Chef Christian Hayes, who survived the pandemic by starting a new restaurant serving burgers and similar casual fare, has announced he’ll be reopening his fine dining restaurant, The Garrison, on July 1.

The Garrison owner/chef Christian Hayes opened casual spot Thoroughfare as a way to survive the pandemic. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

The restaurant, in the Sparhawk Mill on the banks of the Royal River in Yarmouth, opened in 2019. About eight months later, it closed because of the pandemic, and Hayes got to work on Thoroughfare, also in Yarmouth, a takeout restaurant with an outdoor patio. He started it to help pay the bills but plans to keep it going, making it his third business, including Dandelion Catering.

Reservations for The Garrison will be available soon through the restaurant’s website, thegarrisonmaine.com.

Barbecue returns, with extras

Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill at 476 Stevens Ave. in Portland reopened in late May with a new patio and a couple of fun extras – a fire pit and cornhole. Summer hours, both in the Deering Center location and at the original restaurant in South Portland, are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m. Sundays, and closed Mondays.

Orchid Thai reblooms

Orchid Thai, an upscale Thai restaurant at 202 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth, reopened last week.

Welcome back

Little Tap House, the popular gastropub at 106 High St. in Portland, quietly reopened earlier this month after being closed for 15 months during the pandemic.

The pub has new items on the menu, including Carolina-style ribs, Peking duck and Scallop St. Jacques. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m., and dinner hours are 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Shade Shack in Scarborough, opening Friday, will deliver your dogs while you sun on Higgins Beach. Photo courtesy of Shade Shack

Waterfront dining

No need to interrupt your people-watching or set down that riveting summer read. This summer, if you’re lying on the sand at Higgins Beach and get a little hungry, you can order hot dogs – and get them delivered to you at the beach.

I wrote about Shade Shack, a beach lunch service launching Friday at the Higgins Beach Inn, in May, but I recently found out that their delivery service will extend beyond the immediate neighborhood to the beach itself. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily (through September), you can call in or place an online order from the comfort of your beach towel. A bicycle courier will deliver it to the beach entrance and alert you via text or phone that the food has arrived. (You’ll still have to walk across the sand to get it, you lazy bum.)

On the menu are Feltman’s Coney Island all-beef hot dogs, as well as lobster rolls, burgers, grilled cheese and BLTs.

The Higgins Beach Inn is at 34 Ocean Ave. in Scarborough.

BBQ quail with soba, seaweed and “delicious pickled things” from the Evo X food truck. Photo by John Glover

Drink and dine downtown

The Fore Points Marina Bar is back for the season, serving beverages and food from the Evo X truck Wednesdays through Mondays from noon to 9 p.m. Chef Matt Ginn said the bar will be adding Mondays soon.

Coming attraction

Wayside Tavern, a restaurant coming to 747 Congress St. in the same building as The Francis hotel, originally had a target opening date of June 1. Now it looks like it will be mid- to late-July, according to Siobhan Sindoni, a sommelier who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, chef Michael Sindoni. The couple also owns the Roll Call food cart.

Siobhan Sindoni said the menu will be influenced by traditional Italian and French cuisine, but will take advantage of fresh, local seafood and produce. It won’t be, she emphasized, “super modern food or crazy new combinations of flavor profiles.”

She and her husband used to enjoy dining at Flood’s, which occupied the location until it was closed by the pandemic. They fell in love with its “classic and timeless” look. “If it wasn’t that space, we probably wouldn’t have jumped on it as quickly,” Siobhan Sindoni said, “but we just really love the space, and when we realized it was for lease in the fall 2020, we reached out to the owners of The Francis to put our names in the hat.”

Wayside will have roughly 55 seats, including indoor seating, bar seating and about a dozen seats outside. Sindoni said they want to attract diners who are looking for a glass of wine and a snack, as well as a place to celebrate a special occasion. “It’s really important for us to be a part of the community,” she said. “A huge goal of ours is to create a space that’s cozy and warm. We certainly do want to capture what our neighbors want in a neighborhood spot.”

Roll Call will continue as is, for now – Sindoni’s brother-in-law is a partner in that business and plays a big role in running it. Sindoni said after food cart season ends, they may look for a brick-and-mortar space for Roll Call.

Pigeons to close

Pigeons, a daytime-only restaurant at 59 Washington Ave. in Portland owned by the same couple who created the acclaimed Drifters Wife, will close after Saturday’s service, according to an announcement on social media Monday, less than two months after it opened.

The restaurant, which has been open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, launched May 12 as the successor to Drifters Wife, which owners Peter and Orenda Hale closed last year during the pandemic.

In an Instagram post, the Hales wrote: “Life is certainly not a straight path … but that’s the pain and beauty of it. Thank you to the team behind Pigeons who created something truly magical. A team full of talent, professionalism, charm, wit and heart.”

This summer, the Hales added, they will focus on Maine & Loire, their adjacent wine shop, which they plan to expand into the restaurant space.

Grill of Victory for Lomac

Sabin Lomac judges a dish on his new Food Network show. Grill of Victory. Food Network photo

Sabin Lomac, co-owner of Cousins Maine Lobster, is on a roll. And we’re not talking about lobster rolls.

Lomac, who has been developing a side gig as a TV host, is now starring on a new Food Network show called “Grill of Victory,” a barbecue competition that  focuses on three home cooks who compete in three rounds of grilling challenges for a chance at winning a custom outdoor kitchen.

Lomac has filmed six hour-long episodes of the new show. He and his cousin Jim Tselikis recently co-hosted Food Truck Rehab, another Food Network show. The pair is waiting to hear if the Food Network will order more episodes of that show, according to a Cousins Maine Lobster spokesperson.

Cheese festival resumes

The Maine Cheese Festival, canceled last year because of the pandemic, will be held Sept. 12 this year, at Manson Park in Pittsfield.

The festival – which features live music, a beer tent, and samples of Maine cheese – is the Maine Cheese Guild’s largest source of funding and an important event for Maine cheesemakers, as an occasion to introduce their products to the public.

This year’s event will include the first annual Cheese Awards.

Part of the new East Bayside map that shows visitors where to find craft beer and good food. Courtesy of Dean’s Sweets

On the map

Kristen Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean’s Sweets, has put together a map of the retailers, including local food and drink businesses, in Portland’s East Bayside to make it easier for consumers to navigate the area in their search for beer, wine, rum, kombucha, coffee – and chocolate.

It also includes a little about the history of the neighborhood and touts the free parking in the area.

The map comes in a print version, available at any East Bayside retailer, and a digital version that can be downloaded at eastbaysidemap.com.

Return to normalcy

Signs of a return to normal in local grocery stores: At Portland Food Co-op, shoppers have resumed using reusable produce bags and reusable containers for bulk purchases.

“It was disheartening to have to stop these practices during the pandemic because environmental sustainability, including the reduction of plastic and packaging in our food system, is part of our mission,” general manager John Crane said. “We are thrilled to welcome these back and to again encourage low-waste lifestyles.”

And at 11 Hannaford stores in Maine, bulk bakery shopping was reintroduced on Sunday. Olive bars and pizza and soup stations have also reopened. The stores are continuing to follow state safety guidelines, according to spokeswoman Ericka Dodge, such as hourly swaps of utensils and providing hand sanitizer for customer use.

As of July 1, the state’s ban on plastic bags, delayed because of the pandemic, will take effect. By law, shoppers will have to bring reusable bags to the store or pay a 5 cent fee per bag for paper bags.


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