This winter has been long, cold and snowy, but it's also seen some exciting new restaurant openings in Portland, like Central Provisions, Vinland and Miyake Diner. There are many more restaurants and bars in the works in 2014. To whet your appetite, here are some of the most exciting upcoming Portland openings that we'll be obsessively tracking over the next few months:
25 Preble Street
Projected Opening: mid May
The collaboration between former Micucci baker/Sicilian Slab architect Stephen Lanzalotta and Nosh owner Jason Loring will occupy the long-vacant Scales space in the old Portland Public Market building. Sicilian street food will be the focus, with seating for 70 planned inside, plus a large, outdoor beer garden open in the warmer months.
Unnamed (Cara Stadler's dumpling house [now known to be called BaoBao Dumpling House)
133 Spring Street
Projected Opening: May-ish?
Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick is putting a dumpling spot in the former West End Deli location. She tells the Booze, Fish & Coffee guys that the building needs work and the actual opening date will depend on construction time. Lunch, dinner and late-night "steamed, fried and boiled dumplings" will be the focus.
Unnamed (new restaurant from Bar Lola owners)
90 Congress Street
Projected Opening: March
Guy and Stella Hernandez closed Bar Lola last November and moved their Hilltop Coffee into its former space. Their new restaurant will take over the former coffee shop spot. According to Portland Food Map, the open kitchen restaurant will be "anchored by a custom-made, wood-fired grill."
106 Exchange Street
Projected Opening: April 1, 2014
This Old Port steakhouse and rotisserie from North Point co-owner Noah Talmatch will take over the former Oriental Table spot. It will serve three meals a day and seat around 70. Along with a "focus on delicious aged steaks and chops," there will be a piano and fine bourbons.
254 Commercial Street
Projected Opening: Spring?
Owners Justin O'Connor and Rick Binet haven't revealed much in the way of details for their 78-seat restaurant/pub planned for Merrill's Wharf, but construction appears to be well underway. Expect high-end pub food and a great beer menu.