Susannah Gleason, right, dines at Piccolo with her friend Daniel Rios in February, 2019. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez moved to Portland from New York City in 2012 with a dream of raising a family here and opening their own restaurant. They’ve done both. They named their first restaurant, Piccolo at 111 Middle Street, after their new daughter – Piccolo means “little” in Italian, like their baby, and the restaurant was tiny – and watched her grow there. (She’s now 7 years old.) A few years later they opened a second restaurant, Chaval, serving French and Spanish cuisine, at 58 Pine Street on the West End.

The pandemic, and the fact that social distancing was not practical at Piccolo, forced the temporary closure of the restaurant, which was known for its romantic environment and Italian food. Last weekend, the couple announced the sad news that they are closing Piccolo for good. Chaval will reopen, for curbside pick-up and delivery only, today .

Honey Paw and Eventide reopen after COVID scare

After closing temporarily when an employee tested positive for COVID-19, The Honey Paw and Eventide Oyster Co. have reopened.

The neighboring restaurants, owned by the same restaurant group, shut their doors last Wednesday. Before reopening, employees at both restaurants who had worked at any time in the previous two weeks were tested for the coronavirus.

“This is significantly more testing than was required by the CDC to meet contact tracing requirements, but we wanted both our entire staff and our guests to be certain of their safety,” the restaurants explained on social media. “We have cleaned the restaurant top to bottom, and have had all of our safety protocols reviewed and approved by the CDC.”

Little Barn opens in Kennebunk

The newly renovated interior of Little Barn, the new restaurant at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk. Photo by C.A. Smith Photography

The White Barn Inn in Kennebunk has opened a new restaurant called Little Barn, located in the historic barn (newly renovated) that was the inspiration for the hotel’s name when it opened 46 years ago.

Little Barn has 40 seats inside and a dozen outside, on a patio overlooking the pool. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and takes reservations, but they are not required. (However keep in mind that the state suggests this because of the pandemic: “Use reservations with call ahead or online as a best practice.” The idea is to make contact tracing simpler, should it be necessary.)

Chef Matthew Padilla’s menu features modern New England food made with local ingredients procured from Maine farmers and fishermen. The menu includes classic dishes such as herb-roasted half chicken with mustard greens and sourdough croutons, and seasonal specials such as seared Maine Bluefin tuna with cherry couscous and tarragon chimichurri.

P stands for Portland and pizza

Radici, a new pizzeria, has opened in the former location of Terlingua at 52 Washington Avenue. Radici means roots in Italian.

The menu features three varieties of pizza, all 12-inches  – Marinara, Margherita, and Margherita di Bufala – which cost between $12 and $14. Add pork sausage or anchovies for a small surcharge.

Hours for contactless pick-up are 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Customers can pre-order Wednesday beginning at 4 p.m. for orders to be picked up Thursday.

Terlingua has relocated down the street to 40 Washington Avenue so it can expand, but is temporarily closed because of the pandemic.

Drink beer safely

With Summer Session – the largest craft beer festival in Maine – canceled this year, the Maine Brewers Guild has come up with a socially-distanced alternative. Craft beer fans who participate in Maine Beer Night, to be held at 7 p.m. July 25, will get a sampler pack of Maine beer to taste at home while they watch a selection of videos created by Maine breweries.

The event will use Facebook as a platform. Want to participate? Go to mainebeernight.com to buy a $5 ticket that will allow you access to several videos, such as a brewers round table with Tributary Brewing in Kittery; a behind-the-scenes look at River Drive Cooperage in Buxton, one of the biggest suppliers of barrels for barrel-aging beer in the country; a discussion of beer can art with Chris Morley, the owner of Mason’s Brewing in Brewer; and a virtual hike with Alex Maffucci and Allie Sasner of Atlantic Brewing Co., who will show you good places on Mount Desert Island to drink beer with a view.

“This isn’t a zoom call,” Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, said in a press release. “We’re not talking about 1,000 small faces talking over each other on a screen. What we’re creating is something totally new. This is a night where beer fans can enjoy some hand-selected Maine beers and get an insider’s peek into the people, places, and processes behind our beer scene here in Maine.”

Beer fans can also buy a Maine Beer Night T-shirt through the website, and pre-order a mixed 6- or 12-pack of Maine-brewed beers to drink throughout the evening. Six packs cost $35 and come with two Maine Brewers Guild tasting glasses; pay $55 and they’ll throw in a T-shirt. The 12-packs cost $65 and come with four tasting glasses; pay $85 to include the T-shirt.

The beer can be picked up at your choice of shop on July 23, 24 or 25, or ask for delivery through the CarHop drink delivery service (for a $7.99 delivery fee). Find a map of participating shops at MaineBeerMap.com.

Throughout Maine Beer Night, you’ll be able to share comments and photos through the Facebook group. No pants required.

Drink beer, give back

Allagash Brewing Co. is celebrating its 25th anniversary with “25 Days of Giving.”

The campaign to help Maine nonprofits, which began July 1 with the brewery-only release of Along the Way, will run through July 25. All of the proceeds from the sales of Along the Way are being donated to the Falmouth Food Pantry.

Allagash also plans a series of raffles, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to nonprofits. Craft beer lovers will love the prizes: the opportunity to brew a pilot beer with Allagash brewmaster Jason Perkins; a wooden tap handle handmade by Allagash founder Rob Tod; and Allagash beer every month for a year.

Nonprofits that will benefit from the 25 Days of Giving include the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, the Animal Refuge League, the Maine Community Foundation People of Color Fund, the My Place Teen Center, Friends of Casco Bay, and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

For a calendar of raffles, donation drives and other events, go to allagash.com/beer-releases-promotions.

Maine farmers and racial justice

Even farmers, it seems, could use some education in racial justice. The Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association is sponsoring a Racial Justice and Maine Farmers online event (via Zoom) from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday – part of its series of Farmer to Farmer in the Field discussions for farm owners and managers. Details and a link to the meeting will be emailed to participants when they register at mofga.org

Two facilitators skilled in the topic, Aryolyn Hill and Genna Cherichello, will lead the discussion. Hill and Cherichello have attended training at the Center for Racial Justice in Education in New York, and have co-facilitated racial justice training for the New York Botanical Garden’s Children’s Education department.

The event is not racial justice training, according to MOFGA, but an opportunity for Maine farmers to learn how to promote equity and accountability in their farm business, including how to support a more inclusive workplace for apprentices and workers.

In announcing the event, MOFGA acknowledged that it is “a white-led organization with a primarily white membership base.”

“We are at the beginning stages of learning how best to stand in solidarity with our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community, address past harms and systems of racial oppression in the organization’s work, as well as commit to keeping social justice at the center of MOFGA’s internal work,” read a note announcing the discussion. “We hope to use the MOFGA platform to encourage others to engage in the work of racial justice and to use our resources to continue these conversations, knowing that the fear of being perfect shouldn’t stop us from committing to justice work.”

Fast track to ice cream

The folks behind several Maine-centric websites that promote wedding and food businesses in the state have launched another site, this one for ice cream lovers.

MaineIceCreamTrail.com, created by Proactive Resources Inc., a Portland-based marketing and design firm, is a directory of more than 300 places to get ice cream in Maine. The directory is organized both by region and the alphabet, and includes details such as whether the ice cream stop has dairy-free options or doggie ice cream for your furry companion.


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