Grace Lowenberg, left, and Danielle Walker prepare orders at the new Walkers Maine food truck in Cape Arundel. Photo courtesy of Walkers Maine

The pandemic has been rough on the restaurant industry in general, but Justin and Danielle Walker suffered an extra blow early on when their Cape Neddick restaurant, Walkers Maine, was heavily damaged by an electrical fire on April 1.

Now the couple has taken a step toward normalcy with the opening of a food truck. The truck launched Oct. 3 with their fried chicken, which had been featured in a magazine and which the couple had been promoting and planning to sell the day after the fire.

“We felt we owed everybody some fried chicken, so that’s what we opened with,” Danielle Walker said.

The food truck is open from 4-8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, serving a limited menu that will change frequently, Walker said. Current menu items include broccoli salad; duck fried rice bowl; burgers, pizza and pastas; wood-fired beef; and one of my favorites – whole roasted cauliflower with nigella seeds, honey, thyme and crispy garlic. The entrees may be ordered in single or family-sized portions. Customers can pre-order online, then drive into the parking lot for pick-up.

“We want to make it completely contactless if that is what the comfort level is of our guests, but they can also walk up and order,” Walker said.

Long term, the food truck will become a part of Walkers’ events and catering operation. And what about the restaurant? Renovations have been slowed by the pandemic, so the Walkers are shooting to reopen in the spring.

Walkers Maine is at 1273 Route 1.

A midcoast favorite reopens

A spruced-up Owls Head General Store, 2 South Shore Drive in Owls Head, reopened Friday. The popular store sells groceries and takeout, including burgers, pizza, soups, salads and sandwiches. The store is open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Hot diggity dog

“Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.” So said Dwight D. Eisenhower, but it could be the motto for the first-ever Snapperfest Sunday, a joint project of Fore River Brewing and the Black Tie Co., to be held at the brewery, at 35 Park Ave. in South Portland.

Actually, they don’t need Ike. The festival already has a catchphrase that will be emblazoned on T-shirts: “I snapped in 2020.”

Tickets cost $35 and include two hot dogs, two sides, and two beers. (You can buy more if you want at the event.) Organizers have scheduled two event times for social distancing, from noon-2 p.m. and from 3-5 p.m.

In addition to the classic red snapper, hot dog choices include a kimchi dog and an East Yard Dog, the latter a Pineland Farms all-beef dog with beer mustard and Morse’s sauerkraut. Sides include citrus apple slaw, mac-and-cheese, and apple maple bacon baked beans.

For tickets, go to eventbrite.com.

Portland Banded Brewing now open

Banded Brewing Co. has opened a second location in Portland. Photo courtesy of Banded Brewing Co.

Banded Brewing Co. has opened a second location – this one in Portland. The new tasting room and five-barrel brew house, which opened Saturday at 82 Hanover St., has both indoor seating and a three-season patio.

According to owner Ian McConnell, who opened the original Banded Brewing in Biddeford in 2013, the new location will allow for a broader range of styles, as well as more small batch and experimental beers.

Hours are 4-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2-9 p.m. Saturday, and 2-7 p.m. Sunday.

Help for the hungry

The pandemic has exacerbated the problem of food insecurity in Maine.

The nonprofit Full Plates Full Potential announced last week that, with the help of $415,000 in donations, the Summer Food Service Program served more than 1.4 million summer meals to Maine children at 76 sites around the state. That’s up more than 200 percent from the previous summer.

Justin Alfond, director of Full Plates Full Potential, attributed the escalation to the relaxation of certain federal rules to make it easier to feed needy kids during the pandemic. Instead of requiring that children be fed on-site, for example, meals could be delivered, and sometimes offered in bulk, removing those barriers to access.

Summer is over, but the need is ongoing, Alfond says. And it’s all ages. There are a couple of food drives happening this month where you can help. The Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport (184 Burnett Road) is accepting food donations every Saturday in October to support the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Items that are particularly needed are cereal, peanut butter, canned vegetables and canned tomatoes. Drop off items between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturdays at the Farm Café.

In Naples, Great Northern Docks and Maine Cabin Masters are sponsoring a drive-thru food drive on Oct. 22 at Great Northern Docks, 1114 Roosevelt Trail. Stop by between 2 and 4 p.m. that day with a non-perishable donation for the Crosswalk Food Pantry.

Sam Merriam, owner of Great Northern Docks, asks that those donating wear masks and stay in their cars, and wait for volunteers to collect the food. The cast of Maine Cabin Masters, a reality show on the DIY network, will be on hand to wave hello, and donors will be entered into a raffle to win a dock ladder, or a Maine Cabin Masters gift basket.

Mainers make Saveur 100

Rabelais owner Don Lindgren at his Biddeford store. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Four Maine businesses are featured in his year’s Saveur 100, an annual celebration of the magazine’s favorite foods, chefs, restaurants and a host of quirky culinary picks. (Well, it used to be annual; this is the first list in five years.)

Antiquarian bookseller Don Lindgren, who owns Rabelais in the North Dam Mill in Biddeford, shared a few vintage publications that illustrate Americans’ tendencies to grow, preserve and prepare their own food during times of crisis.

The Salty Owl in Owl’s Head is cited as “a reason to charter a flight to Owl’s Head Maine,” and shares its delectable-sounding recipe for Ham-and-Jam Hand Pies.

Good-To-Go, a company that makes “surprisingly sophisticated” shelf-stable camping food in Kittery, gets a shout-out. And Atlantic Sea Farms earns praise for its edible seaweed and work with lobstermen under the headline “How we like to kelp the planet.”

Heirloom apples, bespoke dishes

Eight Maine restaurants are partnering with apple expert Sean Turley and Portland Food Map for a project called Apples Four Days. Thursday through Sunday, each restaurant will create a special dish with an heirloom apple variety.

Sur Lie in Portland, for example, will be cooking with Yellow Newtown Pippin, and Leeward, also in Portland, will use Smokehouse apples. Other participating businesses are Belleville, Chaval, Mr. Tuna and Union, all in Portland; Magnus on Water in Biddeford; and The Purple House in North Yarmouth. Follow the restaurants on Instagram to find out which apple they’re using and what they plan to make.

Food editor Peggy Grodinsky contributed to this column.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.