Lil Chippy will go in the spot that once housed Radici, a now defunct pizzeria pictured here, on Washington Avenue. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The former chef of South Portland’s Bistro Leluco plans to open a fish and chips restaurant on Washington Avenue this summer.

To be called Lil Chippy, the new venue will be located at 52 Washington Ave., former home to the Radici pizzeria. The 1,000-square-foot space can seat about 30.

Co-owner William Durst, who was opening chef for Bistro Leluco, said he thinks Lil Chippy can fill a void in the Portland food scene. “When I think of a seaside town, I think of fish and chips,” he said. “And there aren’t many spots that really dedicate the menu to fish and chips in Portland. Maine also has incredible fish and incredible potatoes, so it really just kind of makes sense.”

He added that Lil Chippy was inspired in part by Fish & Whistle in Biddeford. “It’s definitely a very similar model to what they’re doing down there,” Durst said. “They’re killing it, and doing really cool stuff.”

Durst said Lil Chippy will serve fish and chips using sustainable fish, like hake, from the Gulf of Maine. The menu will also offer sandwiches like a fish butty and a fried chicken sandwich, along with some small vegetable plates.

“I have a fine-dining background, so I want to be able to incorporate some of my techniques and passion for the seasons as well,” Durst said.

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Sandwiches and mains will cost from $13-$22. The restaurant will also offer beer and wine; Durst’s wife and co-owner, Ashley Wolf, will use her extensive beer and wine background to curate Lil Chippy’s selection. Wolf has been a general manager at Liquid Riot and also at Hen of the Wood restaurant in Waterbury, Vermont.

Durst said he and Wolf aim to open Lil Chippy by the end of June.

SUPPER CLUB COCKTAIL LOUNGE COMING THIS FALL

A team of people from Cocktail Mary plan to open a new restaurant and cocktail bar on Congress Street this fall.

The new space, called Supper Club Cocktail Lounge, will launch in the space at 441 Congress St., last occupied by Guitar Grave in 2019.

“I’d had my eyes on this space for a while,” said Cocktail Mary founder Isaac MacDougal. “It seemed strange that it had been vacant for so long.”

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MacDougal is opening Supper Club along with his sister and Cocktail Mary operations manager Brecken MacDougal, who will also be operations manager at the new venue; beverage director Jake Bosma and facilities manager Zach Myers. The four will be co-owners in the new project.

MacDougal said after opening Cocktail Mary in 2019 and shepherding it through the pandemic, “The natural next step was to add a food element,” he said. “So by adding that (at Supper Club Cocktail Lounge), my hope is that it will become a little bit more of a restaurant.”

MacDougal said the Supper Club menu will feature balanced plates of grains, vegetables and fish for under $20, the kind of offering he thinks the city lacks.

“It seems harder and harder to find affordable places to eat out,” he said. “My hope is to make this more accessible to the (hospitality) industry people and the locals so there are more places to get a good, healthy dinner and not spend $100, coupled with a high-end cocktail lounge.”

Supper Club Cocktail Lounge will be able to seat as many as 70 in the 2,400-square-foot venue. MacDougal said additional space in the rear will be available for parties, performances, lectures and film screenings.

“I want it to be a versatile, useful space for the community to access,” he said. “I’m less interested in specializing in craft cocktails now, and more interested in building community and community spaces.”

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The space will require a full buildout. MacDougal and his team hope to launch Supper Club in October.

NINE MAINE FOOD COMPANIES WIN GRANT MONEY

Coastal Enterprises Inc. recently awarded grant money to nine Maine food companies for the 2024 CEI Tastemakers Initiative.

The nine winners will share a $225,000 total grant payout to invest in their businesses. The awardees are Atlantic Sea Farms in Biddeford; Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick; Gulf of Maine Inc. in Pembroke; Hall Brook Farm in Thorndike; The Holy Donut Inc. in Arundel; Nauti Sisters Sea Farm in Belfast; Nest and Mullen LLC in Kennebunk; Noreaster Oyster Co. in Brunswick; and Spreading Good Inc. in Yarmouth.

According to CEI, awardees are established food and beverage companies intending to increase production capacity, with “shovel-ready” projects that directly support Maine agriculture, aquaculture or fisheries as part of their supply chain.

“This year’s Tastemakers are representative of the diversity and tenacity necessary to drive Maine’s economy forward,” said Bradley Russell, CEI’s director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program, in a news release. “The success of Maine’s food system relies on the success of local businesses that are willing to do that hard work of committing to sustainability and scaling their business for success. The Tastemakers Initiative and our partnership with FocusMaine provides well deserved support to these businesses as they scale, create good jobs, and support the Maine economy.”

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The CEI Tastemakers Initiative is now in its fifth year.

THIRD ANNUAL CHOPTAILS COMPETITION

All-star local bartenders will face off in the third annual ChopTails mixology competition at Batson River Brewing and Distilling in June.

Set for Monday, June 17, the event features four Portland bartenders, including Jacob Coombs of Sagamore Hill Lounge; Zakk Nix of Cocktail Mary; Jack O’Brien of Blyth & Burrows; and Daniella Solano of Room for Improvement. The first round of the event gives contestants 15 minutes to create a cocktail of their choosing, drawing from a basket of provided ingredients.

In the second round, the bartenders have 20 minutes to craft a cocktail using ingredients from the event’s “pantry,” with judges placing an emphasis on creativity. The bartender who wins the Judge’s Choice will receive a trophy and $500. Event attendees can also vote for the Crowd’s Choice winner.

Tickets start at $75 (available online), and include a welcome cocktail, drinks at the event’s satellite bars, appetizers and snacks. Proceeds will benefit Maine Needs.

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CASCO BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL RETURNS

The second annual Casco Bay Seafood Festival in Brunswick, which benefits the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, is set for Saturday, June 15.

The event will take place at the Lemont Block + Lemont Hall, with two general admission entry times at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. The day will feature seafood samplings, products for sale, wine pairings, silent auction items, a “Wine & Brine Shucking Class” (for an additional $35, including drinks and six local oysters) and other activities.

Tickets cost $15 in advance (available online) and $20 at the door, while VIP tickets are $25 and include a welcome drink and access starting at noon. All proceeds from the event will go toward supporting the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and its efforts to promote sustainable fishing practices in Casco Bay.


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