The kitchen at The Garrison in Yarmouth. The restaurant will open July 25. Photo by Christian Hayes

Chef Christian Hayes has announced that his new restaurant, The Garrison in Yarmouth, will begin taking reservations at 9 a.m. Sunday on the restaurant’s website, thegarrisonmaine.com. The restaurant, which is located in the old Sparhawk Mill, will open on July 25.

Hayes, a winner of the TV food competition show “Chopped,” has been teasing his Facebook followers in recent weeks with photos of the renovations at the mill and some of the dishes he plans to serve. The one that I’m craving? Ghee-grilled lobster tail in coconut curry broth, served with kimchi pancake and orange blossom snap peas.

Hayes’ other business, Dandelion Catering Co., will continue.

Ghee-grilled lobster tail in coconut curry broth is on the menu at The Garrison. Photo by Christian Hayes

A Noble new restaurant in Brunswick

Jeremy Lamoureux, who grew up in midcoast Maine, has been named executive chef of the new restaurant at The Brunswick Hotel, 4 Noble St., Brunswick.

The restaurant will be called Noble Kitchen + Bar, and it’s scheduled to open Monday. Menu items include Maine Lobster Rolls, Crispy Native Duck, Caprese Macaroni and Cheese, and Jonah Crab Fritters.

Noble will have an outdoor patio with a bar and fire pit. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch. Noble also will offer daily happy hour specials and live music every Sunday.

Lamoureux graduated from the Southern Maine Community College culinary arts program and began his career as a prep cook for Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland, where he worked his way up to chef. For the past few years, he has worked as a sous chef in several area restaurants.

Now serving lunch

Chef Cara Stadler has announced that Lio, her small plates, wine-focused restaurant, will begin serving lunch. The restaurant, at 3 Spring St. in Portland, will be open for lunch Wednesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The set $14 menu includes a choice of main, salad, side and beverage. Lio has a pet-friendly deck and patio.

Scott Ryan, a veteran of Bao Bao Dumpling House (another Stadler enterprise), EVO Kitchen + Bar, and Falalfel Underground, has been running the kitchen at Lio since December.

You’ll have to go elsewhere for margaritas and enchiladas

El Camino, the funky Mexican cantina at 15 Cushing St. in Brunswick, has closed.

The restaurant, which had a 15-year run, closed its doors in June after its owners decided to simplify their lives and focus on their other restaurant, Salt Pine Social at 244 Front St. in Bath.

“We’re still in the restaurant business,” said Paul Comaskey, who has been a partner in both restaurants with his wife, Daphne Comaskey, and her twin sister, Eloise Humphrey. “It’s still what we do. We just don’t want to grind ourselves into the ground.”

The partners are selling the building El Camino was in, but they haven’t had any serious interest yet, they say.

Cheers to these two award winners

The Wine Spectator Awards have once again recognized two Portland restaurants.

Back Bay Grill at 65 Portland St. has been given an Award of Excellence, a category it has been recognized in since 1998, for its strong collection of affordable California wines. The restaurant’s wine director is Adrian Dwyer Stratton, who is also the general manager.

Five Fifty-Five at 555 Congress St. received another Best of Award of Excellence, a a category it has held since 2015. The Best of Award of Excellence is a step above the Award of Excellence category, and just below the Grand Award. The restaurant’s strengths, according to the magazine, are its moderately priced Bordeaux and wines from California, France and Italy. The restaurant’s co-owner, Michelle Corry, is its wine director, and the sommelier is Michael Uchikado.

Be party to ending hunger

Full Plates, Full Potential holds a lot of fundraising dinners for a great cause – feeding hungry kids –  but I don’t always list them here because the ticket prices are often out of range for many of our readers.

For those who’d like to contribute but have a little less cash flow, check out the third annual Let Us Eat food and music festival Sunday at Oxbow Brewing Co.’s 49 Washington Ave. location in Portland. The event, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m., costs $75, includes street food prepared by Bob’s Clam Hut, Bresca & the Honeybee, Chaval, Duckfat Friteshack, Holy Donut, The Honey Paw, O’Oysters, Piccolo, Slab and Terlingua. As you eat, listen to Ryan Zoidis + Friends; Zoidis is a Portland saxophonist and founding member of the band Lettuce. For tickets, go to fullplates.org and click on events.

Healthy cheesecake? I’m in!

This chocolate cheesecake with a cacao nibs garnish comes from Slice of Heaven in Portland. Photo by K. Kastelic

Slice of Heaven, a dessert business that makes cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cheesecakes and other treats without any animal products, has opened upstairs in the Portland Public Market House in Monument Square. According to owner Jennifer Kastelic’s Instagram, the sweet little business is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to being raw and vegan, Slice of Heaven treats are gluten-free and are served in biodegradable packaging.

Survey says …

Which state eats the most cheese? What is Maine’s favorite Halloween candy? Do Mainers stuff their turkeys at Thanksgiving? My inbox gets a regular serving of these food-related surveys, and most of them don’t mean much. Some PR person looking for click bait sends them along, hoping we’ll bite and link to their organization, whatever it may be. As a steady diet, these surveys can leave you undernourished, but occasionally they can be fun.

Take the latest two. The team from Reviews.org “poured through” restaurant reviews on Yelp and declared, based on that data alone, that Eventide Oyster Co. is the “best restaurant in Maine.” Eventide has supposedly been reviewed 2,674 times and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Even if this is true, it’s hardly a surprise. We already know that it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Portland just by looking at the line that goes out the door in the summer – and seeing all the national attention it gets.

More interesting to me was the data mining done by Infogroup.com, which went through a database of more than 15 million records to determine the metropolitan areas with the greatest concentration of ice cream parlors in the United States. The study looked at Metropolitan Statistical Areas (designated geographical areas used by the U.S. Census Bureau) of a certain size, then ranked the cities by their concentration of ice cream-related businesses per 10,000 residents. The Portland–South Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area came in second in the nation, beat only by the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA MSA, on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Now that’s puzzling, given that we live in a place that gets about six months of winter. Maybe we eat two or three times as much ice cream in the summer to make up for all those cold months?