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TV Sensation Shannon Bard Changes Gears, Postpones Toroso, Starts Catering Business

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Perpetually busy chef Shannon Bard, co-owner of Portland's Zapoteca and Portsmouth, NH's Mixteca, has replaced one major project with another.

Food Network

Toroso, Shannon Bard's second Portland location and third restaurant overall, was planned for spring 2015 at the corner of High and Congress Street. She confirmed for Eater, though, that that space has fallen through and she and her husband will continue looking for a home for the Spanish-themed eatery. "After time studying in Spain, opening a Spanish restaurant is a must and is definitely in our near future," Bard stressed (The Latin Kitchen has more about that sabattical, along with one that the owners of XYZ Restaurant in Southwest Harbor took to Mexico).

In the meantime, presumably instead of breathing or eating, the two dynamos are launching a catering business later this month (Salud Catering), scheduling her cookbook tour (The Gourmet Mexican Kitchen - Bold Flavors for the Home Chef launches February 17, 2015), overhauling menus at Zapoteca and Mixteca, and preparing for debut of her episode of Food Network's Kitchen Inferno (airing December 10 at 10 p.m. Episode description: "Chef Shannon Bard takes on the Inferno's culinary titans. Will her soy sauce dessert and a dinner made from leftovers convince her to take the money and run, or will she risk it all for a chance to win a hot $25K?").

Read on for more details from an edited email Q&A:

Just heard the Toroso deal may be off. Is that true? If so, what happened?
Unfortunately we were working on the location for over two years and it didn't progress like we had hoped. We had concerns about construction not going as planned so rather than waiting and keeping our fingers crossed that things would work out in a matter of time, we decided to start looking for other locations. After time studying in Spain, opening a Spanish restaurant is a must and is definitely in our near future.

Are you focusing on the two locations you have for now?
As a team, my husband and I can never have too much going on and have chosen to take the lull in development to launch our own catering company (, launching later this month but already with dozens of scheduled events), schedule the cookbook tour (launch date of February 17, 2015), and completely overhaul and update all menus at both Zapoteca and Mixteca. Lots going on but don't count Toroso out of the near future. It will happen...the questions now are just when and where?

We are also busy readying for my debut on the Food Network series Kitchen Inferno (December 10 at 10 p.m.). I can't say just how well I did or didn't do but watch and I just might surprise you.

Zapoteca Restaurant

505 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 772-8242