Portland's Gorgeous Gelato, 3 returning vendors get Fort Williams licenses
CAPE ELIZABETH — Al fresco snacks and meals will again be a part of summer at Fort Williams Park after Town Manager Michael McGovern approved license applications from four vendors on Wednesday.
The second year of the program allowing food sales at the park features some tweaks, and could increase town revenue used for park maintenance, McGovern said.
The number of available licenses was reduced by one, to four, and a site at Cove Beach was added. Partial licenses, granted in 2010 from May 1 to Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, have been eliminated this year.
McGovern said this year's license are effective from May 1 to Oct. 31, but vendors will be allowed to set up in April. Site placements for the vendors were still under consideration Wednesday, McGovern said.
The lineup of vendors includes three returning businesses: Frank's Franks, operated by South Portland residents Frank and Debbie Marston, the Atlantic Cookie Co., operated by Carl Dittrich, and Bite into Maine, operated by Karl and Sarah Sutton of South Portland.
The newcomer this year is Portland-based Gorgeous Gelato Co. Owners Donato Giovine and Mariagrazia Zanardi are Cape Elizabeth residents looking forward to a way of expanding their customer base, Giovine said.
The applicants bid a minimum of $4,000 for three sites near Portland Head Light and across the road from Channel Overlook, the bluff popular with kite fliers, adjacent to the Cliff Walk.
The new site by the beach required a minimum bid of $2,500.
McGovern said the town received more than $10,000 in revenue last year from the vendor licenses and hopes to raise more than $14,000 this year.
The Channel Overlook site was shifted across the park entrance road from its 2011 location. The vendor receiving the license for Cove Beach will be required to sell ice cream and beverages.
Giovine said he opened his Portland business on Fore Street about a week before Christmas in 2010, giving him plenty of time to create a smooth operation before the spring and summer tourist seasons. He said he is importing a cart from Italy to sell gelato at Fort Williams, and prefers to be closer to Portland Head Light because it has more foot traffic than Cove Beach.
Frank Marston said he and his wife reapplied for the site just south of the lighthouse because last summer's sales lived up to his expectations and the work was enjoyable.
"We had a great summer serving the public," Marston said. He was allowed to stay on past the Aug. 31 expiration date of his license last year because the owners of Dory's Dogs were unable to to open as planned.
The key to success will still be sun and warmth, Marston said, adding plans to stay open until Oct. 31 are contingent on autumn weather. He said he is also expanding his menu to include ice cream and will continue to give away Frisbees with his meal deal of hot dogs, chips and soda.
Giovine said he is optimistic the vending license will boost his bottom line and make visitors aware he is open in Portland, too.
The license is also less expensive than opening a new fixed location, he added.
"We think it will be a very good response," he said.