Brewery-distillery-restaurant Camp Pennant opened recently at 250 Commercial St. Courtesy of Camp Pennant

Camp Pennant, the new Commercial Street brewery-distillery-restaurant that replaced Liquid Riot, launched last week and aims to debut its centerpiece wood-fired oven this week.

Owner Michael Fraser said Camp Pennant opened last week at 250 Commercial St. without the oven, around which the restaurant’s menu was developed. Fraser explained that ductwork problems kept them from using the oven, so they chose to launch with a limited menu.

“We could cook the seafood dishes in our regular ovens and in sauté pans until the wood-fired oven gets going,” said Fraser, noting that Camp Pennant should be able to make pizzas in the oven starting this week, pending a fire inspection.

“Having the oven changes the atmosphere of the whole place, and it makes about half our menu,” Fraser said.

Camp Pennant’s menu features six varieties of wood-fired pizza ($15-$21), along with entrees like Maine mussels ($29), vongole pasta ($29) and wood-fired salmon ($30).

Fraser said the alcohol production side of the business, Pennant Distilling & Brewing, has gin and a variety of canned beer ready for retail sale at liquor stores around the state, and will release its vodka, bourbon, rum and scotch on July 7. Pennant’s three or four retail canned beer offerings will focus on their lighter styles like lager and red ale, Fraser said. The Camp Pennant bar has a selection of 13 beers on tap.


Fraser said Camp Pennant plans to feature a reggae band on Sunday afternoons and an ’80s/’90s DJ on Saturday nights. Fraser and his ownership team also own Bramhall, CBG, Nosh, Nosh Taco, Paper Tiger and Roma.

Camp Pennant is open Sunday through Thursday from noon until 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon until 1 a.m.


Local hospitality professionals are launching an all-day bar in the former Market Street home of Petite Jacqueline early next year.

Named Cuties, the venue will be a counter-service cafe in the morning featuring coffee drinks and local pastries, transitioning into a wine and cocktail bar later in the day, according to partner Bryce Summers, who now works as bar manager of Bar Futo.

Summers said his team saw a need for an all-day gathering place in Old Port. “We all spend the lion’s share of our time in the Old Port, and we all definitely feel there is a space needed for those daytime hours to get together with friends, especially with the bright, lively aesthetic we’re picturing,” he said.


Summers said his team envisions the 2,100-square-foot-space will feature soft seating and bright, natural light during the day from the venue’s stretch of front windows, along which a drink rail will run. At night, the vibe will be “lights down, music up,” while the beverage offerings include affordable wines, unique frozen cocktails, a rotating margarita menu and an espresso martini on nitro.

The space can seat just under 50 customers, Summers said, noting that chef and partner Ryan Nielsen will put together a menu of shareable, snacky dishes to complement the beverages. Garrett Lenderman of Bar Futo and the former Danforth and Arvid Brown of Room for Improvement are also partners in the project.

“It’s going to be very groovy and communal in here,” Bryce said. “The space is just beautiful.”

“This space has beautiful windows that look on to the courtyard of the Regency (Hotel),” said partner Nick Coffin, who also co-owns the acclaimed new Wharf Street bar Room for Improvement. “There’s all these new builds around Portland, so it’s nice to take a piece of history here and repurpose it.”

The ownership team aims to open Cuties in winter 2025.



Renowned culinary bookstore Rabelais will again have a brick-and-mortar presence in Portland when it opens a pop-up retail storefront in the Black Box on Washington Avenue for three months this summer.

Owner Don Lindgren said he’s leased a 320-square-foot space in the Black Box from July through September. He aims to launch the pop-up on the July 4th weekend.

Rabelais opened in 2007 on Middle Street and remained there until 2012 before moving to the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford. Lindgren closed that shop in September 2023, and moved the business online.

“After closing my retail shop in Biddeford, I was enjoying working from home, and it was working,” Lindgren said. “I was doing online direct sales to customers and institutions, and the big book fairs. But I also was aware that I was still sitting on a lot of inventory.”

Even after selling off much of his shelf stock when the Biddeford store closed, Lindgren still had more than 20,000 culinary-themed books and related items available for sale. “The question was, ‘How can I best put some of these things in front of people?’ ” he said. “And of course, having a shop again is the most obvious answer.”

Lindgren said the Black Box iteration of Rabelais will be “a really intensely compressed version of the shop,” and will feature more than 1,000 items including new books, unusual small press publications and rare used materials, as well as ephemera like menus, trade cards and catalogs from the food and beverage world.


“There’ll be things there that are $1 or $5 ,and other things that are over $1,000,” Lindgren said. “I want people to go in and see stuff that’s classic that they’re familiar with like James Beard, Julia Child or M.F.K. Fisher, and then also be able to see cookbooks published in Istanbul or odd early things that are just cool to look at.”

Rabelais will be open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Old Port bakery and café Bread & Friends is adding dinner service back to its offerings starting this week.

Co-owner Jess Rattey said the venue had tried dinner service for a few months last year from August through October. “I think we started a little bit too late in the season, and it just never got very busy, so we had to put a pause on it for the winter,” she said.

Rattey said starting Thursday, Bread & Friends will offer dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and will add a Sunday evening pizza night within the next month as well. The café hopes to keep its dinner service available year round.


Rattey said Bread & Friends will now stay open throughout the day on dinner nights, offering coffee beverages, pastries, bread and happy hour specials from 1 to 5:30 p.m.

Dinner dishes include handmade pastas like spiced lamb tortellini ($28) and vegetarian ricotta gnocchi ($26); and a wood-fired pork chop from Broad Arrow Farm in Bristol with housemade lacto-fermented cherries and a sauce made from the bakery’s spelt rye loaf ($38).

“We have a really talented chef,” Rattey said of her husband and co-owner Jeremy Broucek. “Brunch is delicious, and we have so much more to showcase as far as food goes. And we have a fun wine program that I’ve curated as well.”


A new three-part PBS docuseries “Hope in the Water” debuts this week, and includes a segment featuring food and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart talking with Vertical Bay owner Andrew Peters about scallop farming in Maine.

The Maine-based segment appears in the second episode, which airs Wednesday, June 26 at 9 p.m. In it, Stewart and Peters sail Penobscot Bay to do some scallop farming as they discuss the phenomenon of lobsters migrating north in search of colder water, and how aquafarms like Vertical Bay represent the future of sustainable fishing.


“Hope in the Water” begins this Wednesday at 9 p.m. on PBS. The series, spearheaded by David E. Kelley and Andrew Zimmern, explores the work of fishermen, aqua farmers and scientists harvesting aquatic species and aiming to feed the planet while saving the oceans.


The best-selling author of “How Not to Die” is discussing his latest book, “How Not to Age,” in Portland this month.

Author Michael Greger, a physician and widely recognized speaker on nutrition, will give a talk at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel on Sunday, June 23. He’ll talk about diet, lifestyle and nonpharmacological means of preserving body function as we age. Greger will discuss the top five dietary factors identified by the Global Burden of Disease study as contributing to the greatest annual death toll.

Greger’s talk begins at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are $15 online, $20 at the door. The event is hosted by the Maine Animal Coalition.



The third annual Maine Oyster Festival is set for June 29-30 in downtown Freeport.

The two-day event offers a chance to meet sea farmers, learn to shuck, eat oysters and shop at a variety of participating local vendors and food trucks. Kids can make crafts to take home, and live music is offered throughout the festival.

The Freeport Oyster Bar is hosting a kickoff party for the event on Friday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10, and party proceeds benefit the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association.

Find more festival details online at

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