Jay Villani and friends at Local 188 (685 Congress St. in Portland) are taking over the former O’Naturals space on Exchange Street and are working on remodeling the place. The new restaurant is reportedly going to be called Sonny’s. The O’Naturals on Route 1 in Falmouth is still open.
Walter’s is leaving Exchange Street at the end of September. The long-time Old Port restaurant is heading to a space across the street from the Portland Harbor Hotel, at the corner of Union and Fore streets. A real estate listing for the old spot at 15 Exchange St. says it will be available in the fall.
Hilltop Coffee Shop, at the top of Munjoy Hill at 90 Congress St., is for sale. Asking price, which includes the real estate, furnishings, equipment and business, is $450,000; it’s listed by Benchmark.
Maine Foodie Tours (mainefoodietours.com) launched this month and is offering walking and eating tours of the Old Port. The tours are available twice a day and stop at seven local eateries.
Taking Root, a two-year anniversary gathering to celebrate Local Sprouts, is Aug. 8 at Space Gallery. There will be dinner and music. Guests can attend one or both. Local Sprouts is a local food cooperative and caterer. For more information, go to localsproutscooperative.com
Back Bay Grill, at 65 Portland St., earned a Cellar Excellence Award from Wine Spectator, for the 10th year in a row. The award is given to restaurants that offer more than 100 wines from various regions and match their wines with dishes on menus.
El Rayo, the taqueria at 101 York St., is now providing table service. (And we are glad.)
Harding Smith’s newest venture, the Corner Room on Exchange Street, is not taking reservations anymore, according to the hostess who answered the phone earlier this week.
Buck’s Naked BBQ in Freeport is offering a lobster night Aug. 14. The special menu includes a traditional lobster bake outside, and several lobster dishes served in the dining room. Part of the proceeds from the evening with go to the Maine Lobster Promotion Council. Buck’s is at 568 Route 1. For more information, call 865-0600.
Congratulations to Jim Raffel, son of the founder of the Arby’s restaurant chain, who is celebrating 30 years in business. His father, Leroy, and uncle, Forrest, opened the first Arby’s (R.B., for Raffel brothers) in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964. Jim and brother Ken opened the first one in Maine in 1979; Jim now operates Arby’s restaurants in Portland, Auburn, Augusta and at the Maine Mall in South Portland.
Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or email@example.com