Cafe Miranda in Rockland in 2011. Photo by Tim Greenway

Breaking hearts in Rockland and beyond, Cafe Miranda said it expects to end its 29-year run this Saturday because it doesn’t have enough staff.

A June 14 post on the Facebook page for the Rockland restaurant – owned by Chef Kerry Altiero – reads in part, “What we have is a great crew, a great place, the best customers in the best town, but what we don’t have is enough employees to be open more than three days a week. … Failing some miraculous turn of events, it is time for us to pass the torch. It is time for someone else to own this magical location and spirit on Oak Street.”

Altiero said his kitchen would need three more skilled cooks to be able to work at full capacity. Labor shortages have been problematic in the restaurant industry since before the pandemic. “At this point now, the staffing problem is endemic everywhere, and acute in the restaurant business.”

The funky, fun restaurant at 15 Oak St. has built a loyal following over the years, drawn by Altiero’s eclectic, multiethnic menu and playful style. More than 400 commenters flooded Cafe Miranda’s Facebook page to share their dismay over the news of the impending closure.

Saturday will be Cafe Miranda’s last service. “We’re not going out with a box of tissues, we’re going out with a rock n’ roll menu,” Altiero said.


Meanwhile, back in North Deering …


After 33 years in business, Parker’s Restaurant will close its Washington Avenue doors for good this Saturday, facing the same staffing problems as Cafe Miranda.

“There’s very little qualified kitchen help available,” said co-owner Jeff MacDonald, noting that while Parker’s has a chef, sous chef and prep cook, they would need four to six more skilled kitchen workers to be able to sustain the restaurant. The owners announced the June 25 closing Tuesday on their Facebook page.

“Staffing has been a problem for everyone for the past two years,” MacDonald continued, explaining that the problem wasn’t new or sudden for Parker’s. “The labor market is sparse. But if you don’t have the horses, you can’t pull the wagon.”

MacDonald said he commiserates with Cafe Miranda. “If you’re putting out a quality product and can’t find the people to produce it, you can’t just lower your standards of perfection,” he said. “And if you can’t service your clientele properly, it puts too much of a strain on everyone.”



Goodfire Brewing is moving ahead with plans for a new Freeport tasting room, eatery and brewhouse, which owner David Redding said could be open by the second week in September.

Located in the Route 1 building that formerly hosted Conundrum wine bar and El Jefe, a taco bar, the new Goodfire location has been a year-and-a-half in the making, Redding said. The Goodfire team has been renovating and expanding the structure, making it considerably larger than their five-year-old original location in Portland, with more amenities as well.

The outdoor seating area in Freeport stretches over 4,800 square feet, with an additional 5,000 square feet of space inside. Redding expects to be able to seat up to about 130 total customers. By contrast, Goodfire’s Portland tasting room is 1,500 square feet, with a top capacity of about 90 customers.

The Freeport tasting room also will have 24 taps, twice as many as Goodfire now has in Portland. The open-concept facility also will feature vaulted ceilings, a gas fireplace and a private dining room.

Redding said Goodfire has hired Ben Christie, former chef de cuisine at Hugo’s in Portland, as executive chef for the Freeport venture. Redding said Christie will be assembling a menu of “high-quality, casual food” along with light snacks. Kevin Nelson, former general manager at The Honey Paw, will join Goodfire as general manager of the Freeport location.



After taking two years off for the pandemic, the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival returns to downtown Dover-Foxcroft this Saturday.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring 20 bakers and thousands of whoopie pies, along with live music, rides and games for the kids, artists, crafters, vendors, and other activities.

Festival organizer Patrick Myers said while there were challenges restarting the festival, the event remained mostly unchanged. “Some bakers aren’t able to attend because of staffing issues, but we have several new bakers involved this year, which means that we will have plenty of whoopie pies,” he said, adding that most of the festival’s usual attractions are back, including live music by the Doughty Hill Band, whoopie pie-eating contests and magic shows.

Myers advised festival-goers to look for yellow “Festival Parking” signs, which lead to the Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds. After parking at the fairgrounds, guests can catch a shuttle downtown to enjoy the festival, the largest annual event in Piscataquis County. “There is no way to find a parking space in Dover on festival day,” Myers said. “You’ll save time and frustration if you just go to the fairgrounds and catch a shuttle.”

Festival admission is $5 per person, and free for kids 12 and under. The event is organized by the Center Theatre and the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, and it is the biggest annual fundraiser for both organizations. For more information, visit the festival website.



The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland holds its annual fundraiser, Ales for Tails, in South Portland on Sunday.

The dog-centric beer festival runs from 2-5 p.m. at the Spring Point Ledge lighthouse on Fort Road. About 17 Maine craft breweries are participating in this year’s festivities, along with four food trucks.

Tickets cost $60 online, or $70 at the door. Admission includes six (8-oz.) pours at the brewery booths, parking and a souvenir aluminum tasting cup. Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring their well-behaved and leashed pups. All money raised from the event goes to supporting the more than 4,000 pets the league cares for every year.

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