A man walks by the former location of BRGR Bar on Brown Street in Portland in January. The bar, known for its alcoholic milkshakes, was one of more than a dozen Portland eateries which closed in the first year of the ongoing pandemic. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND, Maine — The first year of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was hard on the local foodie scene. With health and safety restrictions in place, and fewer people eating out, more than a dozen local eateries closed their doors for good.

Award-winning restaurants like Drifters Wife and Vinland vanished.

Just two years before, Bon Appetit Magazine had named Portland its 2018 Restaurant City of the Year.

This summer, closings have slowed but not stopped altogether. Lease troubles, the labor shortage and reevaluated priorities were a few reasons operators recently cited.

Here’s a list of five more Portland-area restaurants you can no longer visit.

On Sunday, Other Side Delicatessen announced on social media that it was closing its West End location at the end of the day.

“It has been a pleasure to serve all of you over the last five years and we could not be more grateful for your patronage,” it said in an Instagram post. “Unfortunately our lease negotiations just didn’t work out.”

The deli, located at 235 Vaughan St., served breakfast burritos, pizza, cold sandwiches and gyros.

The post indicated its East Deering location, at 164 Veranda St., would remain open.

Coco Cones, a chicken and waffle stand inside the Public Market House, has also closed. On Aug. 16, owner Casey Jabrawi posted on social media that he was looking for someone to take over the business, which opened in January.

Jabrawi is now directing his full energies to his other business, Paella Seafood on Forest Avenue, according to the Portland Food Map.

West End barbeque takeout joint Figgy’s called it quits in July.

“We’ll miss all the kind and generous folks that we’ve met over the years,” owner Natalie DiBenedetto wrote in an Instagram post. “Sad, yes, but when it’s time, it’s time.”

The hole-in-the-wall establishment, located behind Yordprom Coffee on Congress Street, specialized in chicken.

“It has been a fun, stressful and interesting ride over the last 6-plus years and I have no regrets,” DiBenedetto posted on her website. “It’s just become too darn difficult to make a profit and lead a healthy home and family life.”

Pigeons opened in May and closed a month later. It was owned by Peter and Orenda Hale, who also operate the adjacent Maine & Loire wine shop.

Pigeons was located in the former Drifters Wife space on Washington Avenue. Drifters Wife, which the Hales also owned, closed last year.

“Life is certainly not a straight path but that’s the pain and beauty of it,” the owners posted on social media. “Thank you to the team behind Pigeons who created something truly magical. A team full of talent, professionalism, charm, wit and heart.”

Finally, One Fifty Ate, better known as the 158 Pickett Street Cafe, announced Tuesday that it was closing up shop. The South Portland bagel and sandwich shop was just down the street from Southern Maine Community College and had been open for 20 years.

The owners stated on social media that the closing was due to the combined effects of COVID-19, the labor shortage, increased cost of goods, and a need to refocus on other endeavors.

“We are honored to have served the community, and shared many great times with each and every one of you,” they wrote.

Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that LB Kitchen was closed. It still has a location on Congress Street.

Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.