Hi-Fidelity Beer, a new nanobrewery focused on low-alcohol beer, opens for business Friday in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood.

Located at 200 Anderson St., the three-barrel brewhouse will be among the city’s smallest, according to co-owner PD Wappler. Hi-Fidelity has 1,700 square feet of space at the venue, with a 425-square-foot front area to seat about 30 customers, including a 20-seat bar that wraps around the interior. The brewery will have an additional 10 or so seats outside.

Hi-Fidelity’s smoky porter, Gunpowder Eyes, is one of at least three low-alcohol beers the nanobrewery will premiere when it opens in East Bayside this Friday. Photo by P.D. Wappler

“We’re not very big, but I’m hoping it will add to the coziness,” Wappler said.

Wappler said he and partner Dante Maderal wanted Hi-Fidelity Beer to be low-alcohol (below 6 percent alcohol by volume) alternatives to many of the bigger, boozier beers on tap at Portland breweries these days. The brewery will offer at least three of its new beers this weekend, including a British bitter (3.3 percent), an American IPA (4.7 percent) and a smoky porter (5.2 percent).

Wappler said many of his friends in the local artist community have become sober in recent years, so Hi-Fidelity will also offer a variety of creative non-alcoholic beverages, including malt sodas made from their beer wort. “We’re trying to be inclusive, and offer something for everyone,” Wappler said.

Hi-Fidelity Beer includes a small kitchen space, so the brewery also will have a limited menu with items like red beans and rice with andouille, and breakfast sandwiches. The brewery also will have a full liquor license as well as an entertainment license so it can host local musicians, along with open mike and comedy nights. Wappler said they have no plans to can the Hi-Fidelity beers, and won’t partner often with restaurants or other outside vendors to sell their kegs.


“We’re following a low- to no-distribution model,” Wappler said. “If you want our beer, come to our brewery and have a good time.”

Hi-Fidelity will be open Thursdays to Sundays from noon to 1 a.m., and Mondays from 2 p.m. until midnight.


A new Italian bakery from the owners of Portland’s Solo Italiano and Solo Cucina Market in South Portland is to open on Centre Street in Bath this summer.

Solo Pane e Pasticceria is located at 29 Centre St., the former location of Centre Street Bakery. Sole Pane held a pop-up at the bakery last weekend to preview some of its offerings, and its Facebook page features photos of the bakery’s bread, Italian pastries and pizza.

Owners Paolo and Mercedes Liboa and Jesse Bania could not be reached Tuesday for more information on when the new bakery will officially open. Sole Pane’s website says the venture was inspired by the baking program at Solo Cucina Market.



Biddeford’s much-anticipated new seafood restaurant, Fish & Whistle, opened for business last weekend.

Fish & Whistle chef/co-owner Jason Eckerson said he offered a limited menu for the opening weekend, and that the “squidwich,” a calamari sandwich with tartar sauce, was among the top sellers.

“It went even better than we hoped, and we actually sold out of some of the food,” Eckert said.

Eckert, a former sous chef at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, opened Fish & Whistle along with his wife, James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Kate Hamm at the 299 Main St. space that had been occupied by the former Italian fusion restaurant Yeto’s.

Eckert plans to introduce new dishes weekly this summer as he, Hamm and their staff of six gradually build out their full menu of yeast-battered fish and chips and sandwiches featuring fish or fried chicken on Japanese milk buns that Hamm bakes in-house, along with cakes and tarts sold by the slice.



Culinary arts students in Southern Maine’s LearningWorks program will celebrate a newly compiled cookbook of their recipes at a fundraising dinner and launch party Thursday at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough.

A book of recipes from LearningWorks culinary students is the focus of an upcoming celebration dinner this Thursday at Broadturn Farm in Scarborough. Photo courtesy of LearningWorks

The cookbook contains close to 20 recipes from students in the LearningWorks YouthBuild culinary program, including dishes the students developed themselves with the aid of their teacher, and some recipes passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. The book was designed and published in-house. The project started last fall as students were asked to write essays about their most powerful food memories, according to Katy Sargent, development and communications coordinator for the nonprofit LearningWorks, which has provided free community-based education programs in Southern Maine for decades.

“Their initial reaction was that they felt their experiences weren’t special or unique,” Sargent said. “But by the end, it was a major source of pride and confidence for them. They were discovering their experiences do matter, and they are interesting.”

Portland photographer Molly Haley took pictures for the cookbook, and Sargent said the students did their own food styling for the shoot, arranging the components of their recipes however they thought looked best.

About 10 of the students will be on hand at the event to sign copies of the cookbook and discuss their dishes and the family traditions behind them. The caterers for the event, Lake & Co., have designed a menu inspired by the students’ recipes, Sargent said.


Tickets for the event are $75, available online. Proceeds will help fund LearningWorks’ free programs.


After a three-year hiatus, Boothbay Harbor’s lobster bite competition, the Claw Down, will be held June 16 at The Shipyard on Commercial Street.

Ten Boothbay-area chefs will compete in this year’s Claw Down to prepare the best lobster dishes, served in bite-size portions and evaluated by a panel of three judges as well as by visitors who can vote for a people’s choice award.

The Claw Down is usually held in September, though it was canceled the last two years because of the pandemic, and also in 2019 because of issues with scheduling and logistics. Lisa Walby, executive director of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, said they chose to hold it now rather than September because local chefs are busy with fall foliage customers at that time.

“Plus, it gives them bragging rights for the season,” Walby said.

The Claw Down begins at 6 p.m., and tickets are $80, available for purchase online.

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