Outside the new Mr. Tuna on Middle Street. Courtesy of Mr. Tuna

Mr. Tuna is ready to relaunch in its new home on Middle Street next week.

Co-owner Jordan Rubin said Mr. Tuna’s official reopening is set for Monday, May 20. Mr. Tuna’s Public Market House location has been closed since April 21 to prepare for the move.

“It feels great that this space is coming together,” Rubin said. “We’re really happy with the team we’ve put together. We have a lot of new people. And being on Middle Street with all these amazing restaurants, it’s a dream come true.”

Mr. Tuna started as a food cart in 2017, then moved into the Market House in 2018. While Mr. Tuna had 26 seats inside the Market House, the Middle Street venue can seat 34 inside – including 14 at the bar – and 30 on the patio outside, with almost 20 additional seats at an outdoor takeout area.

Rubin said the new location offers customers “a more intimate dining experience.” Mr. Tuna will also now have a full liquor license so the bar can serve cocktails, in addition to beer, wine and sake.

Rubin said the restaurant’s food menu will include some new “tweaks,” including a section offering sashimi “naked” or “all dressed up” with a selection of condiments and sauces. Customers can order handrolls in a lettuce wrap instead of nori. “Some people don’t love the flavor of seaweed, so it’s a nice option,” Rubin said.


Mr. Tuna has also added desserts to the menu, including Ice Cream Toasties – crusty, hot sweet rolls with cold ice cream inside.

Mr. Tuna will be open for lunch and dinner Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jordan said he expects to be open seven days soon, and to expand the venue’s operating hours as well.

Bao Bao is leaving Portland and has taken over the spot in Brunswick that was Tao Yuan. Sande Updegraph / For The Forecaster


Bao Bao Dumpling House relaunched in Brunswick Tuesday, a day after the owners announced that the restaurant would be moving out of Portland. At the same time, fine-dining Asian fusion restaurant Tao Yuan in Brunswick has closed, its space taken over by Bao Bao.

“Tao is a beast of a restaurant to run. It was very much my baby, and now that I have an actual baby, it’s not going to be something that’s going to stay,” co-owner Cara Stadler said reached by phone on Tuesday. “The margins are worse and it’s not the direction we feel is best for us. We love the Bao Bao concept, and figured it might be a better fit for Brunswick.”

Stadler announced in a Facebook post Monday that Bao Bao, which has been closed since February, was moving.


“We’re condensing our operations to Brunswick, and soon will be selling our dumplings frozen,” Stadler’s post stated. “We’re excited to bring Bao Bao back with a few upgrades, including our partner and chef @chefshould Leon Vuong. We’re going to have the old staples from Portland mixed with some new twists and a few more fun family style options.”

Stadler said Vuong will be a full partner in Bao Bao at 22 Pleasant St. Stadler had been running Tao Yuan with Vuong since it reopened post-pandemic last fall. She opened Tao Yuan with her mother and business partner in 2012 and was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef two years later for her cooking there.

The relaunched dumpling restaurant will initially be called BaoBao @TAO, Stadler said. BaoBao @TAO will be open in Brunswick Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 9 p.m.

Bao Bao had closed in Portland in late February because it did not have enough staff. The restaurant, which was on Spring Street, announced that it would remain closed through the end of March as the owners sought a replacement crew. Stadler noted on Facebook at the time that while she’d normally pick up the slack herself, she was using the break to take maternity leave and care for her new baby.


Local restaurateur Michael Fraser recently bought the Commercial Street brewery-distillery-restaurant Liquid Riot, and plans to relaunch the venue as Camp Pennant early this summer.


Fraser said the sale closed last Monday, and that he and former Liquid Riot owner Eric Michaud opened discussions about a deal last fall. Fraser will continue to operate the venue as Liquid Riot until the end of May, then close during the first week of June to rebrand. He said he expects to be able to relaunch in the second week of June.

Fraser said the restaurant will be called Camp Pennant, and the alcohol production side of the business will be known as Pennant Distilling & Brewing.

Fraser aims to hone Pennant’s production focus at the start, noting that it will specialize in lagers. “The trend of the cloudy IPA is a little over-the-hill. People aren’t drinking them as frequently as they were. I’d like to create lighter drinking, vacation-drinking kind of beers,” he said, adding that Pennant will still also offer other varieties like IPA and red ale.

Pennant will also produce “house beers” for the restaurants and bars that Fraser owns or co-owns, including Bramhall, CBG, Nosh, Nosh Taco, Paper Tiger and Roma. Fraser emphasized that he will continue to offer other locally made beers at his venues.

Fraser said Pennant also hopes to produce a new corn-based vodka that can compete with Tito’s, and a new gin as well. Pennant will continue to roll out the bourbons and scotches that Liquid Riot already has produced.

Head Liquid Riot distiller Ian Michaud, brother of Eric, will stay on with Pennant. “There’s a lot of continuity,” said Fraser, who has offered jobs to all Liquid Riot staffers.


Fraser said Eric Michaud will continue to produce some of his signature beers and liquors out of another facility, including his Nama Japanese lager, Fernet Michaud and an oak whisky.

At Camp Pennant, Fraser said a new wood-fired oven will be the “pulse of the restaurant,” and the heart of its open kitchen. The menu will focus on pizza and seafood dishes like wood-fired mussels, scallops, whole fish and vongole pasta. “It’s a unique experience when you get stuff that’s cooked in the oven at 900 degrees and incorporates a little smoky flavor to it,” Fraser said.

During the summer, Camp Pennant will be open seven days from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a late night DJ until 1 a.m. on Saturdays.


A little over two years since closing their longstanding Old Port location, Stonewall Kitchen will return to Portland early this summer.

Jacob Ouellette, a marketing specialist for York-based Stonewall Kitchen, said he expects the company will open its new location in mid-June at 215 Commercial St.


“We feel that’s going to be a great location for us,” Ouellette said. “Commercial Street is always bustling no matter what time of year. We’re certainly thrilled to get back to Portland.”

The 2,300-square-foot space is almost double the size of Stonewall’s former Portland location at 182 Middle St. The extra space will allow the store to offer a much greater variety of specialty food products and gift selections, Ouellette said.

Stonewall Kitchen vacated its Middle Street store in February 2022 after 24 years there. The company explained at the time that planned renovations to their building would shrink their retail space and make it untenable to continue at that location.

The company has 10 other store locations in New England.

“The intention was never to leave Portland,” Ouellette said. “It was always on our roadmap to get back to Portland, but it was always about finding the right space.”



The new Chinese-Cambodian restaurant Oun Lido’s opened in the former Old Port location of Pat’s Pizza last Thursday.

Oun Lido’s is in a 5,200-square-foot, three-story space at 30 Market St. The restaurant opened its basement level first, offering takeout only, though co-owner Vien Dobui said “ad hoc” seating for about 20-30 customers will be available in about a month on the second floor.

Dobui said Oun Lido’s has been leasing the space since last May and had planned to launch much earlier. But unexpected equipment and structural problems popped up, like HVAC repairs and extensive floor work, delaying the project by months. Most recently, Dobui said, the water heater needed to be replaced.

“That was another $10,000 we didn’t know we needed to spend,” he said. “What I thought was a turnkey operation that I could open in a couple of months ended up being a year-long project. It’s eaten into our budget to be able to open the main dining room and the bar.”

Dobui said he expects the second-floor dining room and bar to open after the summer.

Dishes on chef and co-owner Bounahcree “Bones” Kim’s menu ($6-$24) include Lemon Chicken; Bahn Chao Fresh Rolls in coconut-scallion rice crepes; and Sach Ko Mi Chay, a noodle stir-fry with beef braised in five spice and soy sauce.


“It’s takeout food,” Dobui said. “We want to make sure that a decent portion of the menu is an accessible price range, which for us is definitely below $20.”

The menu will eventually include items like steamed bao bun dishes and hand pies, but Dobui said the restaurant’s baker is currently recovering from a leg injury. He said Oun Lido’s will also offer a boba cafe-style beverage menu.

Oun Lido’s is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.


An experienced Maine baker has plans to open a gluten-free bakery and cafe in Saco later this year.

Owner-baker Lorraine Fagela said she plans to open Sweets & Co. at 294 Main St. by the end of summer or early fall. The nearly 1,200-square-foot space was formerly Dreaming Tree Vintage.

Fagela was previously a co-owner of Roots Cafe in Westbrook. In 2020, she launched Hand + Heart, her online business selling gluten-free flour and baking mixes.


Sweets & Co. will sell gluten-free baked good items like sourdough bread, bagels, focaccia, cinnamon buns, pastries and quiches. The cafe will serve bubble tea, and coffee made from organic and fair trade beans sourced from Maine roasters.

The store will also offer gluten-free cooking classes. Fagela said she expects to seat about 30 customers inside.


Fork Food Lab and Mayo Street Arts are hosting a Taste of Nations Food Festival this Sunday.

The event features tastings from a variety of food vendors including Bap, Burundi Star Coffee, Cambodia’s Best, Hellenic Kitchen, Niyat Catering, Oga Suya, The Whole Almond and more. Visitors can also enjoy curated drinks, an art installation by the residents and staff of the Portland Housing Authority and live DJ sets.

The festival will be held at Mayo Street Arts (10 Mayo St.) from noon to 6 p.m., and held in one-hour sessions. Entry to the event is $10 for a one-hour session, with all ticket sales going to support community programming at Mayo Street Arts. Each taste is $5, paid directly to each vendor.

Tickets will be $13 at the door, but advance $10 tickets are available online.

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