Regards, a restaurant aiming to merge the clean ethos of California cuisine with Maine produce and seafood, opened this month at 547 Congress St. in Portland. The location had been occupied for 13 years by Greek restaurant Emilitsa.

“Obviously, we’re still dealing with COVID and it’s also mid-winter, so there have been some challenges. But we’ve had a really nice first week, and people have shown us a lot of support,” said Cameron Lewin, a co-owner of Regards, along with chef Neil Zabriskie, and his wife, Kimberly Lund. Lewin said the group “pushed forward rapidly” with their plans to open Regards after finding the Congress Street space available last summer.

The menu is inspired by Mexican and Asian food in Los Angeles, where Zabriskie grew up. “The food pays homage to the farmers and fishermen of Maine, while bringing a bright, warm weather touch to it.”

Menu items include Glidden Point oysters with shoyu ponzu, raw uni and wakame, as well as Spanish mackerel with aji limo and fennel sofrito. Regards is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday.

The Porthole is under new ownership and is serving breakfast every day. Photo by Kaitlyn Small

Porthole under new ownership

Upward Management Group became new owners last month of The Porthole Restaurant & Pub, a long-standing local favorite on Custom House Wharf in Portland. The new owners, who also own the pub Three Dollar Deweys on Commercial Street, said The Porthole was an ideal fit for them.


“It’s an iconic brand and a fantastic location,” said company CEO Joe Christopher. “Taking long-time brands and revitalizing them is what we do.” Christopher said his group plans to make some menu changes, as well as undertake structural renovations in the fall.

In addition to The Porthole’s seafood offerings, it’s now open for its beloved breakfasts seven days a week.

Maine Restaurant Week’s flexible format

Because the pandemic has done a number on restaurant staffing, the upcoming Maine Restaurant Week (March 1-12) will allow participating restaurants to offer curbside service, and to break from the standard three-course menu.

Event coordinator Gillian Britt said this is similar to the event’s approach last year. “Places are still struggling with a lot of staffing issues. This allows them a chance for more creativity, and to do what they do best,” she said.

So far, only Solo Italiano, at 100 Commercial St. in Portland, has taken the curbside service option. It will offer a five-course tasting menu for the event, curbside only.


More than 30 restaurants have signed on for the 14th annual event, with more still to come, Britt said.

Brunswick reopenings

The former Brunswick Inn, closed for more than a year following a devastating fire, has reopened as OneSixtyFive, according to owner Eileen Horner. After the January 2021 fire that shut down the main house, Horner was planning to sell the property. She said support from the community and regulars persuaded her to reinvent and relaunch it instead. The name is for the address: 165 Park Row.

ZaoZe Cafe returned from winter break last week. The cafe is again offering a la carte lunch, according to chef-owner Cara Stadler, and will soon offer set dinners to-go as well. Stadler’s BaoBao Dumpling House in Portland also reopened last week.

Also in Brunswick, Willie & Chet’s Food To Go, run by chef Ali Waks Adams, is back after a pandemic-related hiatus. The popup will be, er, popping up at Iris Eats Maine in Harpswell every other Wednesday. Find details on Instagram.

These cookies, made for Black History Month, are for sale at Coffee By Design’s Diamond Street location. Photos courtesy of Coffee By Design

Cookies for a cause


To honor Black History Month, Lila Bean Bakery has made cookies featuring Desmond Tutu, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou and other Black luminaries. The intricately decorated cookies are available exclusively at Coffee By Design on Diamond Street in Portland.

Portions of cookie sale proceeds will go to benefit Black Owned Maine.

Bixby Chocolate’s Creme Brulee chocolate has won a Good Food Award. Photo by Elle Darcy Photography

Good Food Awards honorees

Four Maine food establishments were recently named winners in the national Good Food Awards, which emphasize responsible practices and sustainability alongside deliciousness. The awards program honored Atlantic Sea Farms in Saco for its ready-cut kelp. Maine Beer Company in Freeport took an award for its Wolfe’s Neck IPA, while Rockland’s Bixby Chocolate was honored for its vanilla crème brûlée chocolate. Also, Josh Pond in Whiting, a farm that produces cheese and jams and jellies, won a Good Food Award for its strawberry preserves.

Contact me anytime

I’m Tim Cebula, the new food and dining reporter at the Portland Press Herald. I’m excited to be taking over the beat from the talented and prolific Meredith Goad. If you have food scene tips, please shoot me a note at

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