Fish tacos and a cup of clam chowder at Bob’s Clam Hut in Portland. Photo by Meredith Goad

I’ve got an update (kind of) on the situation at Bob’s Clam Hut in Portland, which closed last weekend.

Since I posted news of the closing Monday, I’ve been in touch with the owner, Michael Landgarten. He said Bob’s employed six people in the off season and eight in summer. He also said that the reduced hours over this winter and last were not a sign of poor sales, but “was actually working well for us. We are used to the seasonality of our type of food. We have that in Kittery, too.”

Sales had been running 20 percent higher this year than last, he said, so the company was optimistic about the future. So what happened? He’s not saying, at least not yet. “The reason for the closure has to do with some company changes we can’t quite share yet,” he said. “We need another month or so before going public.”

When we know, you will know.

Judy, Judy, Judy (in Cary Grant voice)

If you haven’t got dinner plans tonight, Judy Gibson – the new restaurant from chef Chris Wilcox – is scheduled to open at 5 p.m. at 171 Ocean St. in South Portland.

Wilcox says he’s not taking reservations, so plan accordingly. The restaurant has only 30 seats, a number that includes bar seating and spots at the counter overlooking the open kitchen.

The menu, which is posted on judygibsonrestaurant.com, is small but interesting, and focused on contemporary American food. Here’s what caught my eye: Out of the eight starters, I’d choose either the stewed butter beans or winter flounder crudo, followed by … well, both entrees look great. The local pork chop comes with charred carrots, coriander hot honey and chickpeas, and the grilled monkfish is accompanied by Alabama white sauce, crushed potatoes and marinated cabbage. Dessert is either cheese or butterscotch pudding.

Biddeford’s new vegan victuals

Robin’s Table, a vegan restaurant at 420 Elm St. in Biddeford, opened Monday.

Most of the breakfast items cost $5 to $6, including breakfast sandwiches, pancakes and French toast. For lunch, Robin’s is serving sandwiches that range in price from $4.50 to $8.

The restaurant is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends.

Mr. Tuna bulks up

Mr. Tuna, located in the Public Market House at Portland’s Monument Square, re-opened Tuesday after  two months; it was closed for renovations, co-owner Marisa Nelson said.

The space has been expanded to add nine seats, for a total of 16, Nelson said. The menu has also been expanded to include nigiri and sashimi, and a mini omakase option, she said. Half bottles of wine have been added to the beer and sake list as well.

Mr. Tuna is open 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays.

Are you Maine’s Best Baker?

A dozen bakers have signed up so far for the third annual Maine’s Best Bakers contest, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 21.

Cookies from last year’s Maine’s Best Bakers contest. Photo courtesy of The Hemophilia Alliance of Maine

The event, a combination bake sale/baking competition, will be at The Public Works, 52 Alder St., in Portland, and is sponsored by the Hemophilia Alliance of Maine. Ticket sales and donations at the event will benefit the alliance’s programs for people with blood disorders. Bakers keep any money they make in the bake sale.

Last year, more than 600 people attended, tasting the baked goods of competitors and voting for their favorites. The winner of the popular vote receives a $100 cash prize. Also, a panel of judges will decide winners in four categories – pies, cakes, cookies/bars and “other” – and will choose an overall winner, who will be awarded $500 and the official title of Maine’s Best Baker 2020.

Tickets cost $10, which includes five “taste tokens.” (Buy five more for $1.) Children 12 and under get in for $5. Tickets, as well as information on how to register to bake in the competition (you must have a licensed kitchen), are available at eventbrite.com.


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