South Portland is hot this week: SoPo Bar and Grill is in the midst of a soft opening, hoping to breathe life back into the former JP Thornton's space, and a new OTTO pizzeria opened yesterday.
First revealed in March of this year, the city's second OTTO restaurant brings the local chain to double digits. "The  John Roberts Road location is OTTO's 9th location overall (10, if you count our Portland delivery facility), and is one of our roomiest, with 5 picnic tables, and an indoor bocce court," the company announced via its blog.
This location offers all the amenities, including whole pizzas or slices for dine-in, takeout, delivery, and catering. Beer and wine are also available, including a new, exclusive collaboration with Rising Tide Brewing Company that was launched at the East End OTTO on Wednesday night. "Yes, we're serving Autohelm, our brand new collaboration with Rising Tide Brewing Company!" a spokesperson enthused. The hoppy red ale will only be available at OTTO locations and the Rising Tide tasting room in Portland.
Between Chipotle and the new OTTO, upscale chains are starting to chip away at the fast food facade of the neglected Maine Mall region. Could the area see a delicious resurgence? Will indoor bocce strike a chord with chowhounds?
125 John Roberts Road, South Portland, (207) 772-0900, website. Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.