PORTLAND, Maine — For a decade, the number of breweries, restaurants and upscale bars in the city rocketed upward, along with its reputation as a culinary destination. Two years ago, Bon Appetit magazine even named this foodie burg its Restaurant City of the Year.
But in March, the state’s coronavirus lockdown closed every dining room in Portland. Since restrictions have relaxed, the city’s watering holes have operated under an ever-changing set of capacity and seating rules. It’s been too much for some restaurateurs, and they’ve shut their doors for good.
Here are five more Portland eateries and pubs, on a still-growing list, that haven’t made it through these virus-complicated times.
On Sept. 11, the Cellar Door Winery on Thompson’s Point made an announcement on Facebook. “The Point is conceived and designed to gather large numbers of people,” it said. “Unfortunately… gatherings are not feasible currently or in the near future. So, with fondness, we’ll host our final tastings on Thompson’s Point by reservation on Saturday, September 19.”
The Holy Donut closed its Old Port location on Oct. 19. In a social media statement it wrote, “The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on this location and we have made the decision not to renew our lease.” Potato confection-lovers can still get their donut fix at the Park Avenue and Scarborough locations.
read more on restaurant closures
Likewise, purveyor of southern-fried lunches, Po’ Boys and Pickles’, also shuttered its Old Port location on Federal Street in October. There’s no statement online about its closure but one reviewer recently wrote, “Loved being able to walk here for lunch. Was sad to see the equipment gone when I walked by today.”
Flood’s American restaurant vacated its space at 747 Congress St. at the end of October. Five-star local reviews and mentions in the New York Times and Boston Globe weren’t enough to keep it open. No specific reason was given for the shutdown. Flood’s website now simply shows a picture of a burger and fries with text reading: “We have closed permanently. Thanks for the good times.”
Finally, Ernie’s Pool & Darts on outer Forest Avenue announced it was closing in November. Eernie’s was an institution, standing across from Baxter Woods for more than 25 years. A Facebook post from Nov. 11 read, “All of us at Ernie’s would like to thank all of our loyal patrons for making Ernie’s what it was, a great place to hang and meet new friends. Our motto was ‘The fun never stops’ but 2020 made the fun stop.”
Portland still has a great many restaurants still open for dining in and takeout. The Portland Food Map has a complete list of what is operating.