Yakitori-style skewers, cocktails and other dishes from Bar Futo, a Japanese-inspired bar and grill opening Friday on Fore Street. Photo by Catherine Dzilenski

Bar Futo, the eagerly anticipated Japanese-inspired bar and grill from the team behind Crispy Gai and Mr. Tuna, opens in the Old Port on Friday.

Located at 425 Fore St. in a space previously occupied by Five Guys, Bar Futo specializes in yakitori-style skewers and large cuts of meat and whole fish grilled over Japanese charcoal (binchotan). The restaurant will offer an extensive sake list and both inventive and classic cocktails, including highballs mixed by a Toki highball machine produced by Suntory, a Japanese whiskey company.

Skewer options include shrimp kushikatsu with sweet lime Kewpie mayo; duck breast with prune sauce; and a Big Mac beef skewer with iceberg lettuce, sesame, and special sauce. Bar Futo’s large-format dishes are designed for communal dining, such as short rib with potatoes banchan, koji butter and pickled hon shimeji mushrooms; and grilled fish with brown butter ponzu and chives.

“I love grilled food, anything cooked over open fire,” said co-owner Jordan Rubin, who is opening Bar Futo with partner and Director of Operations Marisa Lewiecki.

Rubin said they enlisted Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, owner of Boston’s only sake bar, The Koji Club, to curate Bar Futo’s sake list, which includes as many as 10 sakes.

Bar Futo will be open Thursday through Monday from 5 to 10 p.m. to start. Rubin said he hopes to eventually expand hours to include lunch and brunch services.



A & C Soda Shop, the long-awaited follow-up to the former A & C Grocery in Portland, is now open for takeout in South Portland.

Set in the former Terra Cotta Pasta Co. building at 501 Cottage Road, A & C Soda seats 28 and will fully open for inside dining on Dec. 22, according to owner Joe Fournier. Fans of A & C Grocery sandwiches and cheeseburgers will find plenty to love on the new menu.

“Right now, all I’m offering are the familiar favorites,” Fournier said, noting that the new venue also specializes in milkshakes. “It’s a classic American experience of sitting down, eating a cheeseburger and having a chocolate milkshake.”

Fournier said business has been booming since A & C Soda opened for takeout earlier this month. “The volume of food that we’re selling is crazy,” Fournier said. “And apparently chocolate milkshakes are a thing.”

A & C Grocery, which opened in 2017 on Washington Avenue in Portland, developed a loyal following before closing last year. Fournier attributed the new restaurant’s strong start to “pent-up demand.”


“The original A & C has been closed for over a year now, and I think people are just ready to have the cheeseburger and the fried chicken sandwich,” Fournier said.


Full Turn, the new rotating-concept restaurant in the former Baharat space in East Bayside, opened earlier this month.

Run by alums of Baharat, including general manager Chloe Kessel, Full Turn will offer a menu that changes completely about six times a year. The restaurant has opened with a “staff comfort favorites” menu, featuring starters like chips + cheese ($9) and sticky chicken wings ($13), along with “big snacks” like a vegetarian beet Reuben ($12),  fried chicken sandwich on brioche ($14) and a smash burger ($11).

Located at 91 Anderson St., Full Turn is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. The space remains under construction, so seating is limited at this time, according to the restaurant’s website.

A Full Turn spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.



Maine-made tea towels, curated by Eat, Drink, Lucky, were recently touted by food luminary Ruth Reichl in her holiday shopping guide. Courtesy of Eat, Drink, Lucky

Food maven and former Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl has again included Maine-made tea towels in her holiday gift guide.

The 12 towels, made by women artists of Maine, are being sold as a tea towel-of-the-month subscription through Eat, Drink, Lucky, the daily email newsletter from area public relations specialist Gillian Britt. Eat, Drink, Lucky is offering quarterly, six-month and full-year tea towel subscriptions for $120-$297. The towels are also available for individual sale.

In her gift guide this year, Reichl called the towels “lovely to look at,” and said they’re “the perfect present for people unwilling to waste a single opportunity to display art.”


Crispy Gai will be hosting Chicago’s outstanding sandwich joint, Big Kids, for a one-night pop-up event later this month.


Big Kids was launched by chef Ryan Pfeiffer, formerly of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Blackbird, along with Mason Hereford of New Orleans’ revered sandwich eatery, Turkey & the Wolf. Working with Crispy Gai chef Cyle Reynolds, the Big Kids team will feature some of their classic sandwich creations, like a Chicago Philly Chee (a riff on Philadelphia’s iconic cheesesteak sandwiches), and Amy & Nettie, a fried chicken sandwich with roasted tomato chimichurri and smoked paprika mayo.

Crispy Gai is not taking reservations, only walk-ins, for the event, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 20.


For those looking to feast out on the town on Christmas Eve or Day, here are some restaurants offering specials:

Judy Gibson, 171A Ocean St., South Portland, will serve a three-course, family-style dinner with Parker House rolls and a vegetarian entree option on Christmas Eve. The dinner is $55 per person, with wine pairing available for an additional $30. Reserve a table online.

Sea Glass, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, the restaurant within the Inn by the Sea, has a three-course dinner for $85 on Christmas Day from 1 to 7 p.m. Children ages 4-12 can eat for $32. Reservations are recommended, (207) 799-3134.

Twelve, 115 Thames St., Portland, is offering a Christmas Eve dinner featuring 40-day, dry-aged prime rib (vegetarian and pescatarian options are available). The three-course menu is $98 per person, and you can book a table online.

Via Vecchia, 10 Dana St., Portland, is hosting its third annual Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24. The five-course tasting menu costs $85, featuring local seafood to celebrate the Italian-American Christmas dining tradition. Reservations available online.

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