Bruce’s Burritos in Yarmouth, shown during a staffing shortage in October 2021, recently closed after 17 years in business. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Long-standing Yarmouth family restaurant Bruce’s Burritos closed March 31 after 17 years in business, citing labor shortage issues, though the owners hope the brand may reopen under new ownership in the months ahead.

Co-owner Erin Bruns said that the restaurant had only about half the number of staffers it needed to stay open. Recent resignations and COVID illnesses had caused their staffing shortage this year, she said.

“It has been a very difficult three years for us as a business, as it has been for so many places,” Bruns said. “(Closing) was a really tough decision. We’ve watched families and kids grow. Watched kids grow from being a toddler to working in my kitchen as a dishwasher.”

Bruns started a GoFundMe page in February to cover renovation costs at the restaurant. She posted an update to the page last month describing the restaurant’s precarious position and uncertain future.

The GoFundMe account has raised more than $12,000 toward its $20,000 goal. After they decided to close, Bruns stated on the site and on the restaurant’s social media accounts that anyone who previously donated is welcome to a refund if they wish, and that any remaining money will be used to cover health insurance for the employees and owners for as long as possible.

Still, Bruns has reason to remain hopeful that the business can be resurrected. She said she’s heard from 25 prospective buyers interested in buying the brand, adding that her husband, co-owner Bruce Luttrell, would be happy to train the new owners.


“Hopefully somebody is going to take up the mantle of Bruce’s Burritos and continue on for the community,” Bruns said. “I know we’re going to find the right person and Bruce’s Burritos will live on in Yarmouth. It just might take a little while.”


Fans of Parlor Ice Cream, rejoice: The small-batch, big flavor ice cream company is in the midst of a growth spurt and soon will be available in many more locations.

Parlor founder and co-owner Jacqueline Dole said her company has partnered with Portland natural food distributors North Atlantic Naturals, a move that could more than double the number of regional venues carrying Parlor Ice Cream.

“We expect our footprint to grow very much. We’ll definitely be expanding our account list,” Dole said. Until signing on with North Atlantic Naturals, Dole and her husband-business partner, Kevin Gravito, had been personally delivering their product to about 50 stores, restaurants and tasting rooms in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Dole said their new distributors have hundreds of retailers in their network, potentially a big boon for Parlor. North Atlantic Naturals will begin hauling Parlor products later this month.


Dole said the partnership seemed like a natural fit. She reached out to North Atlantic Naturals after noticing their delivery trucks at many of the same venues where Parlor is now sold, and learned that the distributors also are in a growth phase.

The broadened distribution dovetails with a production boost at Parlor’s Biddeford headquarters. Dole said in the coming months, new equipment will quadruple the amount of ice cream they can make at the site, noting that their current machinery produces 10 pints of ice cream every 10 minutes.

Customers looking to find new locations where they can buy Parlor in the weeks and months ahead can visit the company’s website, where Dole keeps an updated list of retailers.


Captain Sam’s Ice Cream closed its Commercial Street store at the end of last month, according to a post on the store’s Facebook page.

The pirate-themed homemade ice cream shop was open for its last day on March 29. “It has been our pleasure to bring happiness through homemade ice cream for so many years here in the Old Port. We are moving on to other ports but are very grateful for our time here with you,” the store’s March 30 post read in part.


The owners, who could not be reached Tuesday for an interview, wrote that they were “moving on to other businesses,” but offered no further details.

Captain Sam’s opened at 136 Commercial St. in May 2012.


Coffee By Design announced plans Monday to close its location in L.L.Bean’s flagship store in Freeport by the end of May.

The decision to shutter was necessitated by a $50 million, multiyear makeover of the outdoor retailer’s flagship store and campus, including the coffeehouse space. Coffee By Design had been open at the 95 Main St. location for 15 years.

“We opened our doors on May 19, 2008, and have enjoyed getting to know the community, and its hundreds of thousands of visitors over the years,” Coffee By Design owner Mary Allen Lindemann said in an announcement about the closure. “Together we weathered COVID, marked milestones, celebrated successes and experienced loss. We are grateful for our 15 years in Freeport, and to L.L.Bean for our partnership.”


Coffee By Design will close its Freeport location May 31 and says it is working to ensure that as many dislocated staffers can stay on as possible. In business since 1994, Coffee By Design operates a roastery and coffeehouse at 1 Diamond St. in Portland and has locations on Portland’s India Street and Congress Street.

Coffee By Design said four of its coffees – Campfire Cheer, Summit Bliss, Maple Mornings and Blueberry Fields – will continue to be carried in L.L. Bean retail stores across the country.

L.L. Bean’s makeover, dubbed the “Freeport Experience” project, aims to make the retailer’s flagship location more accessible and immersive by redesigning the Main Street façade, adding new food offerings and expanding Discovery Park, among other changes.


Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment has expanded its offerings for its annual farm-to-table series, including new specialty dinners and tasting events.

The center’s 2023 series will still feature its core events from previous years, including a kick-off event with Big Tree Hospitality in June and a late harvest dinner with Chaval in November. But they’ve also added seven new events, such as an August dinner with Leeward spotlighting the center’s new pasture-raised livestock product, Bistro Beef.


The 2023 lineup also includes new tasting events with local producers and experts – similar to the Sip and Savor gatherings of previous years – such as a tasting with Devenish Wines in late October.

According to the center’s website, they’ll be more details about the season’s new offerings starting May 1.

Meanwhile, core events scheduled for the farm-to-table series so far include:

Big Tree Hospitality at the Mallet Barn, Sunday, June 11 from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $125 each and go on sale May 1.

Brunch – the first-ever in the farm-to-table series – with Salt Yard Cafe & Bar on Sunday, Sept. 24. Tickets are $100 per person and go on sale Aug. 1.

Late Harvest Dinner with Chaval on Sunday, Nov. 5. Tickets are $150 each and go on sale Aug. 1.

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