Bounahra Kim, shown preparing sashimi at Miyake in 2020. Kim will become head chef at Miyake as Masa Miyake transitions into semi-retirement. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Chef Masa Miyake has transferred ownership of his Miyake and Pai Men Miyake restaurants to two of his veteran managers as he transitions into semi-retirement.

Co-general managers Courtney Packer and Emily Phillips said the new ownership has been in effect since the start of the year. Packer and Phillips have each worked at the Miyake restaurants for more than 10 years, both having started there as servers.

“This transition has been in the works between Courtney, Masa and myself for a number of years,” Phillips said. “It’s the product of a long and trusting relationship between us as Masa has begun to envision kind of a retirement for himself and a future for his businesses here in Portland. We are lucky enough to be in the position where we are able and excited to carry forward both of these restaurants for many years to come here.”

Miyake first opened in 2007 on Spring Street before moving to its current Fore Street location in 2011; Pai Men Miyake opened on State Street in 2010. Chef Miyake, 60, has spent countless hours at his restaurants over the years, including heading up the Miyake kitchen most nights of the week.

“He’s been envisioning a process of stepping back from the intensity,” Phillips said. “Maybe not envisioning a full retirement, but a way to pass the reins over to some of his trusted folks and give him the space to work a little bit in a supporting role, but not be in the restaurant every night of the week.”

Miyake sous chef Bounahra Kim will head up the kitchen there, and isn’t planning any menu or service changes, Phillips said. “As our patrons visit Miyake over the next several weeks, they will see less of Masa’s face there and more of Bounahra,” she added.


Phillips and Packer said they expect Pai Men Miyake also to continue seamlessly through the transition.

“We want to honor Masa’s vision for these restaurants, and keep these business going strong,” Phillip said. “We’re hopeful our customer base will feel like they’re in good hands with the two of us at the helm.”


The new Double Great Coffee shop, which opened recently in the former Hilltop Coffee space on Munjoy Hill. Photo courtesy of Double Great

Double Great Coffee launched Sunday in the former Hilltop Coffee space on Munjoy Hill, and got off to an auspicious start despite the severe weather.

“We opened during the snowstorm, and it was packed,” co-owner Michael Force said. “From about the time we opened until we closed, it was full of people.

“No one drove there Sunday because of the weather, so it was a very good indicator of who in the neighborhood was excited,” Force continued. “These people all walked over from their places on Munjoy.”


Force is partnered in the project with his wife, Carolyn, and Amanda Foreman of the adjacent store, Abura Skincare. The team took over the 100 Congress St. space last January.

Double Great’s coffee comes from three roasters: Verve in Santa Cruz, California; Passenger in Pennsylvania, and Nomad in Barcelona, Spain. Force said Portland already has plenty of good locally roasted coffees, and his team had no plans to roast their own beans.

The new cafe is also offering pastries from the West End bakeshop Ugly Duckling.

Force said it was worth waiting a year to open. “We took our time. We were in no real rush, and the result is really beautiful,” he said, crediting Joiya Studios with the buildout design, which he said was influenced by the “warmer” aspects of Japanese and Scandinavian design.

Double Great is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Force said they plan to extend hours into the late afternoon in the spring.

“The space was a coffee shop for years before, and the neighborhood needed a coffee shop and local hub, a place where the neighborhood can congregate,” he said. “That’s what the initial idea for doing this was.”



India Street Thai restaurant Dok Mali will open a pan-Asian noodle bar in South Portland in the space formerly occupied by Judy Gibson.

Dok Mali owner Nonglack Thanephonesy said she hopes to open Dok Mali Noodle Bar at 171 Ocean St. sometime in March. Thanephonesy opened Dok Mali in late 2022, and said she has been looking to open another venue for the past six months or so. Judy Gibson closed last November.

“It had depended on the location,” Thanephonesy said. “I like the neighborhood feeling on Ocean Street. There’s condos being built, coffee shops, little neighborhood grocery stores, so it made me want to go to that location.”

Thanephonesy said she’ll bring over some of the popular Dok Mali noodle dishes to the new restaurant, and then round out the menu with noodle dishes from around Asia, like Chinese Sichuan dan dan noodles or the Korean dish japchae, which features potato noodles.

“Noodles are my favorite type of food,” Thanephonesy said. “They fill you up. They’re so comforting and you can enjoy them year round.”



Two longtime chefs at Pom’s Thai Taste on Congress Street and their son have taken over the restaurant, which they plan to relaunch as Thai Tree later this month.

Nonsee Oumkasem, whose parents, Poj and Tunya, have been chefs at Pom’s Portland location since it opened in 2007, said his family is awaiting license approvals for the new restaurant. They plan to keep the same chef and popular menu items, though they’ll be adding some traditional dishes from Korat, their home province in Thailand, like green papaya salad and larb salad.

Oumkasem said Rattanaphorn ‘Pom’ Boobphachati will continue to operate her South Portland and Falmouth locations of Pom’s Thai Taste. He said the name Thai Tree was inspired by his first name, Nonsee, which means “long-life tree” in Thai.

The restaurant layout won’t change much, as renovations to the venue are geared more toward an aesthetic refresh, Oumkasem said. “We also want to keep prices reasonable,” he added. “We’re not going to raise menu prices high, so that everyone can get to taste the Thai food I grew up with.”

When it launches in late January, Thai Tree will be open seven days, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.



Jackrabbit Cafe, a beloved Scandinavian-style bakeshop and eatery on Biddeford’s Main Street, has permanently closed, according to a recent Instagram post from its owners.

“After an underperforming year, and after taking some time to rest and reflect, we’ve decided to close Jackrabbit Cafe as we know it,” the post reads in part. “There are many factors; it isn’t just one thing.”

Co-owners Anna and Bowman Brown, who also own fine-dining restaurant Elda upstairs from Jackrabbit. The Browns’ post seemed to suggest at least one of the more popular pastries from Jackrabbit, which opened in May 2021, will live on elsewhere in the future: “Stay tuned for where and when our famous cardamom buns will pop up,” they wrote. “Keep following us on Instagram for updates, and hopefully we’ll see you soon!”

The bright, airy cafe at 14 Main St., with white-painted brick walls and light wood floors and tables, was a popular daytime destination for high-quality baked goods, coffee beverages, sandwiches, salads and vegetable dishes.

Before moving to Maine, Bowman Brown was chef and co-owner of Forage in Salt Lake City, where he was a six-time semifinalist for the James Beard Award’s Best Chef: Southwest category.


Elda – which is on an “extended winter break,” according to its website – and Jackrabbit made the Portland Press Herald’s list of the top 10 places to eat and drink in Greater Portland last year.


Products from seven Maine food and drink makers are among the finalists for the national 2024 Good Food Awards.

The West Coast-based awards program reviewed more than 1,700 products submitted for its 14th annual event, to arrive at 428 finalists spread over 18 categories.

In the coffee category, Maine finalists include Deer Isle-based 44 North for its Honduras-honey process COMSA; Coffee By Design for its Costa Rica Danilo Salazar Finca San Cristobal Natural; and Speckled Axe for Guatemala La Bonita and Costa Rica La Guaca Natural. The beer category finalists include Allagash Brewing Company for its Surf House lager, and Maine Beer Company for Woods & Waters IPA.

In the chocolate category, Bixby Chocolate’s organic Haiti 70% dark chocolate bar was named a finalist, while Turtle Rock Farm’s Strawberry Champagne Mignonette is a finalist in the pantry category.


The Good Food Award winners will be announced April 29 at a ceremony in Portland, Oregon.


The Maine Aquaculture Hub is accepting applications for a new aquaculture training series aimed at active and aspiring aquaculturists who self-identify as women or nonbinary.

The series, which has six parts, focuses on targeted skills for women on the water and aims to foster greater diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the state’s aquaculture sector, according to a news release from the Maine Aquaculture Association.

This 2024 Women in Aquaculture series is hosted in partnership with the Aquaculture in Shared Waters training program. The series will run from February to May, focusing on seamanship and maritime skills, gear and labor practices, self-advocacy and safety, community relations and marketing, business financing and more.

“Empowering women aquaculture farmers to diversify their income and innovate on Maine’s working waterfront not only ensures their success as farmers but also promotes economic growth for the industry as a whole,” said Anne Langston Noll, associate director of the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center.


Applications to participate close on Friday, Jan. 26. Find more information on the Aquaculture in Shared Waters website.


Sur Lie is launching a new monthly supper club series called Drag Disco Dinner.

To be held on the second Tuesday of each month, the series will transform the Sur Lie dining room into a retro, disco-inspired party space, according to the event organizers. Dinners include a three-course, family-style meal from Chef Mimi Weissenborn, and a show from Portland’s top drag queens.

“As a proud member of the LBGTQ+ community here in Portland, the restaurant has always been my safe place, so that’s what I want to create for others with this new supper club series,” Weissenborn said.

The first Drag Disco Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13. Tickets cost $120, including tax and gratuity, available through Resy.

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