Stacy Begin, owner of Two Fat Cats bakery in Portland, is moving the India Street business to Lancaster Street in West Bayside. Photo by Margaret Logan

Portland’s favorite fat felines are about to get even bigger.

Two Fat Cats – the India Street bakery known for its whoopie pies and its real pies (with fabulous crusts!) – is moving to 195 Lancaster St. in West Bayside so the business can expand production. Co-owner Stacy Begin says she hopes the transition will be complete by early April.

The original location at 47 India St. opened in 2005. Founded by Portland restaurateur Dana Street and Alison Pray and Matt James of Standard Baking Co., the bakery’s motto was “sweets from scratch.” The business was named after former head baker Kristen DuShane’s two rotund kitties, Jack and Lily.

Begin and her husband bought Two Fat Cats in 2012, and opened a second location in South Portland at 740 Broadway. The India Street location “was just holding us back a little bit,” Begin said. “It was a really hard decision to move because we love the neighborhood much, and we’ve been here so long.”

Begin said the new West Bayside bakery will make more of everything, as well as produce a few new items, such as a line of vegan pies. “We’re hoping to offer better coffee service than we already have,” she said.

The Lancaster Street building won’t have a café like the South Portland location, but will have a few seats – “about 9-ish,” Begin said. The new location also has air conditioning and parking, which will make for a “better work environment and customer experience for everyone,” she said.

Famous Dave’s closes

The Maine Department of Labor has scheduled a Rapid Response session Friday for the 75 workers who lost their jobs over the weekend when Famous Dave’s, a barbecue restaurant in Scarborough, closed.

Sunday was the last day of business for the chain restaurant at 1 Cabela Boulevard. Famous Dave’s has 136 restaurants in 30 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, but the restaurant next to Cabela’s outdoor store in Scarborough, which opened in 2009, was the only one in Maine. The restaurant announced on Facebook last Friday that it would be closing, but gave no reason.

The Rapid Response session is scheduled for 10 a.m. this Friday at the Greater Portland Career Center, 151 Jetport Blvd. Information will be available about unemployment benefits, health insurance options, and re-employment assistance.

The restaurant’s owners announced on Facebook Tuesday that they will be refunding gift cards. Customers with gift cards that have a remaining balance should call (207) 510-0025 this week or next between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the gift card number, pin and name and address of the cardholder. No calls will be taken Saturday or Sunday.

A match made in Paridiso

Solo Italiano in Portland and The Farm Stand in South Portland have formed a partnership, offering a line of prepared foods for sale at the market.

Ben Slayton, chef Paolo Laboa, Mercedes Laboa and Penny Jordan have formed a new partnership between the Portland restaurant Solo Italiano and The Farm Stand market in South Portland. Courtesy of Welborn Design

Mercedes and Paolo Laboa, who own Solo Italiano, will prepare ready-to-go meals using local ingredients from The Farm Stand, which is owned by Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth and Ben Slayton of Farmers’ Gate, a butcher shop in Wales. The partnership also includes a new espresso bar at The Farm Stand, and the sale of Solo Italiano’s pastries, housemade pasta and Italian sauces.

“This collaboration is one we have dreamed about since moving to Maine,” Mercedes Laboa said. “A chef running a market with a butcher and veg farmer couldn’t be more ideal.”

Sorry, Philly transplants
The owners of The Five Spot & Philly Underground Bar at 935 Congress St., closed the South Philly cheesesteak shop on Dec. 29, after the Philadelphia Eagles played the New York Giants. (The Eagles won.)

The announcement was made on the Five Spot Facebook page, and the owners said they are staying put in Portland. “Portland is our home now and we ain’t going nowhere,” they wrote. “We are going to regroup and see what opportunities present themselves.”

The Five Spot opened in 2017.

The owners held a special event for Eagles fans Sunday at the VFW Post 6859 on Forest Avenue. They sold stromboli to fans watching the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. (The Eagles had their wings clipped.)

Use your noodle, love
Noodle Love opened over the weekend at 658 Congress St. Open daily, the new restaurant is serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Its ready-made bowls of Asian noodles range in price from $7 to $11, or you can choose your own ingredients and create your own bowl.

Winter break

If you’ve tried to dine at Tipo or Empire Chinese Kitchen this month, you arrived at the Portland restaurants in search of pasta or dumplings only to find the lights out and doors locked. The two restaurants closed temporarily for a winter break.  Maine restaurants often take a breather in January or February – sometimes even March – to give their staff a break, deep clean, or take care of a few renovations. The good news is that they will, eventually, re-open. Tipo, in fact, re-opens today and Empire tomorrow. It’s a good reminder that, this time of year, it’s always best to call ahead. Here are a few other places that are taking a winter break right now:

Tao Yuan in Brunswick and Hugo’s in Portland are closed for all of January. Both will re-open Feb. 1.

Central Provisions and Isa Bistro, both in Portland, closed Jan. 1 and will re-open Jan. 16.

The Garrison in Yarmouth will be closed the third week in February.

 

 

 


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