Portland's Gorgeous Gelato, 3 returning vendors get Fort Williams licenses

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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.

David Harry can be reached at 781 – 3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net.

Sidebar Elements

Fort Williams plan, fee suggestions to be scrutinized

CAPE ELIZABETH — With vendor licenses set for 2011, additional changes to operations and the landscape at Fort Williams will be the subject of a public hearing at 7 p.m., Feb. 13, at Town Hall.

Recommendations for the Fort Williams Master Plan drafted by the seven-member Fort Williams Advisory Commission and Town Manager Michael McGovern include adding a vehicle turn-around area as part of the expansion of the Ship Cove parking area; improvements to the picnic area at Ship Cove, and safety improvements to Cliff Walk.

The recommendations are based in part on feedback gained from a survey of park users in the summer of 2011, McGovern said. The prioritized list of recommendations and full master plan text can be downloaded from the town website.

Town councilors will renew discussions on user fees for commercial tour bus and streetcar operators in a 7 p.m. council workshop Monday, Feb. 6. Councilors rejected the idea before the 2011 tourist season, then approved assessing fees for 2012 last fall.

— David Harry

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.