The new owners of Owl & Elm relaunched the Yarmouth pub Tuesday. From left to right, Alli Bibaud, Jenna Croteau, Adam Croteau and Christopher Doughty. Photo courtesy of Owl & Elm.

Owl & Elm Pub relaunched Tuesday, led by a new ownership team that plans to bring an even greater focus to food at the Main Street venue.

Co-owner Jenna Croteau and her partners bought Owl & Elm in late April from previous owner Caitlin Henningsen, whom Croteau said sold Owl & Elm in part to focus on her new gluten-free bakery in Yarmouth, Little Bird.

The new ownership team includes Croteau, her husband Adam Croteau, Alli Bibaud and Christopher Doughty. Doughty and Adam Croteau had been chefs in the Owl & Elm kitchen under Henningsen.

“We’re all just industry veterans with several decades of combined experience, and we were ready to make a leap and branch out on our own,” Jenna Croteau said.

Croteau said the Owl & Elm menu will change seasonally. “Customers will notice even more of a focus on the food. Our chefs are very dedicated to their craft, and they’re excited to put their own signature on the menu.”

Croteau said the chefs are excited about some of their new dishes like chicken and waffles ($24), duck wings with blueberry gochujang sauce ($16), and a duck poutine ($18), noting that the pub kitchen will emphasize its fresh ingredients and food made from scratch.


Owl & Elm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.


New owners of Fore Street’s Portland Beer Hub, a combination bar and retail beer sales operation, aim to reopen the venue by the end of June.

Co-owner Zachary Poole said he and his partners, David Phillips and Joey Joseph, bought Portland Beer Hub in April from former owner Jorgen Persson, who Poole said wanted to pursue an overseas business opportunity. The new owners were granted a liquor license for the operation Monday night by the Portland City Council.

Work crews have built a dividing half-wall in the roughly 1,000-square-foot space, a structure recommended by the state to distinguish the operation’s retail sales side from its bar and restaurant side, since the spaces require separate licenses. Poole said the bar and restaurant space will seat 25 to 30 customers.

Among new offerings at Portland Beer Hub will be their own branded merchandise, as well as goods for sale from local artists. “But I think the food program is what will really surprise people,” Poole said.


The new owners have partnered with the Biddeford-based caterers Pepperell Provisions, who also own the new build-your-own bowl food stall The Garden Bar in the Pepperell mill complex. At Portland Food Hub, Poole said, they’ll be serving grab-and-go foods including seafood salad and chicken salad sliders on the retail side, while on the bar and restaurant side they’ll feature sandwiches, cold fried rice bowls, charcuterie boards and snacks like crackers and dip, fried pasta chips, pork rinds and pickled eggs.

Poole and Phillips also own Maine Brews Cruise, and Poole said Portland Beer Hub will have synergy with their craft beer bus tour business. “It’s kind of the next phase of (Maine Brews Cruise), and will be a kind of brick-and-mortar space for our tour guests to start and check in at the Portland Beer Hub,” Poole said.

“Were going to be a welcoming space for all, with some killer food and drink both to-go and for here,” he added.

“Soon” has evolved, but now Continental’s owners hope to open in July. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer


The Continental, an eagerly awaited European-style pub on Brighton Avenue, is now hoping to launch shortly after July Fourth.

The pub was originally expected to open last July, but delays with the building permit process made the ownership team revise their timeline. Co-owner Michael Barbuto said the project was further delayed this spring when city officials required them to excavate part of the lot to build a frost wall that would prevent a walk-in cooler and dry storage shipping unit that abut the building’s exterior from damaging the building in the event of frost heaves.


Barbuto said the frost wall work set The Continental behind at least nine weeks. Barbuto, his partner Kevin Doyle and their silent partners have now been paying rent on the space for about 18 months.

“To make up for lost time, we might not even do any soft openings,” Barbuto said. “We may just open for limited hours for the first few weeks.”

The Continental is intended to have a “throwback Irish/English pub feel,” Barbuto said, and food that reflects “an American’s interpretation of European pub fare.”

The menu will include curries, meat pies, fish and chips, roasted half chickens and rotating fish specials, while weekend brunch will offer dishes like English fried breakfast, Scotch eggs, and crumpets with jam.

The Continental has a total seating capacity of 99, including 28 seats on the patio. The bar will offer a scaled-back cocktail program, with the emphasis on wines and European beers like Guinness, Bass Ale, Old Speckled Hen and Boddingtons.

The interior of the 2,200-square-foot space will feature dark African mahogany woodwork and Victorian-style wallpaper, decor inspired by the English- and Irish-style pubs Barbuto and his partners frequented in Boston in the 1990s.


“It’s probably going to look a little fancy and elegant, but in the end, we’re just a neighborhood pub,” Barbuto said.


Taco A Go Go, a downtown restaurant now under development in Portland by Michael Barbuto and his partners at CBG and Nosh Kitchen Bar, was forced to change its name in May after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a Texas restaurant group named, yup, Tacos A Go Go.

Barbuto said the ownership team eventually decided to call the forthcoming restaurant Nosh Taco, which they hope to open in August. Nosh Taco is located in the Canal Plaza space formerly occupied by vegan chain Copper Branch.

The 1,300-square-foot space will have up to 27 seats inside, and patio seating for about 20. Barbuto said its streamlined menu will likely include five tacos, five tortas, a protein salad option, and a few salsas.

The bar at Nosh Taco will serve frozen drinks and a selection of tequilas and mezcals, and the venue will feature live music as well.


Nosh Taco will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Barbuto said, noting that the owners are counting on brisk takeout business for weekday lunches.

“It’s really meant to be a fun spot right in the geographic center of town. And our job there is to attract some people to what is kind of a boring bank plaza,” Barbuto said. “But there’s a lot more competition in that part of town in a much more densely packed zone. We’ve got our work cut out for us there.”


The opening of Hot Liquor Tank on Wharf Street has been delayed until later this summer in part because of owner Rick Benet’s recent illness.

Benet, who also owns Mash Tun and Jefe Juan’s on Wharf Street, said he was sickened by a bacterial infection this winter that left him laid up for five months. He’d originally hoped to open Hot Liquor Tank in June, but now expects it will launch in late July or early August.

Work crews are now renovating the 1,200-square-foot space at 43 Wharf St., which formerly hosted The Drink Exchange. Benet said it needs more refurbishing work than he’d first thought, another factor in the delay.


Benet is building a nanobrewery in the basement area, which will need additional licensing. He expects it to be operational next spring.

Hot Liquor Tank is named after the vessel used to heat water to mash temperature for beer brewing. It will be the sister operation to Mash Tun, also named for a brewing process vessel.

Hot Liquor Tank will offer a limited bar food menu focused on seafood, including dishes like lobster rolls, fresh oysters, fried oyster po’ boys and calamari.

Benet, who opened Mash Tun at 29 Wharf St. in 2016 and then Jefe Juan’s at 47 Wharf St. in 2020, said the storied Old Port street is on the upswing.

“In the past, on one end of Wharf Street there’s been this vibe, like, ‘Don’t go there after 1 in the morning.’ There was a safety issue,” he said, recalling his experience there roughly 10 years ago. “I think those days are over. It’s definitely going in the right direction, and has been for 10 years. In the last two years, it’s been speeding up.”



Dog lovers can raise a glass to their furry friends on Saturday, June 17 as the Ales for Tails beer festival returns to Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in South Portland.

An enthusiastic pooch ponies up to the bar at a previous Ales for Tails. Photo courtesy of Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

Sponsored by the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, the event runs from 1-4 p.m. and features beers from 13 area breweries, as well as food trucks from Mr. Tuna and T.O.P. Dog.

Each ticket includes five 8-ounce pours for the brewery booths, free parking, and an aluminum commemorative tasting cup featuring the 2023 Ales for Tails logo. Tickets cost $60 each in advance, available online, and $70 at the door, with non-drinking tickets offered for $15 including non-alcoholic beverages and free parking.

All proceeds raised by the event go directly to support the more than 5,000 dogs, cats and small animals that the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland services each year.

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