“This is a prototypical Portland kind of thing,” observed Anne Underwood, sipping a glass of wine in a parking lot lined with food startups offering samples.

Fork Food Lab’s July Summer Sampler had been postponed by a day because of forecasted thunderstorms (that never materialized). Although some of the vendors and ticket-holders couldn’t make the new date work, attendees on July 22 were appreciative of the lack of lines and looking forward to seeing more vendors at the third and final Summer Sampler in August.

“This right here is worth it,” said Donna Boudreau of South Portland, pointing to Cap’n Bill’s lobster roll cart.

Food business incubator Fork Food Lab was established in 2016. Today, 40 member companies share commercial kitchen facilities on Parris Street in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland.

Bill Lennell, in a food cart masquerading as a fishing boat, passed out fresh hot dog buns overflowing with nothing but lobster meat and a bit of lettuce.

Tickets to the Summer Sampler were $10 and included a tote bag and a complimentary beer, wine or seltzer. Empanada Club offered samples of Argentinian street food. Chefette Toni served up shepherd’s pie and fresh salad. Simmer and Bloom herbal-infused cookies shared subtle little bites of hibiscus and black sesame. And Galactic Hobo hot sauce promised a “far-out” experience.

“This is giving me delicious ideas for when I entertain my family coming to visit,” said Diane Lawton of Portland.

Sally McKibben of Portland appreciates having a commercial kitchen for startups in town. “They make the greatest things,” she said. “And sometimes they turn their businesses into food trucks.”

At least a dozen of those startups will be sampling their specialties Aug. 18 from 4-7 p.m. Tickets are $10 online at forkfoodlab.com.

“We’ll definitely be back for the August one,” said Stephanie Korupp of Cape Elizabeth. “For sure.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected].


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.

filed under: