Just when you thought the Portland food scene couldn't get any better, a handful of new restaurants and bars are gearing up for the summer. By mid-June there will be at least a half-dozen new places to try — fine dining, street food, neighborhood spots, and fresh tastes.
Already open a couple weeks, LFK (Longfellow Fellowship of Knights) is at 188 State Street. Owned by Johnny Lomba and John Welliver, the neighborhood bar is a great place to grab a burger or a beer after a show at One Longfellow Square or the State Theatre. Manager Barbara Campanale says the food has a "creative flair," including bacon-wrapped meatloaf and baked beans with pork belly, accompanied by several beers on tap. LFK opens at 4 pm and serves until about midnight. (Coming soon: lunch and outside seating.)
Also opened in May is CARMEN AT THE DANFORTH at 163 Danforth Street. With Puerto Rican native Carmen Gonzalez running the kitchen, the summer menu highlights local seafood, meat, and produce prepared with a Latin twist. Think Dodge Cove oysters from the Damariscotta River, razor clam ceviche, and Luce's Meats pork tenderloin in a fine-dining atmosphere.
Just a few weeks ago SPREAD opened up at 100 Commercial Street (the space formerly occupied by Oolong and Gaucho's Charruscaria). Owned by Jung Hur of Fuji, Spread offers spreadable items such as hummus, smoked trout, and crab and duck confit in addition to small and large plates. Customers can sample small plates (lobster sliders, Wagu beef sliders, fried whole-belly clams) or large plates (Bangs Island mussels, Cornish hen, flatiron steak). The drink list features classic, seasonal and contemporary options, a wine list and a handful of beers on tap.
EVENTIDE OYSTER CO. at 86 Middle Street is expected to open in a few weeks. It's run by the new owners of Hugo's (next door at 88 Middle), general manager Arlin Smith and chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley. (Come see me waiting tables at both places!) The oyster bar will feature options from Maine, New England, and the West Coast as well as chowders, lobster rolls, and desserts. Smith says Hugo's will open Monday nights by July, and will continue former chef/owner Rob Evans's tradition of offering "approachable and affordable" tasting menus.
According to a sign on the building, SEBASTIAN'S AT BOOTHBAY SQUARE at 339 Fore Street, is expected to open soon. The space has been home to several restaurants in the past, including Apsara, Shima, and Siam Grille.
THE WELL AT JORDAN'S FARM in Cape Elizabeth opened for its third season on Saturday. Chef Jason Williams cooks farm fresh foods from his mobile kitchen Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 pm.
MAINELY BURGERS set up a food cart on the boardwalk at Scarborough Beach for the summer. The 19-year-old owners, Ben Berman and Jack Barber, offer hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, salads, and desserts through Labor Day.
In Brunswick, a mother/daughter team (Cecile and Cara Stradler) opened TAO, an Asian restaurant in May. Located at 22 Pleasant Street, the duo serves lunch Wednesday through Friday and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. The flavors are influenced by "upscale versions of Asian street food" and are made with local ingredients.