Last year, Eater Maine rounded up readers' responses to the question, "What closed restaurant do you miss most?" Usually a map would result from the answers, but since these lamented lost restaurants now exist only in marinara-stained memories and on faded matchbook covers, a map didn't really work.
This year, for a special Classics Week Happy Hour, the list has been updated to include reader suggestions that didn't make the last edition, as well as some once enduring classics that have since, sadly, gone under.
Some of these places, denoted with "original," actually exist in another form now. Granny's Burritos is one example: the quirky Portland shop closed its Fore Street space years ago and eventually reopened on the second floor of the Portland Public Market in Monument Square. A reader described the original location as "Simple, good, good music, inexpensive." Many of those things may still be true, but Granny's shares space with other eateries now so it doesn't have as much control over aspects like decor or music.
The recent closure of Full Belly Deli was one that hit locals hard. Facebook commenters called the loss of the only Jewish delicatessen in Portland "heartbreaking" and "a big loss for Portland." One reader scolded, "Sadly, with such great food in this state, the people don't truly appreciate a proper and good deli. heartbreaking being from NJ. pretty much the only tarnish on the shine of this great state!! (an 'italian' is an embarrassment to the institution of sandwiches) [sic]."
The owners of Urban Sugar Mobile Cafe eulogized on Twitter, "This was the only Deli in town! We're crushed," while Salvage BBQ bid Full Belly a fond "good by [sic] ol' friend... #BestReubenInTown". Another common response was "NOOOOO!" (with varying numbers of exclamation points).
Carbur's, on Middle Street in Portland, was mentioned by several readers the first time around. The huge "Down East Feast" sandwich is recalled fondly, as is the book-like menu and fun atmosphere. The restaurant, which also had locations in Vermont, New York and Massachusetts (wait, Portlanders didn't always despise chains?) was a popular spot in the 1980s.
The Village Cafe, the large red-sauce Italian joint on Newbury Street in Portland that shuttered several years back after decades in business, also got a lot of love from readers last year. Here's what a couple of them wrote:
"It had an atmosphere all its own — kind of campy old world. They'd bring a basket of their Italian bread when you sat down. I'd always eat too much of it before my entree came! What I miss the most is their lasagna - mmmmmm! And the seafood chowder, too. My husband usually got the veal or chicken Parmesan or the fried clams."
"I still miss The Village Cafe that was on Newbury street in Portland. One reason is because our family ate there quite often. I can remember going there when I was about 7 or 8. I am now 53, so I have many fond memories of gathering there. The second reason is because the variety and quality were so good. I really miss their lasagna, and they had delicious salads. The prices were reasonable for the portions that were served. It was a comfortable place for people of all ages. I have yet to find a replacement that fits the bill like the Village did. I still mourn the loss!"
And here are the other places that are missed (formerly in Portland unless otherwise noted):
- Valle's Steak House
- The Roma Cafe
- F. Parker Reidy's
- The Boot and Buckle
- Ruby's Choice
- original The Lost Kitchen (Belfast)
- The Kitchen (Brunswick)
- original Gothic Cafe (Belfast)
- Periwinkle's Cafe & Bakery (Searsport)
- Sweets & Meats Market (Rockland)
- Second Read Cafe & Books (Rockland)
- Oriental Table
- Hu Shang I and II
- original Walter's
- The Brattle
- Uncle Billy's BBQ (South Portland)
- Bill's Pizza (Yarmouth)
- The Local
- Tumbleweeds (Northport)
- original Snow Squall (South Portland)
- The Green Grocer
- Back Street Bistro (Brunswick)
- Cambridge Coffee (South Portland)
- Graziano's (Lisbon)
- Vinny T's of Boston (South Portland)
- Cotton Street Tropical Bar and Grill
- original Bramhall
- Pepperclub / Good Egg Cafe
- original East Ender
- Full Belly Deli
- Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro
- Vincenza's Italian Bakery (Saco)
- House of Jerky (just kidding, no one will miss this)
- JP Thornton's (South Portland)
- The Salt Exchange
- Fromviandoux (Camden)
- Down Home Cookin'
- original Granny's Burritos
- Schooner Fare (Rockland)
- Blue Mango Cafe
- Henry VIII
- Swan Dive
- Bar Lola