The Dining Dish: Haiti fundraising continues; Bernie's adds bagels, burritos, breakfast and lunch

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Several Portland restaurants donated percentages of their sales to relief efforts in Haiti in the aftermath of that country’s devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. There are still a couple of events left, including Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Local 188 and its new sibling, Sonny’s.

The waitresses and bartenders at Local, 685 Congress St., and Sonny’s, 83 Exchange St., will donate half of their tips for the day, and chef/owner Jay Villani has agreed to match whatever they raise.

During the month of February, Grace, at 15 Chestnut St., will have a special $25 wine list, with $10 of each bottle sold going to Partners in Health and Yele Haiti. Foreside Tavern, 270 Route 1 in Falmouth, is running the same fundraiser.

The annual Ice Bar at Portland Harbor Hotel is happening this weekend, Jan. 28 through Jan. 30. The ice bar is created in the hotel’s courtyard from 18,000 pounds of ice that will be carved by Earl Morse, chef at the hotel restaurant Eve’s at the Garden. There will be three ice bars, along with heating lamps to keep people warm. Inside, food from The Front Room, The Grill Room and The Corner Room, along with DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff, will be served Thursday and Friday; Eve’s will serve on Saturday. It’s $10 to get in, and funds will go to the Center for Grieving Children, Junior Achievement, Share Our Strength and the American Red Cross.

Verrillo’s, the longtime restaurant and banquet center at the Howard Johnson’s hotel on Riverside Street, has been replaced by Seasons Grille.

If you missed the story in last week’s Southern edition of The Forecaster, Cap’n Newick’s is returning to South Portland. The seafood restaurant plans on opening soon at 200 Gorham Road, the former location of TGI Fridays. No more Cap’n though; the new incarnation is Newick’s Lobster House.

Adam Shapiro, owner of Bernie’s Place at Falmouth Crossing on Route 100 in West Falmouth, is set to take over Mr. Bagel on Route 1 in Falmouth. Shapiro will renovate the space, keeping the bagels and adding “Bernie’s Burritos.” An attached space will become Bernie’s Foreside Breakfast & Lunch, with full table service for about 70 diners.

The Inn on Peaks Island is continuing its last-Sunday-of-the-month brunch. This Sunday, Jan. 31, brunch starts at 11 a.m. and Eastwave Radio performs.

Vignola at 10 Dana St., is offering a Sunday special as well. Family-style dinners featuring antipasti, a main course, a cheese course and dessert cost $25 per person. Traditional Italian dishes and specials from chef Lee Skawinski are on the menu.

Hugo’s and Duckfat chef/owner Rob Evans cooked for Martha Stewart on her TV show Jan. 22. While there, he was nice enough to mention some of his favorite locally produced food and drink. Martha, in return, printed the list on her Web site, Coffee By Design, Maine Beer Co., Maine Mead Works, Sweet Marguerites, Morse’s Sauerkraut, Raye’s Mustard, Tibbetts Mushroom Co. and Wood Prairie Farm were among those mentioned.

Hugo’s also has a “cabin-fever” menu designed to keep diners from hibernating: Three courses, $30 per person, Tuesdays through Thursdays at the Middle Street restaurant.

The third season of Foodfilms begins Feb. 14 with a screening of the movie “Chocolat,” with food from Aurora Provisions and Dean’s Sweets. The movie, made in 2000, stars Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. The event takes place at One Longfellow Square, for tickets and more information go to

Maine Restaurant Week is coming in March. More than 80 restaurants are signed up to take part in the event, designed to get people out and eating in restaurants during what is traditionally a slow time for business. Participating restaurants will offer three-course, prix fixe dinners for either $20.10, $30.10 or $40.10. The official list of participating eateries comes out next week. For more information, go to

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Kate Bucklin covers Portland City Hall for The Forecaster. You can reach her at 781-3661 ext. 106 or You can also follow Kate @katebucklin on Twitter.