Dining Dish: New Asian in Portland, and Frosty's ventures to Freeport

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There are a handful of new restaurants, bars and markets opening (or reopening) this summer, just in time to entice tourists and locals alike.

At 865 Forest Ave. in Portland, Venue has reopened as The New Venue with new management and a different menu. The restaurant/club offers lunch and dinner, wood-fired brick-oven specialties, karaoke, DJ’s and live bands, and daily happy-hour specials.

Veranda Asian Market opened recently at 695 Forest Ave., Portland, in what used to be Aubuchon Hardware. The market also offers take-out food from the Veranda Noodle Bar and Veranda Thai restaurants.

The owner of Benkay on India Street in Portland plans to open another restaurant at 653 Congress St. called Kushiya Benkay. The menu will include traditional sushi and Yakitori options. The restaurant is expected to open this month.

A Chinese restaurant called Zen Bistro will occupy the space most recently known as District at 45 Danforth St. in Portland. The owners plan to open later this month.

Melissa Bouchard, executive chef of DiMillo’s on the Water in Portland, will compete in the Great American Seafood Cook Off in New Orleans on Aug. 11. The culinary competition emphasizes the importance of cooking with domestic and sustainable seafood. Bouchard will compete against more than a dozen seafood chefs from across the country, who are encouraged to showcase sustainable fish and shellfish native to their home states.

Timothy Pierre Labonte is the new executive chef at the Portland Harbor Hotel restaurant Eve’s at the Garden. Labonte has created a new lunch, dinner and bar bites menu for Eve’s.

Thanks to chef-owner Jay Villani of Sonny’s restaurant, 83 Exchange St., there is free public WiFi in Portland’s Post Office Park. The new WiFi network is called “Free Public WiFi,” and no password is needed.

In Yarmouth, a new restaurant called Gathering is under construction at 189 Main St. Chad Conley, who has worked at Jean-Georges in New York, Hugo’s in Portland and the Miyake farm in Freeport, will be the executive chef. The casual, family-friendly restaurant is expected to open this fall. 

Brunswick’s iconic Frosty’s Donuts is expanding to Freeport this summer. The second doughnut shop will be at 45 Main St. 

Freeport also has a new wine shop and a coffee shop. The Wine Shack is next to Buck’s Naked BBQ at 554 Route 1; Moses Dyer Coffee is at 12 School St. The coffee shop is owned by Erika and Jeffrey Yingling of Isabella’s Sticky Buns.

Sweet Angel at 136 Pleasant St. in Brunswick offers authentic Thai vegetarian, barbecue and seafood dishes. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and on weekends from noon-9 p.m.

India Taste, at 435 Cottage Road in South Portland has closed, but Thai Taste has expanded into the former Mojo’s coffee space and will add a full bar and sushi bar.

Amy Anderson can be reached at [email protected].