Open and shut
The rumor mill has been churning speedily over the past few weeks, as several local eateries have closed indefinitely or definitely. Who’s open, and who isn’t? Let’s put some of the gossip to rest. Massimo’s was closed for 10 days while the owners went on vacation; they’re back and open again. Ichiban, after a week or so of questionable scheduling, is back to its regular hours and is not closing (oh, the howls of despair I heard, as people asked whether Bangor’s first sushi place would stay open). Café Nouveau remains indefinitely, though not permanently, closed. The New Moon Café will reopen on March 15 as Luna Bar & Grill, featuring the same fine dining it has offered for close to 10 years, as well as a new pub menu and live music. Any other rumors you’ve heard are just that: rumors. Want to do your part to help local businesses? If you’re on Facebook, join the group “Bangor Lunch Mob,” a collection of Bangor foodies organized by Gibran Graham, who each week, between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. picks a local eatery to “mob” with customers. This week’s selection? Epi Sub Pizza on Main Street.
Chef of the Year
The Maine Restaurant Association named its 2009 Maine Chef of the Year last week. It dubbed Christian Gordon, executive chef of The Inn on Peaks Island, as the finest chef in the Pine Tree State. Gordon is a Maine native, a graduate of the culinary arts program at Southern Maine Community College, and was executive chef at Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in Kennebunk for 10 years before joining the The Inn on Peaks Island. This past Sunday the Maine Restaurant Association kicked off Maine Restaurant Week. More than 30 establishments will offer unique menu items, and several will hold special events, through March 10. For more info, visit www.restaurantweekme.com.
Right on ’cue
Barbecue may have its origins in more Southern climes, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Maine can’t cook up some meaty, saucy, spicy goodness. DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff, the Old Orchard Beach-based BBQ sauce and rub company, picked up some accolades at the 18th annual National Barbecue Association’s Conference and Expo, held Feb. 17-21 in Austin, Texas. DennyMike’s Pixie Dust rub and Chick Magnet rub each won first place in their respective categories for dry rubs and seasonings, while the Sweet ’n’ Spicy barbecue sauce earned fourth place in the tomato mild category for sauces. DennyMike’s sauces and rubs are made in Maine, and feature all-natural ingredients like sea salt, clover honey and Barbados molasses, and are available at locations all over New England. The company, founded by Dennis Michael “DennyMike” Sherman, will release new products this summer, including hot sauce and pickles. Not bad for a bunch of Yankees stomping on down to Texas. For details, visit www.dennymikes.com.