Volunteers stand ready to serve at Monday’s Community Soup-er at Grace Point Church in Biddeford, which helped kick off Biddeford Restaurant Week. Courtesy of Heart of Biddeford

Biddeford Restaurant Week’s Community Soup-er event got the weeklong hospitality celebration off to a strong start March 13, raising about $1,500 for local food pantries.

Event coordinator Delilah Poupore said about 100 people attended Monday’s soup-based dinner at Grace Point Church, featuring soups donated by 10 local restaurants. This is the sixth year for Biddeford’s Community Soup-er, Poupore said, noting that proceeds will benefit Seeds of Hope and the Bon Appetit Food Program.

Biddeford Restaurant Week has been held annually since 2013, though this is the first year since 2019 that the event won’t have to be modified because of the pandemic. Poupore said Tuesday’s snowstorm might make it a quiet day for the celebration week, which runs through Sunday, March 19.

Still, she hopes area residents use the remainder of the week to explore local restaurants and dining options they haven’t tried yet.

“The businesses have been very creative about their offerings,” Poupore said. “Biddeford businesses are scrappy. They’re willing to innovate and push themselves.”

The week is coordinated by Heart of Biddeford and the Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce, though Saco restaurants are not participating this year. Still, 20 Biddeford restaurants are represented, a good showing and slightly better than last year, according to Poupore.


The week’s happenings also include a restaurant trivia event – with questions based on interesting factoids about local eateries – at the town’s new gaming pub, The Pint and Pawn, Wednesday from 7 to 8 p.m.


Lobster roll pros Bite Into Maine have plans to open a retail space in East Bayside this summer, the growing company’s first brick-and-mortar location in Portland.

Sarah Sutton, who co-owns the business with her husband, Karl, said they signed a lease on a 3,500-square-foot space at 31 Diamond St. The location formerly hosted the garage door supplier, DSI, and will feature seating for about 25 customers in the counter-service cafe space, along with a takeout window.

Bite Into Maine began in 2011 as a food truck, then opened a location in Scarborough in 2017 geared toward takeout, with some seating. The company also operates two food trucks, one open seasonally in Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park, the other running year-round at Allagash Brewing Co. on Industrial Way.

The new Diamond Street location – which Sutton hopes will be open by mid-summer – provides a larger prep kitchen, space for walk-in coolers and garages for the food trucks, as well as more room to accommodate their nationwide shipping through the online marketplace Goldbelly, which they started about a year ago.


“We needed the space,” Sutton said. “All the neighbors in the (Diamond Street) area have been really positive and have been reaching out. We can’t wait to open.”


Batson River Brewing & Distilling in Portland has scheduled its second annual ChopTails Cocktail Competition for March 27.

The cocktail showdown features five top area bartenders battling each other and the clock to serve the tastiest drinks. Contestants include Rob Roy of Primo Restaurant in Rockland, who returns to defend his title from the inaugural 2022 competition; Jake Bosma of Cocktail Mary; LyAnna Sanabria of the newly opened Papi; Sylvi Roy of Twelve; and Bailey White of The Danforth.

The event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., involves two rounds of drink-making. For round one, contestants have 15 minutes to craft a drink of their choice using Batson River Spirits, with the winner being given a 30-second head start for round two.

In the second round, the bartenders have 30 minutes to create a cocktail drawing from the competition’s “pantry,” with a panel of three judges placing a premium on creativity.


Tickets for the event start at $80, and include a welcome cocktail, snacks and appetizers and a sample of the second-round cocktails. Proceeds will benefit Maine Needs. The event’s top cocktail will go on Batson’s menu in April, and $1 of each sale of the special drink will go to the charity of the winning bartender’s choice.

Tickets can be purchased online.


Cake specialists Prairie Baking Co. plan to open a retail space and cafe just off Washington Avenue in Portland early this summer.

The 1,700-square-foot eatery will be located at 44 Romasco Lane, in the former Nissen Bakery building, according to Prairie Baking owner Elizabeth Rzoska. The space was previously part of The Body Architect gym.

Prairie, which launched just over three years ago, currently operates in the same building out of a prep kitchen that last hosted the former Drifters Wife.


A trained pastry chef, Rzoska said she plans to serve breakfast pastries – which she already produces wholesale for local cafes – along with a selection of toasts, house-made granola, cake by the slice, drip coffee and light breakfast and lunch options. She expects the space will offer counter seating and tables for about 20 customers.

“I’m excited to have customers and see regulars and have more of a regular customer base, instead of people only ordering cake,” Rzoska said, who said she expects to be open by June at the earliest. “It’ll be nice to have a kind of community space feel.”


Rising Tide Brewing Co. on Fox Street in Portland is throwing a beer pairing dinner on Friday, March 24.

The brewery’s Spring Fling Beer Dinner will feature five Asian-inspired food courses prepared in-house, each paired with a different beer. Miso lovers will be in for a treat as three varieties of the Japanese soybean paste are spotlighted in the meal in courses like white miso soup with shiitakes and tofu, brown miso-glazed scallop on seaweed salad, and clams with red miso, while the dinner’s final course is a sea salt–miso chocolate chip cookie.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to NAMI Maine to support Mainers struggling with mental health issues. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the event and tickets are $82.60 plus tax, available online.

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