Could Ocean Street in South Portland’s Knightville neighborhood be the next Washington Avenue-style foodie hub?

SoPo Seafood, a direct-to-consumer seafood business that launched in April, has announced plans to open a retail shop and raw bar at 171 Ocean St., in the former location of Uncle Andy’s Diner. The target opening date is “conservatively” next May, says Joshua Edgecomb, who owns the business with partners Matt Brown and Lucas Myers.

That neighborhood has seen some quality food-related businesses moving in recently. Taco Trio, which opened on Ocean Street in 2011, has been joined by chef-owned restaurant Judy Gibson (which opened in early March) and the Solo Cucina Market (which opened at the end of March). Now make room for SoPo Seafood.

Edgecomb said they plan to start using the new space as a curbside pickup location as soon as December. Meanwhile, the business is operating as usual, offering home delivery of Maine seafood to several southern Maine towns, overnight shipping, and curbside pickup from the Biddeford Mill.

Edgecomb says they are still developing the menu for the Ocean Street market, but plan to focus on Maine oysters. The new shop will sell wine and have a full display case of fish, including a lobster tank, he said.

Our just desserts

A deep dish strawberry-rhubarb pie will be on the menu at Mount Desserts, a dessert shop opening in November at 7 Exchange Street. Photo courtesy of Mount Desserts

A dessert shop called Mount Desserts is scheduled to open in the former Holy Donut location on Exchange Street in Portland on Sunday – or sometime later next week, if city inspections take longer. It will be in the space until the end of February, when it will move to its permanent location, now being renovated, at 53 Wharf St.

The shop is owned by sisters Brit and Hannah Babcock, who started selling pies from their home and their business partners’ home on Mount Desert Island in early July. They only sold three varieties over the summer – blueberry, mixed berry, and strawberry-rhubarb – “and we just took off from the very get-go,” Brit Babcock said. “People love our pies.”

The island shops are seasonal, but the Portland location will be open year round and have an expanded menu. In addition to berry pies, the sisters plan to sell holiday pies (think pumpkin, apple, salted caramel apple, and chocolate pecan) and add hand pies such as bacon-cheddar; mushroom, caramelized onion and gorgonzola; pulled pork; barbecue chicken; spinach-feta; and chocolate ganache with raspberry and strawberry. The deep dish pies will cost $25, hand pies $3.95 to $5.95. The shop will also sell coffee, tea and espresso drinks.

Hannah Babcock does most of the baking, her sister said. “She’s a fabulous baker, and I’m her sous chef,” Brit Babcock said. “I (handle) the business side of it more.”

The MDI locations will reopen next summer, from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.

Mom-and-pop bakery comes to Freeport

A new bakery and coffee/tea shop opened earlier this month in Freeport at 32 Main St., on the corner of Main and Grove streets, next to the town hall.

ZesTea sells Turkish coffee and teas as well as a variety of pastries, such as fig-and-walnut cookies, potato-leek borek (a filled Turkish pastry), mandarin-almond pie and chocolate babka. The shop also sells merchandise, such as teacups and Turkish tea urns.

Potato-leek borek from ZesTea, a new bakery and coffee/tea shop in Freeport. Photo courtesy of Arda Turac

The owners, baker Elif Erkan and her husband, Arda Turac, are originally from Turkey but have been in the United States for about 20 years. They lived in Florida most of that time – Erkan was a high school math teacher, and Turac was production director at a magazine publishing company – but have long dreamed of moving to New England.

“We were basically burned out for a while,” Turac said. “The last couple of hurricanes down in Florida were the last straw. We decided to quit our jobs, sell everything and move up here.”

A few years ago, the couple took a road trip from Boston to Bar Harbor, checking out New England towns they might want to live in, and settled on Freeport. They built a house there last year, moved there in February, then opened ZesTea in October.

The bakery, open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, is takeout only for now, with just three people allowed in the shop at a time for social distancing.

Candy corn ice cream is one of three Halloween-inspired flavors Rococo in Kennebunkport created for the holiday this year. Photo courtesy of Lauren Guptill

I scream, you scream …

We all scream for ice cream inspired by Halloween candy.

Rococo, the Kennebunkport-based artisan ice cream shop, has created six new flavors made with favorite Halloween candies: Caramel Apple Lollipops; Candy Corn & Candy Pumpkins; Almond Joy Bars (this one is dairy free); Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Take Five Bars; and Good and Plenty Licorice Chews.

The Halloween flavors are available online or for local pickup, but Rococo owner Lauren Guptill says to call ahead. Guptill also has set some pints aside to sell Halloween weekend at the Rococo shop at 6 Spring St. in Kennebunkport. Cost: $12 per pint, or $14.99 per shipped pint. The ice creams will be sold by the scoop at the shop as well. The shop is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 pm. Sunday.

Gospel brunch canceled

If you bought tickets to the upcoming gospel brunch hosted by Sweet Sea Cookies, the event has been postponed until the spring.

The brunch, scheduled for Sunday at Thompson’s Point, was to have marked the launch of Less Plastic Portland, a program aimed at encouraging local businesses to use less plastic. Organizers are now processing refunds. In an email to ticket holders, they cited “the climbing numbers of COVID-19 in Maine and across the country” as the reason for the postponement.

Custom diet plans

Vinland restaurant on Congress Street in Portland served its last meal in March, then shuttered permanently in August, a victim of the pandemic.

Chef/owner David Levi said at the time that he viewed it as a new beginning, and his life so far has been full of them – first, a new daughter, now a new gig as a food, nutrition and lifestyle consultant.

Levi is taking on a limited number of clients for private consultations via Facetime or Zoom. He has been a teacher and a tutor before, so this is within his comfort zone. His goal is to help his clients improve their diets and craft a personal strategy for attaining realistic goals. He’ll help them tailor their diet, teach them the basics of food prep, show them how to outfit their home kitchen to make it more functional and efficient, and instruct them in making good food choices.

Sessions cost $120 per hour. To learn more, or to schedule a free consultation, go to bit.ly/34u3144 or text (917) 803-3172,


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