Chefs Ryan Hickman, left and Larry Matthews Jr. in The Knotted Apron this month. The chefs are collaborating on two dinners in June. Photo by Kate Harvey

The Knotted Apron is hosting two collaborative dinners featuring longtime Portland chef/proprietor Larry Matthews Jr. of the beloved Back Bay Grill, which closed permanently in March.

The six-course dinners ($120/person plus tax and gratuity), with an additional wine pairing option, will be held June 8 and 9. Tickets go on sale Wednesday and can be purchased on Resy or by calling the restaurant at 207-805-1523.

Knotted Apron general manager Kate Harvey explained that the restaurant’s co-owner, Chef Ryan Hickman, spent six years as Matthews’ sous chef at Back Bay Grill. Additionally, Back Bay Grill’s longtime dishwasher, William “Franco” Tucker, who worked with Matthews for about two decades, now works at The Knotted Apron.

“We have a little Back Bay Grill family here. We wanted to celebrate all that Chef Larry has done in his career, and everything he’s taught them,” Harvey said.

Hickman and Matthews have collaborated on the menu, which features classic favorites from Back Bay Grill, including lavender-marinated duck and caramel ice cream.

Matthews may feel right at home in The Knotted Apron’s kitchen, since it now features Back Bay Grill’s stove — the Woodford Street restaurant bought it after Matthews closed his restaurant.



After about six months of renovations, Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland is set to reopen its bakery in Willard Square on Thursday, co-owner Sonja Swanberg said.

Scratch has been operating through online orders and walk-ins at its Toast Bar location, at 207 Broadway, during the renovations to its original space. Located at 416 Preble St., the wildly popular 18-year-old bakery specializes in delicious renditions of American-style sweets, lunch items and artisanal breads. The weekend lines for the bakery’s in-demand bagels often stretch out the door during the summer. Swanberg said the interior of the bakery before the redesign was “very cramped and not very intuitive.”

“The space should now have much better clockwise flow,” she added.

The hours for Scratch Baking Co. at Willard Square will be Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Not quite six months after town officials asked the grassroots organization Freeport Climate Action Now to start a farmers market in town, the Freeport Farmers’ Market will kick off its inaugural year on June 3.

The Freeport Farmers’ Market will run every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October. The market will be held next to the Town Hall at 30 Main St. Organizers said they expect 12 to 13 vendors to participate each week, with another 10 or so rotating vendors.

Freeport Climate Action Now acting lead Kathleen Sullivan said her group, which formed last year, aims to reduce the community’s contribution to climate change. “One of the ways to do that is to have a farmers market so people can eat local food,” reducing the carbon footprint associated with producing and transporting food from far away, Sullivan said.

One of the market’s lead organizers, Margaret Morfit, who also sits on the climate group’s food subcommittee, said the market was able to come together so quickly in part because the town had already secured access to the lot next to the Town Hall for the venue. Additionally, Morfit and other organizers received valuable advice and help with launching from area farmers’ market pros like Amy Sinclair, manager of the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market.

“Fortunately, the farmers market world around here is very willing to share,” Morfit said.



Coffee By Design’s Costa Rica Naranjo, earned a 94-point rating from Coffee Review this month. Photo courtesy of Coffee By Design

Coffee Review, an influential global coffee buying guide, graded four Coffee By Design coffees this month as “very good to outstanding.”

The monthly publication evaluated Costa Rica Naranjo Danilo Salazar Arias, Kenya Kahunyo AA, Honduras COMSA Oscar Omar Alonzo and Rwanda Gasharu Natural from Coffee By Design, and judged each in blind cuppings.

The medium-light roast Costa Rican coffee scored highest, with 94 points (out of a possible 100), a score Coffee Review said indicates “exceptional originality, beauty, individuality and distinction, with no significant negative issues whatsoever.” The coffee ($23/12 oz.) is available for order online or in Coffee By Design shops.

Coffee By Design’s Kenyan ($22/lb.) and Honduran ($18.50/12 oz.) coffees both earned 93 points. The shop’s Rwanda coffee ($23/12 oz.) was awarded 92 points.

Coffee By Design co-founder Mary Allen Lindemann praised the “skill, passion and dedication” demonstrated by head roaster Travis Spear, director of operations Jeremy Rävar, and the entire Coffee By Design team.

“The roastery team has been working very hard under challenging circumstances for the past two years,” Lindemann said in a statement. “To receive scores like this is extremely validating.”


“By submitting coffees to Coffee Review we are able to gain valuable feedback from a truly knowledgeable team,” added co-owner Alan Spear, “and it also pushes us to strive for even more.”


To mark the release of a new anthology, “Breaking Bread: Essays on New England Food, Hunger, and Family,” its editors and some contributing writers will hold a roundtable discussion and reading Thursday at Bunker Brewing in Portland.

The free event – running from 7-8 p.m. – will feature contributing authors Richard Russo and Kate Russo, Anne Elliott and Alana Dao, along with the book’s editors, Debra Spark and Deborah Joy Corey.

According to promotional material for the event, the group will talk about their contributions to the anthology, which “explores how what’s on our plates engages with what’s off: grief, pleasure, love, ethics, race and class.” The book (Beacon Press, $30) is divided into sections with essays on taste and distaste, hunger and plenty, love and loss, and family and community.



Back for a second year, Maine Lobster Week is scheduled to run from Sept. 19 through National Lobster Day on Sept. 25, event organizer Gillian Britt has announced.

The weeklong event differs from the fair-like Maine Lobster Festival, which is being held for the 75th year Aug. 3-7 in Rockland. Maine Lobster Week takes place in a number of different locations, depending on participating venues – similar in approach to Maine Restaurant Week, the popular late-winter celebration of special dishes and menus at special prices, which Britt also organizes.

Last year’s Maine Lobster Week was celebrated in lobster shacks, restaurants and diners from Kennebunk to Bar Harbor, with about 40 participating venues.

“I hope we’ll have many more venues participating this year, as it’s year two and we’re gaining steam,” Britt said. “We want lobster lovers from around the country to come enjoy lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or in a Bloody Mary. It’s a full-on lobster blowout.”

Britt urged businesses interested in participating to reach out to her. The list of venues for the event, which is sponsored by the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, will be posted on the Maine Lobster Week website in July.

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