Portland restaurants are opening, reopening or reinventing themselves this spring

PORTLAND, Maine – Spring is finally taking its toll on the city. Birds whistle and chatter in the trees. Brush-tailed squirrels roam Deering Oaks in search of last year’s hidden nuts.

Tulips and daffodils fill eyeballs everywhere you look, and the breeze takes on a definite whiff of purple lilac, May’s singular scent.

This season, a few new Portland restaurants and some old favorites are also reopening after a rest.

Roll call, in the public market house at 28 Monument Square

Formerly a mobile food cart, this new meal provider is now located on the first floor of the market house near Mr. Tuna. Specializing in foods found between two pieces of bread, Roll Call serves customers Wednesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Among other dishes on the menu, hungry customers can order roast beef au jus on an onion roll with horseradish and mustard for $9 or a Buffalo soy sandwich with soy curd, gorgonzola cheese, salad cabbage and iceberg lettuce for $12.

If you feel like going breadless, try the kale salad with buttermilk ranch-tahini and pepitas.

Browne Trading, 262 Commercial Street.

This waterfront staple has long supplied shoppers in the city with high-end seafood and caviar and now also serves takeout, Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to the Browne Trading Instagram page, they will soon be adding outdoor seating as well.

On the menu right now are fishy delights, including an Asian-inspired tuna tartare with pickled ginger and spiced rice for $18, a smoked salmon BLT with pickled onions over rye for $19, and a squid parfait and edamame with shredded nori and dressing for $15.

They will also be adding daily specials soon, according to her Instagram.

Tandem Coffee Roasters, 122 Anderson St.

This city cafe, famous for its lack of wifi, closed for renovations and for COVID-19 safety some time ago but is about to reopen. Tandem’s other larger location on Congress Street remained open, but with pandemic restrictions.

Dubbed “Little Tandem,” this place’s doors will open big Tuesday and serve people Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Anderson Street location is where Tandem roasts its coffee, and the Congress Street building is where the roasting takes place. Coffee and pastries will be available at both locations. Wi-Fi still not working.

Casa Novello, 694 Main Street, Westbrook

Although not in Portland, this longtime neighborhood Italian restaurant and high school prom destination deserves a mention here.

In April, Casa Novello closed, depressing many locals.

“We are sad to say that the legacy of Casa Novello is over,” the restaurant’s management said on social media. “We appreciate all of your support and will miss you all. We are closed for personnel issues. »

After a wave of love on Facebook, the situation seemed not to be permanent.

“We appreciate all of your feedback. We’ve been trying to find staff for over eight months,” one staff member said. “I’ve called schools, friends, told clients they have everything. tried. We hope for a miracle.

Then, the long-awaited miracle finally happened. Casa Novello has announced its reopening on May 3.

“I can’t thank you all for the overwhelming support and love we’ve received,” management said on social media. We are so looking forward to celebrating with all of you.

Customers are once again enjoying all the Italian-American favorites they’ve been missing, like Chicken Florentine for $26, Four Cheese Lasagna for $20, and Scampi with Shrimp for $27.

Casa Novella is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 4 p.m.

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Sandy A. Greer