“Chopped” winning chef Christian Hayes works in the kitchen of his new Yarmouth restaurant, The Garrison, last summer. A drop in business because of coronavirus concerns, coupled with financial pressures, prompted Hayes to lay off his staff of 11. Other small businesses are in similar straits as they try to navigate the impact of the pandemic. Kate Irish Collins / The Forecaster

Chef Christian Hayes announced Thursday afternoon that Saturday night would be the last take-out service for The Garrison, the restaurant he opened just last summer in Yarmouth.

“Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for our team,” Hayes wrote in a message on Facebook. “We feel that our decision is in everyone’s best interest – to be home, stay home, and stay safe.”

Hayes said he doesn’t know what the future holds for the restaurant. Within 24 hours of announcing its closure, he posted photos of T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags and other merchandise he’s designed that will be sold online at teespring.com. The profits will go toward continued operating costs during the closure, he said.

Mobile seafood

Mere Point Oyster Company is offering pick-up and delivery of lobster and other shellfish in the Bath, Brunswick, Freeport and Topsham areas. Deliveries are available on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and pick-up is available on Tuesdays and Fridays. Go to merepointoyster.com to find out how to order.

Grab a beer


Miss having a beer with your buddies? Well, crack one open and get in front of your computer. The Maine Brew Bus is hosting daily, half-hour Virtual Brewery Tours on Instagram Live (@mainebrewbus). Tours may appear at 3, 4 or 5 p.m. – or all three of those time slots.

Viewers are encouraged to share what they are drinking and ask questions of the featured brewers on the live feed. The brewers will talk about new beers, and brew house favorites and the impact the coronavirus has had on their companies.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, Heather and Nathan Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing will give an update on the Maine Island Trail release.

If you miss a tour, no worries. The tours live on @mainebrewbus Instagram stories for at least 24 hours. The Maine Brew Bus is also working to post video of all the tours on YouTube and the Maine Brew Bus website, and will also be releasing them as a podcast.

Eat Brunswick

The Brunswick Downtown Association has created a list of local restaurants, retailers and other small businesses that are offering pick-up, take-out and delivery options. More than two dozen Brunswick restaurants are on the list, which you can find here.


Baguettes are back

Missing morning buns and blueberry scones? Baguettes and brownies? Standard Baking Co. on Commercial Street in Portland re-opened its doors Monday with new hours and “safe new systems” in place, says owner Alison Pray. The bakery will be selling breads and pastries from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The menu, which will be posted on the door, will change daily.

Loaner ovens

Ryan Carey, owner of Noble Barbecue at 1706 Forest Ave. in Portland, knows that a lot of restaurants are barely hanging on. That’s why he is offering some of his spare equipment to other food-and-drink establishments if they think that using it could help them stay in business.

Carey says he has several extra mobile wood-fired ovens, four mobile smokers, a doughnut machine, and a concession machine for making French fries that he is willing to lend out to anyone who can use them.

Meanwhile, his own restaurant will begin offering take-out and delivery barbecue (by the pound and half-pound), comfort food sides, local beer and wine, and wood-fired, Detroit-style pizza Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. He’ll also be selling Maine Craft Distilling’s new hand sanitizer. Pick-up will be from a drive-through “mini market” set up in the Noble parking lot. If sales go well this weekend, Carey plans to continue the set-up indefinitely.


Take-and-bake dinners

Other Side Diner on Washington Avenue is closed, but Pete Sueltenfuss, who owns the diner with his wife, Jessica, says their two Other Side delis, at 235 Vaughan St. and 164 Veranda St., are open and focusing on take-and-bake dinners. The doors are open for people to shop, but Sueltenfuss says they are also encouraging customers to call ahead and use curbside pick-up.

Nurses from Mercy Hospital with their lobster roll kits from Luke’s Lobster. Photo courtesy of Luke’s Lobster

Feed the frontline

If you admire the people working on the front lines of this pandemic and wish you could do something to help them, you can: You can help feed them.

Local restaurants are participating in a national effort to feed the health care workers, first responders, hourly workers staffing grocery stores and other essential businesses, as well as staff at retirement homes, which have highly vulnerable populations. The program, which started at Penguin Pizza in Boston, is called Feeding the Frontline.

Woodford Food & Beverage on Forest Avenue is believed to be the first local restaurant to join, making a delivery of cheeseburgers Wednesday to the staff at Ocean View at Falmouth, an assisted living facility. The staff at the Barron Center, which provides nursing care for the elderly and disabled, has also been fed. These meals are free to such workers, and paid for in part by community generosity. Sponsor a delivery either by calling the restaurant at (207) 200-8503 or buying a gift certificate on the Woodford F&B website – specify that you want it to go to Feeding the Frontline.


Luke’s Lobster has also joined the program, delivering lobster roll kits to hospital workers. To help, call the restaurant at (207) 274-6097 and use your credit card to buy a kit ($30) that includes enough lobster for two lobster rolls. Add a ready-to-eat lobster roll for $15.

Leavitt’s Deli recently sent 40 sandwiches to the staff at Maine Medical Center.

Several other Portland-area restaurants hope to sign up for Feeding the Frontline. We’ll list them as they come on board.

Help a fisherman

Since we can’t go out to eat, presumably, more of us are cooking at home. Two Portland businesses that normally sell wholesale have regeared for sales to individuals, as a way to help fishermen who have, at least for now, lost their wholesale accounts.

Gulf of Maine Sashimi usually sells to local restaurants. With many restaurants now shuttered except for take-out, the seafood company is looking for ways to keep its suppliers – local fishermen – afloat. The company has started selling fillets and whole fish through its website, gulfofmainesashimi.com. You place and pay for an order online, then pick it up at a designated time and location. The three pick-up sites are in Portland, Buxton and Topsham. Consumers can sign up for alerts to find out which species will be available in any given week.


Luke’s Lobster, too, is offering straight to the public its lobster, crab and shrimp for sale by the pound.

They don’t sell toilet paper, but …

A bit of good news for farmers: Farmers markets provide essential services, and therefore are exempt from the recent statewide prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry recently informed the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets of the ruling, which is similar to regulations in some other states.

Markets that opt to stay open should take steps to facilitate social distancing and provide hand sanitizer and washing stations for shoppers and vendors, the department cautioned. And food sampling is out. Most of Maine’s winter markets have stayed open so far, relying on such measures as well as pre-bagging vegetables and moving outdoors.

Rain date

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has canceled, postponed or switched to remote learning for all of its events scheduled through May 1. An orcharding workshop, a grazing conference, and a workshop on grafting fruit trees have been cancelled. The 2020 Seed Swap and Scion Exchange, a kitchen licensing workshop, a hide tanning workshop, and all Grow Your Own Organic Garden classes have been postponed. Visit the individual event page on the MOFGA website to check on the status of all events. MOFGA offices are now closed to the public, and its staff is working from home.

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