PORTLAND, Maine — In 2018, Bon Appetit magazine named Maine’s largest burg Restaurant City of the Year. Two trips around the sun later, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic shuttered every restaurant dining room in town. Now, as Portland’s eateries reopen, with socially distanced tables and copious outdoor seating, the foodie casualty tally is becoming clear.
Here are five restaurants, on a still-growing list of greater Portland watering holes, that didn’t make it through these virus-complicated times.
• On May 20, LB Kitchen announced the permanent closure of its West End location on York Street. “Until there’s a vaccine, we aren’t safe to share space and we’re not taking any unnecessary risks,” the management said. Currently, LB Kitchen is offering takeout from its Congress Street venue, seven days a week.
• The bad news is, Congress Street’s Wild Burrito rolled up the rug in May. The good news is, the brand new Sal de la Tierra has already taken its place. Bonus: It also serves burritos.
• The Cider House on Brackett Street took to Instagram, explaining its tough decision to close for good on June 17: “Operating a little bar business is a risky endeavor even in the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic.”
• Renowned East End restaurant Drifters Wife told the world it wouldn’t reopen in July. “After five years in business, as of last fall, we were finally debt free,” the owners said. “Now, just months into the Covid pandemic, that is no longer the case. We need to adapt to what is happening in the world right now.”
• Locavore haven Vinland, on Congress Street, just announced its permanent closure last week. Owner and chef David Levi said, “There will be more Vinland meals. Just not at Vinland, and not six nights a week. If we’ve entered the Brigadoon stage, I promise, we’ll show up a little more often than once a century.” The space is now for lease at $2,782 per month.
It’s not all gloom and doom, for sure. To find out what Portland restaurants are still open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout, visit the Portland Food Map.