Thistle & Grouse, a two-story “modern gastropub” in the space of the former Rivalries sports bar at 10 Cotton St. in Portland, is to open this Friday. Courtesy of Thistle & Grouse

Thistle & Grouse, a new gastropub at the Old Port address where Rivalries sports bar closed in February, is set to open this Friday, Dec. 1.

Chef-owner Bobby Will said he’d hoped to launch Tuesday, but a soft opening on Monday led him to push back the opening a few days to allow time to work out some last-minute kinks.

Thistle & Grouse’s 10 Cotton St. location covers more than 5,000 square feet, including a two-story dining room that seats 108. Will described Thistle & Grouse as a “modern gastropub with an emphasis on local sourcing.”

Will’s partner in the venture is his fiancée, Kimberly Kraus. Will and Kraus had run the Bar Harbor restaurant Salt & Steel for five years before closing it earlier this year. Will said many former Salt & Steel staffers will join the team at Thistle & Grouse.

Earlier in his career, Will had been executive chef at Saltaire Oyster Bar and Fish House in Port Chester, N.Y., which earned an “excellent” rating from the New York Times under his leadership. Will previously worked under renowned chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Boston-based chef Andrew Husbands, and was also the head chef of the Atlantic Inn on Block Island.

Will said Thistle & Grouse’s menu, which will change seasonally, includes a raw bar section with a variety of Maine oysters; a selection of cheese, charcuterie and “seacuterie” boards; small plates like a Roasted Beet Salad ($15), Roasted Heritage Pork Belly ($17) and Crispy Moulard Duck Drumettes ($24); and main dishes like Vadouvan Curry Duck Pot Pie ($31), Maine Seafood Cassoulet ($34) and a Prime Beef Smash Burger ($18).


“We want the quality of what we put out to be fine dining, but we don’t want the plating or the cost to be fine dining. I don’t want people to feel like they can’t afford to eat here except on special occasions. I want (prices) to be more approachable.” Will said. “The mains are meant to be rustic, but they’re more refined than slapping a piece of meat on top of mashed potatoes and gravy.”

The Thistle & Grouse bar program features craft cocktails and local beers, as well as wines by the glass ($10-$15) or bottle ($30 to $90).

Thistle & Grouse will be open six days a week starting at 4 p.m., closed Mondays. Will said the kitchen will close at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, while they’ll offer a pared-back menu from 10 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Will added that he expects to add weekend brunch service later this winter, and in the spring Thistle & Grouse will be open seven days a week.


Veteran Maine restaurateurs Kim Lally and Sunny Chung are launching Good Wine Bar on Main Street in Saco this Friday.


Lally called the new 25-seat venue “very cozy, like a quintessential little Mom-and-Pop wine bar you’d find almost anywhere in Europe.” The bar itself seats six, and the interior also features “soft seating” like couches and upholstered chairs.

The interior of Good Wine Bar, a “Mom and Pop” wine bar on Main Street in Saco, that is set to open Friday. Courtesy of Good Wine Bar

Good Wine Bar serves nine wines by the glass ($10 to $15) along with a small curated bottle list, with an emphasis on Old World wines. The bar will also offer four draft beers and four classic signature cocktails.

The bar will have light food offerings, almost all under $20, including cheeses, charcuterie, tinned fish, olives, nuts and seasonal salads. Lally said Good Wine Bar will also hold a happy hour every day from 4 to 6 p.m.

Good Wine Bar will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.

A husband-and-wife team, Lally and Chung previously owned Main Street Steak and Oyster in Brunswick, which they sold in March; and the Portland Korean restaurant Yobo, which they sold in late 2021.

“(Good Wine Bar) is something smaller, just Sunny and I,” Lally said. “It’ll be fun to be able to make our favorite pastime and hobby our full-time work now without being so stressed out about a kitchen.”



Sublime Taco has announced on social media that its last day of service will be Saturday.

“We have made the decision to take Sublime Taco in a different direction, which we will be looking forward to sharing with you all in the future,” the Instagram post said. The owners could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sublime Taco opened on Main Street in Biddeford five years ago before moving to 12 Washington St., their current location, in 2022. Sublime shared a kitchen in the Washington Street space with the adjacent Dunn bar.

Also in downtown Biddeford, the specialty market and casual eatery Part & Parcel recently announced on social media that they’ll be closing for good in late December.

“It will be our final holiday season at Part & Parcel,” the Nov. 25 Facebook post reads in part. “The last 5+ years has given us more joy than we could have ever anticipated.”


The owners, who could not immediately be reached for comment, urged customers to use their Part & Parcel gift cards before they close, adding that they hope to offer their full menu until Dec. 23, their last day.

They also hinted that they’ve found a new occupant for the space they’ll be vacating at 17 Alfred St.

“We’ve been working hard to find the perfect fit, and we’re happy to say that we think we’ve done just that,” the owners’ post stated. “While it may look and feel different, the mission is the same – to provide great food and a welcoming atmosphere for the local community.”


The Portland Winter Farmers’ Market kicks off its season on Saturday, Dec. 2, on Stevens Avenue.

Winter Market Manager David Koubek said the weekly event will feature 17 vendors, including a new flower vendor from the summer market, Meadow Ridge Perennial Farm of Hebron. Koubek said the winter market will have its usual array of offerings, including meats, cheeses, fresh greens, mushrooms, root vegetables and other storage crops, Maine-grown grains, eggs, bread, oysters, wreaths and fresh flowers.


The winter market runs on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until April 13 in the Stevens Square Community Center.

“We have great hopes for this farmers market season,” Koubek said. “There’s a great atmosphere, a café in the foyer and we also have live music. It’s a great family-friendly atmosphere, and it’s been getting better every year. More and more people are returning as customers.

“It’s been a good year altogether, though we’ve had some challenges with a wetter, cooler summer,” Koubek continued. “But our farmers are quite adaptable and rise to the occasion.”


A sign in the window of Frosty’s in Biddeford asks for donations to help cover medical expenses for a baker who has cancer. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

Frosty’s Donuts of Brunswick is nearing the target goal of the gofundme account it launched to raise funds for one of their bakers, who is battling cancer.

According to Frosty’s gofundme page, baker James Brewer, 44, was recently diagnosed with cancer. The page describes Brewer as “an integral part of the Frosty’s baking team – as well as our kitchen manager – for more than 10 years.” Brewer lost his father and mother-in-law to cancer, according to the Frosty’s writeup, “so you can imagine what an emotional ride this has been for him.”

Frosty’s aims to raise $7,500 to help offset the cost of Brewer’s radiation and chemo therapies. As of Tuesday afternoon, the gofundme – launched in August – had raised $6,621.

“James has brought a lot of people a lot of joy,” the Frosty’s gofundme page states. “Let’s return that favor by giving what we can.”

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