Breakfast at Lenora, a new Mexican street food restaurant that opened Monday in Old Port. Courtesy of Lenora

Lenora, a taco bar specializing in Mexican-inspired street food, opened this week in Old Port.

After extensive renovations, the 115-seat restaurant launched Monday at 2 Portland Square, in the space formerly occupied by Walter’s, which closed in 2019. Co-owner Jen Wyllie said that when she and her husband, Chef Rian Wyllie, first moved to Maine from Boston five years ago they noticed that Portland’s Mexican food scene seemed lacking.

Wyllie and her husband – former chef at Little Giant and Maine Beer Company – wanted to open a restaurant serving top-quality agave-based drinks, some Mexican-style small plates like street corn and tostadas, and a variety of tacos served on house-made corn tortillas.

“Once you have tacos on handmade corn tortillas, it’s a whole different ball game,” Wyllie said, noting that Lenora will also offer eight salsas in various styles to pair with the tacos.

Rian Wyllie had been chef-partner at the Lone Star Taco Bar and Deep Ellum, highly regarded Mexican restaurants in Boston. The Wyllies partnered with three Boston-based co-owners from those restaurants to open Lenora.

For now, Lenora is open for breakfast from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. seven days a week, offering items like grab-and-go breakfast tacos and bodega sandwiches, pastries, fruit-and-curd parfaits and a full espresso bar. Jen Wyllie said Lenora will roll out its lunch and dinner menus by the end of the month, and stay open until midnight.


“I love that Portland seems to be a big morning town. But there are no breakfast tacos or bodega sandwiches in the city,” Wyllie said. “I thought for the Old Port, breakfast could really serve that community and be that thing that is consistent for everyone.”


Breakfast hot spot Brea Lu Cafe is eyeing a new location on Main Street in Westbrook after their plans to move to Larrabee Road this spring fell through.

Brea Lu owner Christian DeLuca said they had planned to relocate to 100 Larrabee Road by May. The new location would have seated up to 170 people, a huge increase from the cafe’s current 45-person capacity. But late last year the Brea Lu team learned that the property, originally a tire warehouse, had no basement level in the back half of the building, making it impossible to install effective restaurant plumbing.

“It was a nightmare. Unfortunately, we figured that out the hard way,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said he then considered another space on Larrabee Road, but discovered about two weeks ago that the zoning wouldn’t allow Brea Lu the driveway access it needed.


DeLuca said Tuesday he’s currently in negotiations for a space on Main Street. He said it’s still too early to disclose details about the space, but he hopes to learn as soon as this week whether that new venue will work.

The Main Street location, like the Larrabee Road spaces, will require a full build out, and DeLuca said he hears the clock ticking louder all the time now: Brea Lu’s lease on their current space at 9 Cumberland St. runs out in 80 days, and the construction work alone will take longer than 80 days.

“We’re going to have to close for a while (before reopening in a new space), we’re just trying to keep that time to a minimum,” DeLuca said. “We have 10 employees who depend on us. We’re in a real bad spot, and we’re trying to get out of it.

“We’ve been in a tough spot before and we made it through that,” he added, noting that Brea Lu was forced to move from its original location at 428 Forest Ave. because of a fire in their building in 2016.

“I don’t care if we have to wait three months to open, we will open. It’s nothing we can’t work out,” DeLuca said.



Thanks to the efforts of a nonprofit neighborhood group, a new farmers market is scheduled to launch in Woodfords Corner this June.

The market is slated to open June 1 and run through Thursday, Oct. 5, according to Market Manager Martha Lefebvre. She said about half of the expected eight vendors have already signed on for the season.

The vendors will offer produce, eggs, cheese, meat and poultry, Lefebvre said, while event organizers plan to offer live music and additional enticements to make the market as family-friendly as possible. The market will be based in a private parking lot in Woodfords Corner, the exact location still to be finalized.

Lefebvre is a member of Friends of Woodfords Corner, the nonprofit organization behind the market that aims to make the area a “sustainable, thriving village hub.”

Lefebvre said about 9,000 people live within half a mile of Woodfords Corner, and 20,000 people drive through the intersection each day.

“Woodfords Corner is the size of a small town,” she said. “We want this to be a destination, not just someplace people pass through.”



Mary Allen Lindemann Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Mary Allen Lindemann, co-founder of Portland’s Coffee By Design, is the featured guest for the Feb. 16 installment of “Talking Food in Maine: Intimate Conversations at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta.”

Coffee By Design, a local mainstay since 1994, has long had a commitment to running a sustainable business dedicated to social change. Lindemann will be talking with Talking Food series host, Cherie Scott.

Lindemann has been a founding member of several organizations, including Portland Buy Local, Women Standing Together, and the Olympia Snowe Leadership Institute. Most recently, her focus has been on asylum seekers and immigration rights in Maine.

The 7 p.m. event is open to the public, and no tickets or reservations are required. Find more information on the Talking Food series at

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