How much will the East Ender space and menu change once the restaurant comes under the ownership of Small Axe Truck chefs/owners Bill Leavy and Karl Deuben? That's the question on people's minds since the announcement that Leavy and Deuben would purchase the East Ender in January 2015. They'll keep the brand, they revealed in the initial announcement, and continue "the commitment to local ingredients and creative, high quality food," but how will those ingredients be arranged after they close down for at least a month for renovations?
A liquor license application filed with the city includes a draft of lunch and dinner menus, suggesting plenty of changes. Portland Food Map tracked down the details, including lunch items such as Smoked Trout Caesar Salad, Local Shellfish Gratin, Vegetarian Pasta al Forno, House Cured BLT, and Grilled Cold Smoked Burger with Stilton/Onion Rings. Dinner has some crossover with lunch, such as the burger, but additions including Braised Lamb Shank with Soft Panelle Fondutta and NY Strip with Creamed Greens/Hash Browns. (More details beginning on page 106 of the agenda.)
Fans of the East Ender may be concerned that their favorites are missing from the line-up, but these are previews that are subject to change. Regardless, Deuben and Leavy have a way of winning converts with their cooking.
Elsewhere in the Old Port, Mark Ohlson, the owner of MJ's Wine Bar, is looking to open a "small basement speakeasy lounge" called Lincolns at 36 Market Street. He and co-owners Stephen Briggs (seven years at Bull Feeney's) and Nathan Drinkwater (ten years at Gritty McDuff's) want to create "an underground, cash only lounge for locals to escape the madness of the Old Port and see quality entertainment." The projected opening is January (see more details on page 85 of the agenda).
The space would be home to Tim Hoffman's Laugh Shack every Thursday, and would host live music on weekends, with a $5 cover for such nights. The $5 price point is a recurring theme in the application; the owners posit that "Lincolns will be a bar that functions on the premise of simplicity. We sell a short list of common, premium beers and alcohols all at $5. We will also offer chili and potato & pasta salad also at the $5 price point." All of the snacks, or "mini-meals," will be served with Fritos. Yum?
Finally, the Full Belly Deli, outer Portland's Jewish deli now located at 1070 Brighton Ave. and operating since 1987, has applied for a beer and wine license (see page 68 of the agenda). The eatery is seeking "new tools to compete with the big chain restaurants." No word if the drinks would be local, but owner David Rosen tugs at the heart strings, concluding, "We are hopeful you will help us keep our family business alive (at least until Abby graduates from USM and Shaylee receives her art degree from MECA) and give the city of Portland the gift of a beer to go with its Full Belly Deli corned beef on rye!" Yes, please.