Dining Dish: New places in old spaces
The White Heart in Portland had a goodbye party Saturday night, Sept. 26. The Congress Street bar is temporarily closed while it goes through a change in ownership, according to the White Heart page on Facebook. Prepare to see sad hipsters roaming aimlessly.
Maple's Organics at 151 Middle St. (above Videoport and Bull Moose) has closed. According to the gelato maker's Web site, their wholesale business is growing so much that they aren't able to keep up the retail end.
North Star Cafe is starting a Thursday happy hour event, beginning this week. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each Thursday, the cafe at 225 Congress St. will offer $3 drafts and piano tunes.
Styxx, the subterranean gay and lesbian nightclub at 3 Spring St., has reopened under new ownership. Marcus Verrill, Josh Moody and Aaron Latty plan to host weekly all-male revues, Cabaret, trivia, ladies night and '80s nights. Don't worry, there will be plenty of karaoke, too, and a new tapas menu. For more information, go to styxxportland.com.
Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll (which wins the longest-restaurant-name-in-Portland award) is expected to open at 37 Exchange St. later this year. It will replace Java Net. Bean, whose grandfather was L.L. Bean, plans to eventually open more outlets of her seafood, sandwich and salad shop, which is already established in Freeport.
There's a new Greek restaurant going into the former Chef Et Al space at 408 Forest Ave. It will be called Your Grandma's.
Chef J.P. Gagnon has joined the team at Bernie's Place in Falmouth. The veteran chef, who used to cook at the old Casa Napoli, is serving up nightly specials including Italian and fish entrees. Bernie's Place is located at 65 Gray Road, in West Falmouth Crossing.
In South Portland and Falmouth, Ricetta's is again sponsoring a "Maine's Next Best Pizza" contest, with proceeds to benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank. The contest is open to the public. Participants should submit their recipe to either restaurant, along with a $25 donation. The winner gets $500. The deadline for entry is Oct. 31 and there will be two cook-offs in November. For more information, go to ricettas.com.
Jewel of India recently won City Council approval in South Portland for a license to open a restaurant at 45 Western Ave. (formerly Mulberry Cottage), next door to Ricetta's.
In Brunswick, sushi is coming. The Japanese restaurant Little Tokyo is expected to open in October at 72 Maine St. It will be Brunswick's first Japanese restaurant.
This week is lobster week at Restaurant Grace, on Chestnut Street in Portland. A five-course tasting menu is available (reservations required) through Oct. 3. The restaurant will donate $1 from every dinner to the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation. Go to restaurantgrace.com for more information.
On Sunday Oct. 4, Cultivating Community hosts the 20 Mile Meal at Turkey Hill Farm in Cape Elizabeth. The fundraiser includes some of the area's best chefs preparing food grown, raised or landed within 20 miles of the farm. Tickets are $35. For more information, go to cultivatingcommunity.org/index.shtml and follow the 20 Mile Meal link.
Entries are due this Friday, Oct. 2, for the Hood New England Dairy Cook-Off. The annual event is being held at Ocean Gateway this year. Participants have to use a Hood product in a recipe. There are five categories, from breakfast to dessert. The competition happens Nov. 1. Go to hphood.com and select the Cook-Off link for entry info or to win one of 50 spectator tickets.
Also at Ocean Gateway, Harvest on the Harbor is scheduled Oct. 22 to Oct. 24. There is also a special event at The Landing at Pine Point in Scarborough. The food-and-wine event attracted a huge crowd in its first year last year. The Food and Wine Marketplace, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, will offer food, wine, beer and cooking demonstrations. For more information and tickets, go to harvestontheharbor.com
Finally, welcome Backyard Farms to Portland. The grower of greenhouse tomatoes recently opened corporate offices in the Old Port. It's growing operation is located in Madison. Backyard Farms is the largest producer of greenhouse-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes in New England.