February has been a real bummer for foodies and wine lovers in Bangor. On Saturday, Feb. 21, Giacomo’s, the popular Italian grocery and lunch spot at the corner of Main and Central streets in downtown Bangor, closed its doors. Owner Milva Smith cited setbacks regarding the proposed remodeling of the store, as well as some personal factors, as the reasons for the closing. “It’s heartbreaking for a lot of reasons,” said Smith. “Our desire to remodel the store ended up being the thing that made it so we couldn’t do it anymore. There were really a number of different issues, though, which made it no longer viable for us to continue on. We really appreciate the support we got from the community, though, and we still consider it a success.” Giacomo’s sold imported Italian meats, cheeses and grocery items, wine and beer, and offered a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, pastries and coffee — the latter of which, roasted by Maine-based Coffee By Design, I can personally attest to as being among the best available in town. Smith and her husband, lawyer Stephen Smith, are re-evaluating their options before making a decision as to where to go next. “I want to leave all possibilities open. We had built up a great following, and we may want to try again at a later date,” said Smith. Along with the recent closing of nightspots The Red Martini and Christopher’s, one worries what other Bangor businesses will become victims of the chilly economic climate, both locally and nationally.
Maine Restaurant Week, which kicks off Sunday, March 1, has added a number of eateries to the list of businesses participating in the celebration of Maine foods. Bangor’s Thistles Restaurant, Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro in Ellsworth and Lily Bistro in Rockland have joined more than 50 other restaurants across the state in offering affordable prix-fixe menus between March 1 and March 10, highlighting the best of Maine dining. Call participating establishments to get more details on what’s for dinner. At 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn in Camden will host Tilar Mazzeo, author of “The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It,” and will offer varieties of Veuve Clicquot, paired with Maine cheeses and canapes. For more information, visit www.restaurantsweekme.com.
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