A new Thai and sushi restaurant and bar aims to open on Congress Street in Portland later this month.

Called Keg and Kraken, the new venture will be at 653 Congress St., the site of the former sushi restaurant Kushiya Benkay, which closed in late May.

A variety of starters from Keg and Kraken, an Asian-fusion restaurant expected to open on Congress Street in Portland later this month. Photo courtesy of Keg and Kraken

“If you love Asian-fusion food, you’re going to love us,” said Jiraphon Richards, co-owner of Keg and Kraken, along with her husband, Steven, and partner Nisachuan Young. Richards said the new restaurant will continue the basic Japanese food concept of Kushiya Benkay, while adding Thai dishes to the menu, because she and Young are Thai.

The new owners are renovating the space, and updates are almost complete now, Richards said. Still, they await paperwork from the state to move forward with opening this month, she said. The restaurant can seat about 45 people.

In addition to sushi and Japanese dishes like yakitori – Japanese grilled chicken skewers – the Keg and Kraken menu will offer curry and noodle dishes, including iconic entrees like pad Thai. The bar will spotlight South Pacific tiki bar drinks, Richards said.

Young brings extensive hospitality industry experience to the project. She has been the manager of the Asian-fusion restaurant in Arundel, Luca Cafe, as well as assistant food and beverage director for a Four Seasons Hotel in Thailand.



Dandelion Spring Farm in Bowdoinham will host an event later this month as part of the global farm-to-table dinner series, Outstanding in the Field.

Set for Saturday, July 23, the dinner will feature Dandelion’s tender greens, veggies and herbs like tulsi, hyssop and lemon verbena. Guest chefs Ilma Lopez and Damian Sansonetti of Chaval in Portland are regular customers of Dandelion farmer Beth Schiller, and their menu is expected to highlight their restaurant’s zero-waste, root-to-stem and nose-to-tail Mediterranean cooking.

Tickets are $365 for the event, which starts at 4 p.m. and includes a reception with welcome beverages and passed appetizers, a tour of the farm and a four-course, family-style seated dinner with wine pairings.

The dinner series events last up to five hours, and they tend to draw between 130 and 200 people. An Outstanding in the Field dinner at Glidden Point Oyster Farms in Damariscotta on July 21 featuring chef Ben Jackson from Biddeford’s Magnus on Water has sold out.

Tickets for the Dandelion Spring Farm dinner can be purchased at the Outstanding in the Field website.



The team behind the elevated Latin restaurant Pacifico in Saco and Quiero Cafe in Saco and Portland recently opened Paloma’s, a casual all-day eatery on Grand Avenue in Old Orchard Beach.

Paloma’s launched July 1 at 15B East Grand Ave. Owners Carlos Guzman and Alejandra Herrera joined forces with partner Adriana Garcia to open the restaurant, which offers Latin-American fusion cuisine, with a nod to their Colombian roots.

Paloma’s on Grand Avenue in Old Orchard Beach serves a fusion of Latin and American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Photo courtesy of Paloma’s

“We opened in Old Orchard Beach because we felt the town didn’t yet have a comfortable, tropical kind of restaurant with Latin food,” Garcia said.

Paloma’s seats about 60, according to Garcia, and is open seven days from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Garcia said the restaurant’s breakfast offerings, including omelets and breakfast sandwiches, have been a big hit so far with customers.

Lunch and dinner dishes ($9-$14) include fish tacos, a taco salad served in a fried tortilla bowl, chicken skewers with chimichurri salsa, a Cuban sandwich and elote, or Mexican street corn. Garcia said Paloma’s food is more Americanized than that at Pacifico and Quiero Cafe, and includes fare like chicken sandwiches, calamari and chicken tenders.


Paloma’s also sells caramel-filled churros, or Latin fried dough spiced with cinnamon and sugar, and fresh-squeezed lemonades blended with fresh fruit purees like mango, passion fruit and pineapple.

The owners expect to hold Latin Night party events at Paloma’s on Saturdays, Garcia said, once they receive their liquor license.


SoPo Seafood’s version of the limited-edition Maine Seafood Lighthouse, which are sold along with a $200 gift card to be put toward an overnight stay in one of the state’s lighthouses. Photo by Evan Kalman

Maine’s Department of Marine Resources has teamed up with SoPo Seafood and Luke’s Lobster to offer limited-edition, four-tiered seafood “lighthouses.”

SoPo Seafood’s seafood tower, $350, feeds 6-8 people and includes 2 pounds of lobster meat, 1 pound of crab meat, 2 pounds of sea scallops, 24 oysters and a jar of seaweed salad, along with a $200 gift card toward an overnight stay at a Maine lighthouse. Luke’s tower ($325) features 1 pound of lobster knuckle and claw meat, four lobster tails, 2 pounds of lobster claws, 2 pounds crab claws, 1 pound of dayboat sea scallops, four split-top buns and 12 ounces of clam chowder, in addition to a lighthouse-stay gift card.

“This summer, we wanted to create something fun for seafood lovers that highlights two of Maine’s icons: delicious, high-quality seafood and coastal lighthouses,” said Jeff Nichols, Communications Director at Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Customers assemble the towers themselves at home, which are shipped along with solar-powered working lights for the top of the tower. The seafood for the tower is shipped about a week after the tower. For more information or to place a lighthouse seafood tower order, visit the Maine Seafood website.


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