Opening a restaurant is always a high-stakes gamble. But does previous success lessen the risk? Three notable chef/restaurateurs, each in the process of adding a restaurant to their Portland portfolios, are the subject of a detailed story by Food Editor Meredith Goad in today's Portland Press Herald. Harding Lee Smith confirms that his yet-unnamed fourth "Room" "will be located at 6 Custom House Wharf, the former location of Boone's Restaurant and Harbour's Edge." (See photos above.) He told Goad he hopes to open by late April or early May, after extensive renovations to the building that was infamously cited by the city health inspector this fall for multiple issues.
Smith ... is transforming it into a full-service, mid-scale seafood restaurant with outdoor dining, an oyster bar on the second floor and a fireplace to keep things cozy for the locals in winter ... The lobsters will be steamed over seaweed rather than just boiled, kind of like you would see along the coast on your way to Bar Harbor, Smith said ... I'm trying to bring that experience into Portland, without it being just a shack." Jay Villani's third restaurant, Salvage BBQ, under construction in the former Portland Architectural Salvage building on Congress Street near Hadlock Field, "will have 'a completely different vibe.' than his popular Local 188 and Sonny's.
The barbecue will be sold by the pound and be served with a vinegar-based sauce and lots of Maine craft beer. We're making a trip down to Charlotte in a couple of weeks, a handful of us, and we're going to do a little low-country tour of barbecue, Villani said ... I know I want it to be a Carolina-based barbecue. I'm not looking for a full-on Texas type of thing.Masa Miyake and his partner, William Garfield, are reopening the original, tiny Miyake space on Spring Street as a BYOB called Food Factory Miyake (the name of the restaurant before it was shortened to Miyake).Garfield warns that people who loved the previous Food Factory Miyake should not expect the new incarnation to be a carbon copy of the old place ... we're going to try to carve out another niche in that space — something that Portland has not seen before, but with a Japanese orientation around it.Maine Restaurant Association President Dick Grotton told Goad that while "established restaurateurs" like Smith, Villani, Miyake and David Turin — who just avoided the hassles of finding a location by opening his third restaurant, David's Opus 10, inside his Monument Square restaurant, David's, "have an edge because they already have a big fan base ... but if the food in their new restaurant disappoints, it won't matter who they are." · Multiple Listings For Local Chefs [PPH]