The Treehouse, the quirky, winsome restaurant above Pat’s Meat Market in Deering Center, closed last week, according to Elliot Vacchiano, co-owner of Pat’s Meat Market, which owns the building and rented the space to the restaurant.

Earlier this month, Greg Gilman, its chef and owner, posted an enigmatic video on the restaurant’s Facebook page about the closure (we think?), but he could not be reached for an interview Tuesday.

Vacchiano said renovations to the first floor of the building mean he isn’t yet ready to rent out the space to a new business, but eventually, it will be a restaurant again. He said he thought Gilman faced the same daunting challenges as many other restaurateurs post-pandemic, including difficulty finding staff in a very tight labor market.

Gilman opened the restaurant in 1997, then stepped away for about eight years. He returned to the restaurant’s helm in 2015.


Restaurateur Nikaline Iacono is launching, or maybe relaunching, a bar within Vessel & Vine in Brunswick.


Pre-pandemic, Vessel & Vine had a bar, but during COVID times, it converted to retail, though it did offer monthly dinners and drinks with seating seasonally on its porch. Now the retail portion of the business will contract, and the bar will return – with some changes.

The new bar, a business within a business, will be called Caballeras, a Spanish word for a kind of gentleman cowboy, Iacono said. It will focus on aromatized wines, such as vermouth and sherry, and will also offer a streamlined menu of small, Mediterranean plates, a half dozen custom cocktails and several wines by the glass. She plans to open in April with what she hopes will be the largest menu of aromatized wines in Maine.

Vessel & Vine owner Nikaline Iacono chats with customers in pre-pandemic days. This spring, she plans to again open a bar in the space. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

At its core, Caballeras will have the same “philosophical bent” as the original, idiosyncratic Vessel & Vine. Iacono described that as “local and seasonal both in cocktails and our food, and wines that have a sense of place. Sherry and vermouth are the ultimate examples of that. Not only are they using the grapes from a region but also the botanicals from a region. They have such a connection to where they are from.”

Iacono said she is opening Caballeras to utilize the skills of her “really great team” and to recreate the sense of community she missed from the original iteration of Vessel & Vine. The bar will seat 10 to 14 customers inside and another 25 seasonally on the heated porch. To start, it’s slated to be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from 4-10 p.m.


Maine Restaurant Week gets underway Tuesday with its annual Incredible Breakfast Cook-off in which chefs compete for your vote for the best breakfast item. The event will be held, as usual, at Sea Dog Brewing in South Portland, from 7-9 a.m. Tickets cost $29.


The weeklong event runs from March 1 through 12 and is intended to generate business for restaurants during their slow season. In addition to special events dedicated to coffee and cocktails, participating restaurants offer many special meal deals. For reservations and more information, go to


Several area hotels are offering events of all sorts to entice customers over the slow restaurant season.

The Salt Yard Cafe in Portland’s Canopy Hotel is offering free Family Movie Night this week, on Wednesday and Thursday. The showings of Disney animated films “Moana” and “Encanto” include complimentary snacks, sodas and games for the kids, plus happy hour drink and food specials from 4-9 p.m. for the parental crowd. Find details on the hotel’s Facebook page.

Learn about Italian wine at four classes held at the Harbor Bistro + Terrace in the Portland Harbor Hotel. The wine tasting, paired with small bites, will explore the wines of Piedmont (Thursday), Sicily (March 8), Tuscany (March 22) and Campania (April 5). Classes cost $45 each and run from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Reservations are required. To register, call 207-523-2016.

On Thursday, Portland distillery Three of Strong is offering a rum tasting in conjunction with the Alto Terrace Bar + Kitchen in the Cambria Portland Hotel. Learn about light, dark and spiced rum, all paired with a special menu that includes curried mussels and braised pork loin. The tasting/dinner runs from 6-8 p.m. and costs $95. Reserve by calling 603-334-4207.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: