Yellow Door Taqueria, a Boston Cali-Mex restaurant, will be coming to Kennebunkport March 5 and 6. Courtesy of Yellow Door Taqueria

You’ve heard of recording artists doing residencies in Las Vegas. (This year, the list includes Usher, Sting, Cher and Barry Manilow. Sting? I’m booking my ticket now.) Here’s the restaurant version: Yellow Door Taqueria, a cult favorite Cali-Mex restaurant in Boston, will be doing a weekend-long residency March 5 and 6 at The Burleigh Restaurant at the Kennebunkport Inn.

The menu, available for both dine-in (including outdoor dining in igloos) and takeout, will include some of the restaurant’s more popular seasonal items and tacos, which were voted “Best Taco” in 2019 by Boston Magazine. An important addition: a Maine lobster taco. Executive chef Cara Marie Nance will be cooking. Wash it all down (and warm up) with a selection of  margaritas. Dinner service will run from 4 to 10 p.m., with the restaurant closing at 11 p.m. Reservations are through Open Table.

Yellow Door Taqueria is owned by Brian O’Donnell, Jarek Mountain (who, apparently, has a sister who lives in Kennebunkport) and Ken Casey, frontman for the Dropkick Murphys.

MORE TACOS? Si, POR FAVOR

Athena’s Cantina in Freeport is to hold a free “take and taste” tasting event Saturday, and launch Taco Tuesdays in March. Kerry Michaels

Athena’s Cantina, a Mexican-Latin restaurant at 491 U.S. Route 1 in Freeport, will celebrate its first anniversary Saturday with a free “take and taste” event from noon to 3 p.m.

Customers choose among dishes from a special menu – including corn salad, Cuban meatballs, rib tacos, veggie tacos and a Mexican dessert called Carlota de limon – and small tastes of the items will be packed for them to take home. Only five people will be allowed inside the restaurant at a time.

Spartan Sea Farms, a new Freeport oyster farm, also will be on-site selling oysters “with Latin flair.”

Next week the restaurant – owned by Adam De Los Reyes and Tais Szpanderfer and named after their daughter – will resume offering its take-and-bake options online. The entire takeout menu will be available once again on March 9 (with take-and-bake still available), Szpanderfer said, and the restaurant will reopen on March 16 for dine-in Taco Tuesdays, featuring 10 varieties of tacos.

Szpanderfer said customer feedback from Saturday’s event will help shape the restaurant’s menu when takeout and dine-in service resumes in March.

BYE BYE BILL’S, HELLO HOLY DONUT

Late-night Old Port revelers – what’s left of them – will have to go elsewhere to satisfy their after-midnight pizza cravings: Bill’s Pizza is closing.

Over the weekend, the pizza joint, at 177 Commercial St., announced on social media that its last day in business will be Sunday. (The Old Orchard Beach location remains open.) But by Monday night, another business had already claimed the real estate – The Holy Donut, which has been searching for a larger location in the Old Port since closing its tiny shop on Exchange Street in October.

Bill’s Pizza, known for its 17-inch jumbo pies, has long been a favorite of tourists and locals. It’s also been a popular late-night stop for bar patrons in the Old Port looking to soak up the night’s beer with carbs in the form of a slice or two. For years, it was one of the only late-night spots in town to grab a bite, staying open until 2 a.m. In addition to pizza, Bill’s serves fries, chicken fingers and chili.

CHEEVITDEE CLOSES PERMANENTLY

Cheevitdee, the Thai restaurant at 363 Fore St., announced on Instagram Monday that it is closing permanently at the end of the month.

“Since Covid has emerged, our restaurant has been through a lot of difficult times operating the business,” the message read. “It is our regret to inform you that we will be closing our doors permanently at the end of February.”

The owners could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But fans of the restaurant may have a little hope to hang onto: The goodbye message ended with “The spirit of Cheevitdee lives on. Details in the near future.”

CRISPY GAI GETS ITS OWN HOME

Crispy Gai, the Thai fried chicken takeout business that has been operating out of the Public Market House in Portland’s Monument Square, plans to move to 90 Exchange St., the former home of Eaux. The owners of Crispy Gai, Jordan Rubin and Cyle Reynolds, announced the move on social media Monday.

TABLE TALK

Sam Sifton of the New York Times Brendan McCarthy

Eavesdrop on a conversation between two restaurant critics – one from Maine, one from New York City – at an April 6 Portland Press Herald event, one in the paper’s Maine Voices Live series. Portland Press Herald restaurant reviewer Andrew Ross will be talking with Sam Sifton, the founding editor of NYT Cooking and former chief restaurant critic for the New York Times. The free virtual conversation begins at 7 p.m.

Maine Voices Live features in-depth, one-on-one conversations between Press Herald writers and notable Mainers. The online audience will have the opportunity to ask Sifton their own questions. The Sifton interview was originally scheduled for last March, but then the pandemic hit. Register at pressherald.com/events.

One of the last Oakhurst horse-drawn delivery wagons, circa 1930. Courtesy of Oakhurst Dairy

GOT MILK TO GO WITH THAT BIRTHDAY CAKE?

Oakhurst Dairy is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, and the company is planning a lot of special events to mark the occasion, including an “Oakie kids challenge” that will ask children to do “100 Acts of Kindness, Goodness, and Maineness” throughout the year.

Oakhurst door-to-door delivery truck, circa 1945. Courtesy of Oakhurst Dairy

When the dairy opened for business in Portland in 1921, it delivered milk in glass bottles transported by horse-drawn wagons. Today, Oakhurst processes about a half-million gallons of milk every week, and its reach has extended to New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.

The company is perhaps most widely known for being the first to label its milk free of artificial growth hormones. Agribusiness giant Monsanto sued Oakhurst over the labels in 2003, alleging that the Maine company misled consumers into thinking something was wrong with milk from cows treated with the hormone. Oakhurst prevailed, and the labeling practice spread throughout the dairy industry.

ON THE MOVE

Arcadia National Bar, at 24 Preble St. in Portland, which has been closed for nearly a year because of the pandemic, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so it can move into the former Port City Music Hall, at 504 Congress St.

Owner David Aceto said he believes “this is the way to keep Arcadia going in a pandemic and come out the other side.” As of Tuesday morning, he had raised just over $54,000, well over his $42,069 goal. Some of the money, according to Aceto, will be used to expand the arcade to three times as many games, as well as hold performances, art shows and parties.

2021 TASTEMAKERS ANNOUNCED

Six Maine food companies have been named 2021 Tastemakers, a four-year-old program developed by Coastal Enterprises Inc. and FocusMaine to support the growth of Maine’s food economy.

The businesses are: Bristol Seafood in Portland; Luke’s Lobster in Saco and Portland; Good to Go in Kittery; Maine Crisp Co. in Winslow; Ocean’s Balance in Biddeford; and Windham Butcher Shop.

Each business has been awarded $20,000 to increase production capacity with “shovel-ready” projects that directly support Maine agriculture, aquaculture or fisheries, according to the announcement. The recipients also will receive consulting and networking opportunities.

THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE …

Maine Squeeze Juice Café, in Portland’s Old Port, has changed its name, but the location at 5½ Moulton St. is still under the same ownership and has a similar menu.

Going forward, Maine Squeeze, which sells smoothies, bowls and avocado toast, will be The Juicery. The company is rebranding in order to unite all its locations: The Juicery also has shops in Kittery; Portsmouth, Durham and the Pease Tradeport industrial park in New Hampshire; and Boston, Salem and Newburyport, in Massachusetts.

OTTO’S GOT A LOT OF DOUGH

Homemade pizza will probably go down in history, along with sourdough bread, as one of the most popular foods of the pandemic. Otto pizza dough is now being sold in Whole Foods Markets in New England, New York and New Jersey.

BLUEBERRY WINE SYMPOSIUM

Bluet, the maker of wild Maine blueberry sparkling wine, will be a key participant in the first symposium on the future of wild blueberry wine from noon to 2 p.m. Friday. The Zoom webinar is free; register at bit.ly/3bwsjB2.

The symposium, called “Next Steps in Building a Wild Blue Wine Industry,” will feature winemakers, growers, distributors and researchers. Speakers include Michael Terrien, founder of Bluet; Joe Appel, winemaker at RAS wines and former Press Herald wine columnist; Rob Tod and Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing Co.; Jeremy Howard of Brodis Blueberries in Hope; Tabitha Perry of Crush Distributors in Yarmouth; and Mary Ellen Camire, a researcher in the School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine.

THIS NEWS IS A LITTLE SAPPY

Here’s a welcome sign of spring: The dates for the 38th annual Maine Maple Sunday weekend have been set for March 27 and 28, just over a month from now.

Last year, because of the pandemic, the Maine Maple Producers Association postponed the popular event until Oct. 9-11, with maple producers hosting both online and a few limited on-farm activities, following federal CDC guidelines. It was the first time in 37 years the spring event had been canceled. Sugar shacks will be open again this year, according to Scott Dunn, president of the association.

“Since each sugar house is unique in size and capacity, producers are adjusting their hours and purchase options, including curbside pick-up and online ordering,” Dunn said in a statement. “It is important for visitors to plan ahead by checking mainemapleproducers.com or calling your local producers about their plans for the event.”

In addition to buying syrup on Maine Maple Sunday weekend, visitors normally partake in pancake breakfasts, maple doughnuts and farm tours.

Maine has 450 licensed maple producers who make more than 575,000 gallons of syrup annually, making it the third largest producer in the country after Vermont and New York. The maple syrup industry generates $27 million a year for the Maine economy and employs more than 560 people, according to the Maine Maple Producers Association.

GRANTS FOR RESTAURANTS

Attention local restaurants who use Uber Eats as a delivery service: This is the last week to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 that can be used for payroll, outdoor dining setups, personal protective equipment, and other needs during the pandemic.

Uber recently announced $4.5 million in small business grants for local restaurants that use its delivery service. (You may have seen the Wayne’s World commercial about the program featuring Wayne and Garth, two former Saturday Night Live characters.) Sunday is the last day to submit an application for one of the grants.

For more information on the grant program, go to eatlocaleffort.com, or to apply go to bit.ly/37Hlc7z

VOTE EARLY AND OFTEN

The website Favorite Chef has invited chefs to compete in an online competition to be named the world’s favorite chef, and a Maine chef is currently vying for a spot in the top 15.

Dannielle Allen, executive chef and general manager at The Duck Pub & Restaurant in Topsham, is holding her own in the competition, which will award the winner $50,000 and a sponsored double-page spread in Bon Appetit magazine.

Vote for Allen here: favchef.com/2021/dannielle-allen. Everyone gets one free vote, and you can buy extra votes for $1 each, with a portion of the proceeds going to the anti-hunger nonprofit Feeding America.


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