This photo of a shopper inside the Good Day Market selecting an item from the vegetarian meat cooler appeared in the Portland Press Herald on April 5, 1995. Photo courtesy of the Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

A landmark vegetarian business called the Good Day Market that opened in Portland in 1970 would go on to cultivate at least five memorable vegetarian establishments and continues to flavor the city’s food scene today.

Vegetarian from day one, the cooperative grocery store appeared that June at 8 Market St. in the Old Port. It later moved to the Mariner’s Church building, then up Fore Street a few doors, then to the former Brian Boru building, then to the People’s Building, and finally to Middle Street near India Street. The market was founded by Peter and Michelle Stuckey.

The vegetarian businesses that grew out of the Good Day Market include: The Hollow Reed, an influential restaurant founded in 1974 and viewed as foundational in building Portland’s food culture; No Moo Dairy, an early tofu shop founded in 1976; The Hungry Hunza, a sandwich spot founded in 1977; Second Ceres, a sit-down restaurant founded in 1981; and Ala Carte, a food cart founded in 1982.

Initially, the Good Day Market offered a barter system, allowing customers to exchange garden vegetables and home-baked goods for the shop’s bulk products. Later, members enjoyed discounted prices in exchange for volunteer shifts at the store.

On Nov. 24, 1970, Evening Express reporter June Fitzpatrick, who later opened an art gallery, wrote that, “Physically the shop looks like a small warehouse, bare and with the flour type products displayed in 50 pound sacks. In one corner is a library containing books on growing and cooking food.”

By 1973, when the market had 100 members, it began partnering with a new buying club called the Portland Vegetable Co-op to sell low-cost vegetables and bulk foods. That same year, the Good Day Market hosted a free vegetarian dinner at the Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church on Munjoy Hill.


The next day, a fire on the top floor of Mariner’s Church damaged the building’s storefronts, forcing the market to move to 343 Fore St. in Boothby Square.

Considered a lasting influence on Portland’s food scene, The Hollow Reed was founded by Good Day Market volunteers in 1974 as an all-vegetarian restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

There, market volunteers and vegetarians Frank LaTorre, Bobbie Goodman and Vicki Jahn decided Portland needed an all-vegetarian restaurant. With an $18,000 loan from LaTorre’s mother, the group leased 334 Fore St. across the square, and in early 1974, The Hollow Reed vegetarian restaurant opened.

Its 60-seat dining room featured pedestal tables, spindle-back chairs, exposed ceiling beams, potted plants, a brick fireplace and a former classroom chalkboard announcing daily specials. The Maine Historical Society owns The Hollow Reed’s original sign.

The Hollow Reed’s original bill of fare offered items like spaghetti with vegetarian meatballs, country-style bean and grain casseroles, eggplant parmesan, lentils with cheese, grain burgers, quiche, burritos, pizzas, hummus sandwiches, peanut butter-honey-banana-raisin sandwiches, sprout salads, tabbouleh, date yogurt, banana smoothies, carrot juice, herbal teas, grain coffees and beer.

Few of these dishes seem unusual today, but 50 years ago, all represented the rebellious natural foods movement burgeoning alongside the era’s youth culture. A central part of natural cuisine was plant-based meals.

The Hollow Reed began as a vegetarian restaurant, but by its second year, it first added seafood, and later chicken and red meat to its menu. Despite The Hollow Reed’s short stint as a vegetarian restaurant, that label has stuck with it, hinting at the significance of plant-based cooking within Portland’s food culture.


The memorable, all-vegetarian Good Day Market in Portland, founded in 1970 in the Old Port, moved many times, occupying this West End storefront for the longest stretch between 1977 and 1996. Photo courtesy of the Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives

The switch to a non-vegetarian menu was controversial with the Good Day Market crowd, and soon the market, then located on Center Street, began selling its own vegetarian grab-and-go sandwiches. The takeout meals were a hit with downtown office workers, but when the market found a more spacious location in the People’s Building in the West End, a few market workers scouted a storefront at 21 Pleasant St., and the coop’s board agreed to open The Hungry Hunza sandwich shop in 1977.

That year, the first-ever Common Ground Country Fair took place in Litchfield, and the Hunza was one of the handful of food vendors. At night, the sandwich shop became kitchen space for No Moo Dairy. Founded in 1976 by Judy and Peter Beane, No Moo Dairy is Maine’s earliest tofu shop, and its tofu was used in sandwiches at the Hunza and sold fresh at Good Day Market.

In addition to its tofu sandwich, Hunza offered sandwiches with tempeh, sauerkraut and cheese; with avocados and tomatoes; with cheese, peppers and olives; and with hummus. All of the sandwiches were topped with alfalfa sprouts grown at the restaurant. Later, pizza was added.

News coverage of The Hungry Hunza was scant, with one exception. In 1978, leaders of the Maine Democratic Party asked the vegetarian restaurant to cater a Portland fundraising dinner attended by President Jimmy Carter. News of the vegetarian dinner appeared in newspapers across the country.

An Associated Press story about the planned vegetarian menu resulted in the headlines “Democrats will dine on ‘soysage stroganoff’” in the Lewiston Evening Journal and “Rubber-Chicken Menu to Bow out Naturally” in the Waterville Morning Sentinel. In addition to the stroganoff (likely made with the soybean pulp, called okara, left after making the No Moo Tofu), dinner guests were fed cream of carrot soup, bean salad, tossed salad and fresh bread made from Maine-grown sprouted wheat and rye.

But the 1980s wouldn’t be kind to Portland vegetarians. In 1981, The Hollow Reed, The Hungry Hunza and No Moo Dairy all closed. By summer, the Hunza’s storefront had been renovated by Carole Kilgore into the Second Ceres, whose opening menu was vegan.


Maine Sunday Telegram food reviewer Sharon Zacchini visited Second Ceres and, on Dec. 13, 1981, noted that it served “strictly vegetarian fare – neither eggs nor milk cross its doorstep.” Zacchini documented miso soup with carrots and broccoli, pea soup, chickpea meatballs over millet, fried tofu with tomato sauce, grain burgers, kale “cooked perfectly,” blueberry pie, oatmeal raisin cookies, grain coffees, herbal teas and cashew milk. Like The Hollow Reed, Second Ceres added animal-based meats to the menu its second year in business, and by 1984, it had closed.

When Second Ceres stopped being a vegetarian restaurant in 1982, Hunza veteran Stratton Wayne St. Clair and his wife, Paulette, launched a vegetarian food cart called Ala Carte based on The Hungry Hunza’s recipes. Operating for two years in Tommy’s Park, the cart sold tempeh reubens, hummus sandwiches and avocado-tomato sandwiches. During the winter holidays, it sold soups, hot cider and roasted chestnuts.

Through the 1990s, the Good Day Market co-sponsored vegetarian potlucks, cooking classes and camping weekends with the networking group Southern Maine Vegetarians. Then in November 1996, the Good Day Market relocated for the final time to 59 Middle St. The following summer, the market would close, over burdened by debt and undone by the mismatched location.

In the July 9, 1997, edition of the Portland Press Herald, staff writer Steven G. Vegh observed that the market’s “vegetarian customers might have seen bad karma in the location; across the street, Jordan’s Meats churns out thousands of hot dogs and other meat products.” Jordan’s closed in 2005, and the site is now a hotel with a vegan-friendly restaurant.

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in downtown Portland. She can be reached at

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