Margherita pizza at Coletti’s Pizza Factory in Biddeford, which was just named to Yelp’s 100 best pizza spots in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy of Coletti’s

Coletti’s Pizza Factory in Biddeford was the only Maine pizzeria to make Yelp’s recent list of the top 100 pizza spots in the United States and Canada.

The Yelp list, released Jan. 23, ranked Coletti’s at No. 31. The only New England pizza joints that ranked higher were Ciao! Pizza and Pasta of Chelsea, Massachusetts (No. 2) and Zeneli Pizzeria and Cucina Napoletana in New Haven, Connecticut (No. 3).

Yelp compiled its list based on such factors as total volume of Yelp reviews and the number of stars given for the ratings.

“We’ve been like this for years on Yelp. We’ve always had five stars,” said Francesco Coletti, chef-owner of Coletti’s, which he opened at 497 Elm St. in April 2016.

Coletti, a Naples native, attributed the popularity of his restaurant to the way he proofs, rests and ages his dough for up to 48 hours to make what he calls a “hybrid” pizza: A thin-crust Neapolitan pie cooked in a New York-style pizza oven cranked to 650 degrees F, at least 100 degrees hotter than a New York pie oven usually runs. The result is an airy, lighter crust that’s “highly digestible,” said Coletti, who works his restaurant all by himself, without staff.

“Employees can’t make the pizza for you. If anybody can make pizza for me, they might as well own the place,” Coletti said. “So that’s why I decided to do everything.”


Still, based on his growing customer base in recent years, Coletti said he plans to hire some staff for the coming summer season.


Chocolate-dipped Whoopie Balls from Auntie’s House, the Kennebunk-based bakery and chocolatier that opened a Portland location last month. Courtesy of Auntie’s House

Bakery and chocolate shop Auntie’s House of Kennebunk opened a Portland location on Free Street late last month.

The Kennebunk confectioners, who specialize in chocolate-dipped Whoopie Balls, opened Jan. 20 in a new building at 40 Free St. The new venue is about 1,300 square feet, half of which is reserved for retail. Auntie’s House produces all of its goods in Kennebunk, where the business been based for the last eight years.

“We thought this would be a fun new adventure, and we wanted to share our Whoopie Balls with another foodie kind of area,” said co-owner Halie Lewis.

Auntie’s House in Portland is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Several Maine authors received awards last week at the 7th annual Readable Feast New England, a food writing and cookbook awards program.

Held virtually on Jan. 23 and sponsored by Oldways, the Readable Feast awards named “Death & Co.: Welcome Home,” co-authored by The Danforth co-owner Alex Day, as Book of the Year. The essay anthology “Breaking Bread: Essays from New England on Food, Hunger and Family,” co-edited by Colby professor Debra Spark and writer Deborah Joy Corey, won the competition’s Food Writing/Memoir/Novel category.

“The Maine Community Cookbook, Vol. 2,” by Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz – husband-and-wife authors and farmers at Ten Apple Farm in Gray – took the Community category.

Port Clyde-based author Margot Anne Kelley won the competition’s Socially Conscious category with her book “Foodtopia: Communities in Pursuit of Peace, Love & Homegrown Food,” which in part details back-to-the-land efforts in Maine over the years.

Day’s “Death & Co.” book also won the event’s Aesthetic Achievement and its Wine, Beer & Spirits categories. Maine Master Gardener and “coop to kitchen” cook Lisa Steele took honorable mention in the Aesthetic Achievement category for her book, “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook.”


The Readable Feast is an annual culinary book festival designed to celebrate and support New England writers, cookbook authors, editors and chefs, and to connect them with the reading public.


The tasting room at Apres following a fire Sunday night that damaged furnishings and set off the venue’s sprinkler. Courtesy of Apres

A late-night fire Sunday at the Apres tasting room in East Bayside has temporarily shut the popular craft beverage bar down.

Operations Manager Sarah Bryan said video footage indicated the fire started sometime after 9 p.m. on Sunday. Apres was closed and empty at the time, and nobody was injured.

“We’re not thrilled, but all things considered, we’re very lucky,” Bryan said, noting that the fire didn’t damage the 148 Anderson St. structure itself, though decorations and furnishings like couches and tables were destroyed. Bryan said the Apres team couldn’t yet estimate the cost of the damage, but a commercial cleanup crew was on site Tuesday.

“We’re hoping to be open as soon as we’re able,” said Bryan, guessing that Apres would be ready to reopen in the next week or two.


Bryan said the building’s sprinklers went off sometime after 1 a.m. Monday. Portland Fire Department responded to the blaze.

“They made a bad situation pretty manageable,” she said. “They were incredibly helpful, speedy and competent – wonderful people. Nobody ever wants this kind of news, but we feel very fortunate to live in the city we live in.”


The Barn at Flanagan Farm in Buxton will hold its inaugural supper club dinner on Sunday, Feb. 5.

Flanagan Farm in Buxton is holding its inaugural Supper Club dinner on Sunday, Feb. 5 inside its heated barn. Courtesy of Flanagan Farm

For the event, a multi-course dinner in the farm’s heated barn, Flanagan Farm has partnered with Big Tree Catering (Big Tree owns Eventide Oyster Co. and Honey Paw). The evening begins with a cocktail hour by the farm’s skating rink in a forest grove, featuring specialty beverages and fire-grilled hors d’oeuvres.

The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m., and tickets, available online, cost $150 per person.



For couples and others looking to mark Valentine’s Day with a special meal or drinks on the town, here are some options:

Broken Arrow, 545 Congress St., Portland, has a five-course candlelight dinner with beverage pairings for $120 per person. Book reservations online.

Harbor Bistro + Terrace, Portland Harbor Hotel468 Fore St., Portland, will serve a four-course prix fixe menu starting at $65 per person. Menu options include starters like Grilled Chicory Salad or Baked Brie; entrees such as Petite Filet with grilled broccolini and lobster béarnaise, and Wild Mushroom Ravioli with lemon herb ricotta and marsala cream; and desserts like Maple Creme Brûlée and Opera Cake with espresso buttercream.

Harbor Bistro + Terrace guests can also reserve “fire and ice igloos” on the venue’s outdoor terrace. Igloos can accommodate groups of six and feature themed decor and lighting, heater, blankets and bluetooth speakers upon request. Call (207) 523-2075 or email to reserve an igloo at $100 for two hours.

Rising Tide Brewing Company, 103 Fox St., Portland, is hosting a five-course dinner with beer pairings, including a complimentary welcome beer. Tickets are $70 plus tax and gratuity. A portion of sales will support Portland Trails and their ongoing work in the Greater Portland area.

Twelve, 115 Thames St., Portland, is serving a Paris-inspired, four-course dinner. The restaurant is offering three seatings. Tickets run $105 per person, available online.

And for a more modest way to mark the holiday, some Maine locations of Aroma Joe’s will offer the “Be Mine” collection of beverages – including a latte/mocha, a macchiato and AJ’s RUSH – infused with raspberry and white chocolate flavors and topped with candy hearts.

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