The Wrap: Crispy Gai and Strata Open Into Bigger Spaces



Crispy Gai, which operates from the Public Market House in Portland, will open in its new location on Wednesday, June 30.

Gay Crispy Fried Chicken, now available at 90 Exchange St. in Portland. Photo by Ray Routhier

The restaurant – which sells take-out Thai-spiced fried chicken, Thai-inspired chicken sandwiches and salads – has moved to 90 Exchange St., the former home of Waters. Jordan Rubin, co-owner of the business with Cyle Reynolds, said Crispy Gai will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday to begin. Eventually, they plan to add lunch and night hours.

Rubin also owns the popular Mr. Tuna Sushi Bar in the Public Market House.

The knife store is moving a little bit

Strata, the culinary knife store on Washington Avenue in Portland, has opened in its new and expanded location.

Owner Evan Atwell moved Strata from its original location into one of the pocket-sized shipping containers used by budding entrepreneurs to start small businesses, in a nearby storefront at 67 Washington Ave., the old Nissan bakery building. The new location features an impressive display of knives on a wall.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. The store is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Presto changes

When Peter and Orenda Hale made a surprise announcement earlier this month that they would be closing their new Portland restaurant, Pigeons, at 59 Washington Ave., they said they would use the space instead to expand Maine. & Loire, their adjacent wine store. The boutique / wine bar reopened this week with the new layout, and on Wednesday June 30 the Hales will host their first tasting in 17 months. The tasting, which offers French picnic wines and takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., is free.

Normal summer hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In their announcement, the Hales said they plan to keep things simple by offering a small list of pourable glasses, draft and bottled beer, and vermouth on ice.

Bam Bam, one of these days

I’ve received a few emails from readers wondering when Bam Bam, a gluten-free bakery in Portland, will be back. Owner Tina Cromwell closed the Commercial Street bakery last year, with plans to open in a larger space in East Bayside this spring. Cromwell recently told me that the East Bayside location went down. She has her eye on another location but didn’t want to divulge it just yet.

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Morse Sauerkraut in Waldoboro has closed its small restaurant during the pandemic, and it seems unlikely it will reopen anytime soon – at least not in the same form.

Chef and co-owner Cody LaMontagne told me that she is not yet ready to discuss her new plans as they are still far away. Meanwhile, if you’re craving, say, a pastrami and rye swiss (with kraut, of course), the popular Maine store still sells take-out sandwiches and ready meals, as well. than a wide selection of European groceries, cheese and cold meats, to take away. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

New Tiqa team

Tiqa, at 327 Commercial St. in Portland, has a new kitchen team: Emil Rivera, formerly of Sur Lie, is executive chef; Siddharta Rumma is a chef; and Seth Pelletier is sous chef. Look for the restaurant’s new summer menu on

Raise a drink to Hayley

Hayley Wilson, bartender at the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, was named to Punch magazine’s Bartender-in-Residence class in 2021, a designation that honors bartenders seen as a force in the future of the industry. In an article on Wilson, Briana Volk, co-owner of Hunt & Alpine, is quoted describing Wilson’s style as “pulling classics but adding a sort of punk-meets-tropical edge”.

In a question-and-answer session, Wilson said the best drink she’s ever had was a turmeric-mezcal cocktail with golden beet juice, lemon and cardamom bitters.

The article includes links to three of Wilson’s recipes – for Blueberry Spritz; Coppertone, made from coconut gin and Aperol; and Stars & Satellites, a nightcap.

Left to right: Dylan Winslow, Gil Stewart and Takuma Suzuki Steinberger at their new yakisoba stand in Rockland. Photo by Glen Birbeck

Follow in mom’s footsteps?

Just think of it as the hipster version of a lemonade stand. Three 14-year-olds opened a yakisoba stand behind Sushi Bar Suzuki at 419 Main Street in Rockland to earn money for college.

Dylan Winslow, Gil Stewart and Takuma Suzuki Steinberger – who will be freshmen at Oceanside High School in the fall – have obtained permission from Rockland City Council to sell Japanese street food in the small park behind the sushi bar, owned by Steinberger’s mother, Keiko Suzuki Steinberger. They will sell their version of yakisoba – noodles cooked on a griddle with pork or tofu, cabbage, onions, bean sprouts and carrots – to patrons who relax at the park’s picnic tables in the evenings. weekend. The dishes will cost $ 10. Iced green tea and freshly squeezed lemonade will also be on the menu.

Stewart, who hopes to someday own his own business, is the group treasurer and Winslow is the “team captain”. Steinberger has been studying Japanese cuisine for years, with his mother’s help, and visiting family in Sendai, Japan.

The food stand will open at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this summer. Access is from the parking lot on the water side of Main Street.

Persian nights

Louisa Shafia, author of “The New Persian Kitchen” (Ten Speed ​​Press, $ 24.99), will be giving two hands-on cooking classes this August to Nina June in Rockport.

Shafia will talk about Iranian cuisine and show participants how to prepare one of the country’s most famous dishes: tahdig, the crispy rice in the bottom of the pot. The class will prepare a table full of dishes in Nina June’s large open kitchen, then sit down with Shafia to eat in the dining room. Copies of Shafia’s book will be available, along with her Persian Spice Set, consisting of 11 essential spices for Iranian cuisine. Classes will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on August 15 and 16.

Shafia will also be the guest chef for dinner, One Night in Persia, at Nina June on August 18. To reserve a table or a seat in the cooking class, visit The cooking class costs $ 250 per person and dinner is $ 150 per person.

Help with hiring

Hospitality Maine handed out $ 23,000 in grants this month to help restaurants and inns hire staff during this season of worker shortages. Forty-six companies were randomly selected from participants in the Great Maine Comeback and ReUp ME campaigns that the association developed with O’Maine Studios last year to help struggling hotel businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. Each grant is $ 500.

Help the hungry

The St. Hildegard’s Pantry Recipe Challenge has started accepting recipes for this year’s competition.

The challenge, sponsored by the parish social ministry of Catholic Charities Maine, supports parish pantries, soup kitchens and other food-based ministries. Winners receive a cash donation for their ward food programs.

This year’s challenge is based on the Food Network show “Chopped”. The theme is Food Box + 1. What does this mean? To create a recipe, participants can only use ingredients that would be in a pantry for a family of four: cereals, crackers, powdered milk, canned soup, dried fruit, nuts, chickpeas, beans. , instant potatoes, bread, canned vegetables, canned fruit, pork, chicken, beef, whole milk, butter, yogurt, sour cream, fresh seasonal vegetables and staple fruits. (Presumably, that means no kiwi or star fruit.) An additional ingredient is allowed, but it must be something that is available at a local pantry. Recipes should be main dishes or side dishes, and will be judged on nutritional value and ease of cooking.

Registrations will be accepted until August 22 and the winners will be announced on September 17, the feast day of Sainte-Hildegarde. Email recipes to [email protected] with “Recipe Contest” in the subject line, or mail them to Recipe Contest, Catholic Charities Maine, PO Box 10660, Portland, ME 04104.

The Deering Center community church pantry needs restocking. Items needed include peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, baked beans, cereal, juice, tuna, and snacks. No canned vegetables, please. Pastor Don Drake tells me they use peanut butter and jelly to make sandwiches for the homeless. Call (207) 773-2423 or email [email protected] with all questions.

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