TIP-TOP SPOTS

Rooftop drinking and dining in Portland? Lots of us know how much fun it is to go up to the Top of the East lounge at the Westin Portland Harborview hotel on High Street. It’s the place to take out-of-town guests for music, a chilled martini and spectacular views of Casco Bay and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Now it’s about to get a little competition. Fathom Companies and Canopy by Hilton have announced they’ll be breaking ground next fall on a 135-room hotel called Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront. The plans for the hotel, to be located at the corner of Center and Commercial streets, include an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant.

If you don’t like heights, the hotel will also have a street-level restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The hotel is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021.

BELFAST CLOSURE

Chef Evan Mallet, owner of Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, has closed Ondine, his Belfast restaurant. Staff photo by Gregory Rec.

Chef Evan Mallett, owner of the Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and a semifinalist for the 2019 James Beard Best Chef: New England award, announced on Facebook last week that he has permanently closed his Belfast restaurant, Ondine Oyster & Wine Bar.

Mallett opened the restaurant in July 2017, predicting that Belfast would be “the next ‘it spot’ for food in Maine, if not New England.” He commuted from his home in Berwick to a yurt in Belfast.

“I am extremely grateful to the core staff and year-round clientele, as well as the array of farmers and market vendors who supplied such incredible ingredients,” he wrote. “I look forward to spending more time with my family, and returning full-time to my original restaurant…”

He called Belfast “an inspiring community with an iconic coastal Maine setting that had resisted the trappings of commerce and development.”

FOOD AND FILM

Three films on climate and food have been scheduled for the 6th annual Human Dimensions of Climate Change film series March 26 at the University of Maine. Each film will begin at 6 p.m. in Classroom 1 at the Folger Library, to be followed by a discussion.

The first film, “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story,” will be shown on March 26. It focuses on consumers’ obsession with expiration dates, perfect produce and portion sizes. Brie Berry, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology and environmental policy, will lead the discussion afterward.

In “Seeds of Time,” on April 2, agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler and farmers around the planet embark on passionate, personal journeys to save seeds. Brian McGill, professor of biological science, will lead the discussion.

“Meat the Truth,” on April 9, details how livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emissions worldwide than all the cars, trucks, trains, boats and planes combined. Tony Sutton, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology and environmental studies, will lead the discussion after the film.

The films are free and open to the public.

GARDENING & FOOD SECURITY

If you know of someone living in a food insecure household, the Foodscape Garden Project is now accepting applications for free gardens (raised beds, container gardens, etc.), seeds, plant starts, and anything else needed to plant a successful garden this year in Cumberland and York counties.

Find the online application at mainefoodscapes.com/gardenapplication. The deadline is Sunday, March 31.

Last year, Maine Foodscapes partnered with 21 households and three organizations, and provided nine workshops and 85 hours of gardening mentorship to income-eligible households. To be eligible for the program, households must have an annual income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For a two-person household, that’s $29,100, and for a four-person household it’s $44,122. Eligible applicants will be selected through a lottery beginning April 1. Gardens will be built in May and June.

Maine Foodscapes calculates that three 4-foot by 8-foot raised beds can provide $1,160 worth of organic produce in one growing season.

BAKING MASTER CLASS

Are you a fan (and who isn’t?) of the Great British Baking Show? It turns out the Dutch have their own version of the show, and one of the contestants will be teaching a master class in baking at the Camden Harbour Inn on May 11. Cas Wolters, a renowned Dutch baker who happens to be deaf, was the youngest contestant on the 2019 version of ‘Heel Holland Bakt.’ His class costs $25, but it’s free if you’re staying overnight at the inn. The next day, the restaurant will have a special Dutch station at its Mother’s Day brunch.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad