Freeport town officials are reviewing plans for a food truck park in this parking lot along Route 1 on a trial basis from June through November this year. Photo by Tais De Los Reyes

A local restaurant owner is seeking town approval to launch Freeport’s first food truck park this summer. It would be located on Route 1.

Tais De Los Reyes, who owns Athena’s Cantina at 491 Route 1 in Freeport with her husband, Adam, is spearheading the effort to open an eight-truck food truck park in a 25-space parking lot adjacent to her restaurant.

“I felt Route 1 (in Freeport) is missing a little love and attention,” De Los Reyes said. “This is something I feel is very much needed – more food options in Freeport. Something like this will excite locals and tourists, and offer something unique that Freeport didn’t have before.”

De Los Reyes is hosting what she calls a “presentation social” with cocktails and snacks at Athena’s Cantina from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on March 20 to allow her to pitch the plan and field questions from residents.

De Los Reyes said the food truck park could entice new food businesses to eventually launch brick-and-mortar operations in town. “This will give opportunities to food trucks that might want to open a storefront in Freeport in the future,” she said.

De Los Reyes said the proposed park would be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and that the roster of eight trucks would rotate over the course of the season, from June through November.


Town officials are considering the proposal on a trial basis for this season; if deemed successful, the park would be outfitted with electrical outlets and other infrastructure to make it a permanent seasonal feature. De Los Reyes said the concept could expand to include a smaller food truck court somewhere downtown in 2025.

De Los Reyes said her plan calls for picnic table seating. Park customers would be able to use bathrooms and additional seating inside Athena’s Cantina, and order drinks from its full bar. Athena’s Cantina is open for dine-in guests on Taco Tuesdays only, and runs as a takeout operation Wednesday through Friday.

The park also would feature tents over the picnic tables, and tents will be supplied to the trucks to use over their service windows on rainy days.

Maine’s current seasonal food truck parks include Congdon’s After Dark in Wells featuring up to 10 trucks, and roughly seven trucks that congregate in the Cutter Street parking lot on the Eastern Promenade in Portland.

Freeport’s planning board will review the proposal Wednesday. De Los Reyes hopes to receive final approval from the town in April.

“We’re pretty confident it’s going to move forward,” she said.



The owner of Smoked Windham expects to launch a Portland location on Forest Avenue this winter.

Smoked owner Michael Harris said on Tuesday that he expects Smoked Portland to open at 949 Forest Ave. in early or mid-March. The 3,000-square-foot space previously hosted the popular brunch venue Maelily & Ryleigh’s.

Harris and his former business partner, Alec Altman, had considered moving the former Binga’s Stadium on Free Street into the Forest Avenue location when they first leased the property in 2021. Altman has since assumed full ownership of the Binga’s brand and the remaining Binga’s location in Yarmouth, while Harris owns Smoked Windham – which had been a Binga’s before rebranding and launching anew in December – and the Forest Avenue space. Harris emphasized that the Binga’s and Smoked brands are completely separate operations.

The Forest Avenue Smoked will be able to seat about 65 inside, with another 35 seats outside, Harris said. Smoked Portland will have a menu similar to that of Smoked Windham, with house-smoked meats, pasta dishes, wraps, sliders, burgers, tacos, salads and sandwiches, along with wings and an assortment of pub fare starters.

Smoked Portland will be open seven days, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.



The hospitality industry seems to be flourishing in and around Portland this month with four restaurants and bars launching or relaunching over the past week.

The new sports bar Jerome’s opened Friday at 223 Congress St., the former home of the “Irish-ish” pub The Snug, while Thai Tree took over on Sunday in the former location of Pom’s Thai Taste at 571 Congress St.

Meanwhile, Paella Seafood reopened in a 4,000-square-foot space at 865 Forest Ave., former home of Pizzaiolo. Paella Seafood had been closed since September 2021 when a fire damaged its previous location at 849 Forest Ave.

And in Westbrook on Monday, Brea Lu Cafe relaunched at 511 Main St. The new 109-seat location offers the cherished breakfast and lunch restaurant twice as much space as its previous home on Cumberland Street.

Brea Lu owner Christian DeLuca had hoped to reopen last summer, but a late-March fire at the new space forced him to revise the timeline.



The Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Scarborough reopened for business four days after a late January grease fire forced the restaurant to close temporarily.

The restaurant’s Facebook page announced on Jan. 29 that they were ready to reopen. On Jan. 25 at about 2 p.m., a passer-by reported to emergency officials flames and heavy smoke coming from the roof of the Texas Roadhouse building at 600 Gallery Boulevard.

Firefighters had to disassemble the rooftop vent unit to access and extinguish the grease fire, which had started in the kitchen.

Restaurant staffers had been preparing to open the restaurant at 3 p.m. that day. No customers were in the restaurant at the time of the fire, and all staff were able to evacuate safely and without injury.



The 20th annual Chocolate Festival returns to Greenville this month.

The event is slated for Sunday, Feb. 18 from 12-3 p.m. at Greenville Consolidated School. Chocolate lovers in attendance can buy a small or large empty box ($7.50 and $12.50, respectively) to fill with the sweet treats donated by dozens of bakers and chocolatiers.

Online ticket holders can get early bird access at 11:30 a.m.

The event supports Destination Moosehead Lake, the local chamber of commerce and marketing association. Tickets are available online.


Organizers of Skowhegan’s annual Kneading Conference recently announced that the owner of a modern panadería in Southern California will be the event’s keynote speaker this summer.


Self-taught baker Arturo Enciso opened Gusto Bread in Long Beach, California, in 2020. The bakery, which he originally ran out of his home as a cottage operation, makes breads and pan dulces with wild fermentation using masa madre (sourdough).

Since launching Gusto Bread, Enciso has earned praise in write-ups from the New York Times and Food & Wine magazine, the latter publication naming Gusto Bread one of the 100 best bakeries in America in 2020.

The Kneading Conference sets itself apart from other industry gatherings by focusing on artisan grain economies, and offering a variety of workshops demonstrating best grain uses across an array of disciplines. This year’s 17th annual Kneading Conference runs from July 25-27.

Tickets are $375, available online.


Rose Foods kicks off its fifth annual sandwich series this month, featuring weekly sandwich specials guest-designed by chefs from other local restaurants.

The series starts Friday, Feb. 16 and runs for seven weeks, featuring a new special bagel sandwich each Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The series spotlights the creations of seven area restaurants this year, including Fish & Whistle of Biddeford; The Honey Paw; Mr. Tuna; Oga Suya; Onggi; Regards; and Taj Indian Cuisine of South Portland.

Rose Foods owner Chad Conley said the guest chefs enjoy the challenge of designing a bagel sandwich, and devise some compelling creations. Last year, for instance, Taj’s sandwich featured grilled chicken with peppers, onions and Indian spices in a buttery cashew and tomato cream sauce, while Duck Fat in 2022 designed a sandwich using prime rib, house-made boursin cheese, pickled red onion, arugula and shallots.

“We wanted to do something fun with our community that keeps us busy during the offseason,” Conley said. “It’s a chance to promote folks who are doing interesting things with food. But mostly it’s just about fun. We do it this time of year as a way to kind of fight winter doldrums and have something nice to look forward to.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.