Michelle and Steve Corry have announced plans to sell Petite Jacqueline, their French bistro in Portland. Photo courtesy of Michelle Corry

After 12 years in business, the owners of the French bistro Petite Jacqueline recently announced plans to sell the Old Port restaurant.

Owners Michelle and Steve Corry – named 2020 Restaurateurs of the Year by the trade group HospitalityMaine – launched Petite Jacqueline in Longfellow Square in 2011, then moved to Market Street in 2016. “As of now we plan to continue to operate through September and hope that someone that is equally as passionate about French food and culture will continue our vision,” the couple recently wrote in a post to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

In a phone interview, Michelle Corry gave several reasons for the decision to sell, including rising operational costs, a desire to spend more time with their children, and the lingering effects of the pandemic. “We did survive COVID, but there’s still really a lag there,” she said. “We’re not fully recovered yet from the huge devastation.

“The cost of doing business right now, especially in Portland, is becoming insurmountable,” she continued. “It’s not worth it. And Steve and I just can’t be there as much as we used to. We had to make a choice between working nights and weekends and being with our two teenage boys. We choose family at this point in life.”

The restaurant, named for Michelle Corry’s French grandmother, serves classic bistro fare like steak frites, French onion soup, terrines and vegetable tians.

Corry said she and her husband, a 2007 Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef, have been on the cusp of selling for a long time. “But we stayed open because we love our staff, and we’ve been able to hang on so they could stay employed.” Corry said they gave their staff ample notice of the closure and offered to help them find work elsewhere.

“We’re both super-grateful for all of our employees, past and present, and our regular customers over the years. And the community in general has been extremely supportive,” Corry said. “We’ll miss operating in Portland. That’s sad.”

The move will allow the Corrys to turn their attention to running 555 North in Brunswick, which is owned by their partner, Gerard Kiladjian. The Brunswick venue is named after the popular 555 restaurant the Corrys owned at 555 Congress Street in Portland from 2003 to 2020.

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