The Rathskeller on Wharf, a new subterranean tavern at 51 Wharf St. in Portland, opened last week.

The menu includes burgers and sandwiches, and entrees such as a smoked New York strip and fish and chips.

Hours are 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and noon to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The Rathskeller is closed Sundays and Mondays.

The owners, siblings Tom and Meg Minervino and their business partner, Michael Barton, also co-own the Legends Rest Taproom in Westbrook.

This gochugaru bluefin crudo was made with a tuna caught by the fishing vessel Fair Warning and was on the menu recently at New England Fishmongers, a new seafood market and takeout restaurant. Photo courtesy New England Fishmongers

Fresh off the boat

New England Fishmongers, a New Hampshire-based company that sells sustainably caught seafood direct to consumers and restaurants, opened its first brick-and-mortar fish market last week at 57 State Road in Kittery. The market includes a small takeout restaurant that sells fish sandwiches, fish tacos, chowders and smoked salmon.

New England Fishmongers is owned and operated by Tim Rider, captain of the fishing vessel Finlander II, and his business partner, Kayla Cox. Much of the market’s seafood comes right from the Finlander II. Jackson Casey, former head chef at Vino E Vivo in Exeter, New Hampshire, runs the market’s kitchen.

Market hours are 9 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. The market is closed on Mondays. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

On the move

Atsuko Fujimoto has moved her bakery, Norimoto, into its new location at 469 Stevens Ave. in Deering Center. She started offering takeout on Saturday.

Fujimoto plans to have a retail window for walk-up orders, but for now you must preorder through her website, norimoto-bakery.square.site, and only on Saturdays. Online orders for Saturday pick-up go live at 5 p.m. every Friday.

Yoo-hoo, Yobo is back (for lunch, for now)

Yobo, at 23 Forest Ave. in Portland, has started serving takeout lunch from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays.

Even before the pandemic, in early winter of 2020, the homey Korean restaurant had scaled back service to three nights a week as the owners focused on their new Brunswick restaurant, Maine St. Steak & Oyster at 148 Maine St.

Except for takeout dinners two days a week from January through June, Yobo has mostly been closed during the pandemic. The new lunch takeout menu is a first step toward finding a way to reopen Yobo, according to Kim Lully, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Sunny Chung.

Lully said she doesn’t know when Yobo might reopen for dinner because she and Chung are spending most of their time at Maine St. Steak & Oyster, where staffing has been an issue.

Chik-Fil-A to open Thursday

The new Westbrook Chick fil-A at 94 Rock Row opens Thursday, initially for drive-thru and carry-out service only. Hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The franchise is owned and operated by Brad Terrell, a Georgia native who has worked for Chick fil-A since 2012 in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, most recently at the Northshore Mall location in Peabody.

Instead of its usual grand opening celebration, Chick-fil-A will be giving 100 “local heroes” in Westbrook free Chik-fil-A for a year, according to a corporate news release. The company said it will also make a $25,000 donation to Feeding America, with the funds distributed to partners in the Greater Portland area.

MOFGA book launch

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will launch its new book on the organic farming movement on Nov. 4 at the Portland Museum of Art.

The book, a collection of essays written by leaders in the movement, is titled “The Organic Farming Revolution: Past, Present, Future,” and can be purchased in advance for $32.95 from MOFGA’s online store. The essays cover topics from sustainability and food resources to soil preservation and farming. A few of the contributors, including food writer and cookbook author Barton Seaver and Daniel Mays, owner of Frith Farm in Scarborough, will be at the museum event for a discussion and question-and-answer period. Other contributors include writer and activist Wendell Berry, apple authority John Bunker, organic farming expert Eliot Coleman, former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana, and James Beard award-winning chef Sam Hayward.

The 6 to 7:30 pm. event is free, but pre-registration is required. Masks are also required.

Show Matt your woodpile

Matt Bolinder, owner of Speckled Ax, is reviving a contest he first held in 2008 – back when Speckled Ax was known as Matt’s Coffee.

Bolinder announced the 2nd annual Show Us Your Woodpile competition (“Not a euphemism!” he insists) on Instagram last week. Details will be posted soon on social media, with the winner, like last time, getting “a bunch of coffee.” But this time around there will be other prizes as well, such as mugs, T-shirts, beanies and gift cards.

Bolinder wrote that in the 2008 contest, entries flooded in from a couple of dozen states. “Some were exceptionally elaborate and artistic, some were meticulous examples of standard 4’ x 4’ x 8’ cords or Scandinavian beehives or German holzhausen, and others were just funny, with the woodpile serving as a backdrop for something else.”

On another note, for the first time customers at the Speckled Ax coffee shop at 18 Thames St. in Portland will be allowed to sit indoors starting Nov. 15; the coffee shop opened during the pandemic, so until now it has been takeout or outdoor seating only.

Find the Lost Kitchen here

Erin French, chef/owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, is filmed for a new show about her restaurant. Photo courtesy of Caleb Mason

The second season of “The Lost Kitchen,” the Magnolia Network series that chronicles the life of Erin French at her restaurant in Freedom, is now streaming on the Magnolia Network and Discovery +.

This season, the show will cover the reopening of the restaurant’s dining room and the new cabins French had built in the woods so that her customers can stay the night after a meal.

More local lettuce at Hannaford

Springworks Farm in Lisbon is now Hannaford supermarkets’ exclusive supplier of certified organic heads of romaine lettuce, allowing the supermarket chain to replace all of the field-grown romaine it used to buy from California, Arizona and Mexico with local lettuce.

Lettuce that used to travel up to six days and 3,500 food miles in a truck to reach Maine now goes only 34 miles from Springworks’ aquaponic greenhouses in Lisbon to the Hannaford distribution center in South Portland.

“When we order from Springworks, we eliminate thousands of food miles while contributing to our company’s sustainability goals and supporting a local business,” Mark Jewell, produce category manager for Hannaford, said in a news release.

Springworks already supplies Hannaford with all of its organic green leaf lettuce, as well as some baby romaine and Boston Bibb.

Springworks opened its third 40,000-square-foot greenhouse just three months ago, enabling the farm to increase production and test new products.

Aquaculture meet, greet and eat

Meet local aquaculture producers at a series of Science Cafes hosted by chef Cara Stadler at the Brunswick property that’s home to Tao Yuan restaurant, Zao Ze Cafe & Market, and Canopy Farms, Stadler’s rooftop aquaponics greenhouse. Then take a cooking class the following night.

The Science Cafes, free and open to the public, are held at Zao Ze Cafe & Market, 5 Abbey Road. Snacks made with that day’s featured farmed seafood will be provided, and participants can buy drinks. In October, the featured speaker was Matt Moretti from Bangs Island Mussels. Emily Selinger of Emily’s Oysters is scheduled to speak at 4 p.m. Nov. 7.

The following evening, Stadler teaches a cooking class focused on the same product. The next class will be at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8 and feature oysters. Classes cost $108 per person and require reservations. The price includes ingredients, recipes and dinner. To reserve a spot, email [email protected]

Turkey takeout

A tom turkey struts for the ladies. Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Restaurants are starting to share their plans for Thanksgiving, both dine in and takeout. Every week from now until the holiday, I will end this column with a few choices:

Buxton Common, 1420 Long Plains Road, Buxton: The restaurant will be open for Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with options that include turkey, smoked ribeye, baked cod and maple-roasted acorn squash. Or you can order packaged meals to be picked up the day before the holiday. Cost is $40 per person. Call (207) 298-9621 to make reservations or place an order. Deadline for both is Nov. 20. thebuxtoncommon.com

Congress Squared restaurant at The Westin Portland Harborview, 157 High St., plans a three-course dinner ($85) with a choice of turkey, center cut ribeye, local halibut or butternut squash ravioli. Reservations open today on opentable.com. Parties larger than six should call (207) 517-8839. The restaurant is also taking orders for take-and-bake dinners that cost $80 and serve two. Ordering is open now online and will close on Nov. 19, with pick-up on Nov. 24. Go to congresssquared.com/thanksgiving-take-bake-2021. To reserve by phone, call (207) 517-8900.

North 43 Bistro, 1 Spring Point Drive, South Portland, is offering Thanksgiving to go for six people at a cost of $235. The dinner includes a brined, ready-to-roast 12-to-14-pound turkey, heat-and-serve green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and apple pie. Call (207) 747-4009.


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.