What's Up in the West End
Portland is a collection of neighborhoods, each with their own distinct personality. I live in the West End of the peninsula, sometimes affectionately known as the People's United Liberated Front of the West End because of the high percentage of registered lefties. Case in point: the city councilor for our district is a member of the Green Party. The West End has lots of great residential architecture with funky inhabitants, a slew of mom and pop shops and a view of the Fore River. Here's what's going on in my hood this summer:
New pizza joint
After many moons as Supreme Pizza, the storefront at Brackett and Pine will soon open as Bonobo, a brick oven pizzeria. Let's just say that Supreme did not live up to its name so the idea of a decent pizza spot within walking distance is much welcomed. Word has it that the owners are using fresh and local ingredients. Bonus.>
46 Pine Street
Al Fresca dining
Caiola's has completed renovations to their courtyard patio, with custom woodwork done by the owner. It is simultaneously urban and remote. There is a massive tree that provides a canopy as you eat your paella. Get a reservation now as they were just featured in the June issue of Food and Wine. Keeping my fingers crossed that they will add a weekend brunch for those of us who like our sunny side up eggs with sun.
58 Pine Street
While the Portland Public Library did not win the vote to move into the defunct Portland Public Market, the branches move on. The Reiche branch of the Public Library, located at the Reiche School, just got a much needed face lift with new windows that allow light to pour in, fresh paint, fresh carpet and a new layout. The one thing that has not changed, thank goodness, is provocateur in residence, librarian Michael Whittaker. Whittaker is a transplant from LA (and I don't mean Lewiston/Auburn) who spent his days as a promoter of punk rock bands. He discontinued the library's subscription to National Enquirer and replaced it with Adbusters. He is always threatening to write an autobiography entitled "From High Decibel to Dewey Decimal."
Monday: 9 to 5
Thursday: Noon to 8
Friday: 1 to 5
Putting more play in the playground
The park on Taylor Street has new playground equipment. A plus for the baby boom taking place in this neck of the woods. Also noted: less basketball this summer and much more wiffleball. It's also the pick up spot for those getting their veggies from the Wolf Pine Farm Community Supported Agriculture. CSA shareholders give the farm financial support in advance of the season, and in return the farm provides a weekly share of produce during the growing season.
Taylor Street, between Emery and May
Johnnie Walker, the wit and the whiz of the kitchen at West End Grocer has moved on to the reincarnated Local 188. Local moved from Longfellow Square to up the street and is slated to open soon. Which leaves Longfellow Square, the gateway to the West End, looking a little lonely as Uffa will close at the end of the summer. Uffa head chef James Tranchemontagne is putting his oar in the waters of Westbrook, with plans to open a gastro-pub in the space formerly occupied by Chicky's Fine Diner.
685 Congress Street
Every summer, the city's Parks and Rec division puts on a sunset folk series on the Western Promenade. You get there early with your picnic, catch up with friends and enjoy a brief concert as the sun sets.
|July 18||7:45||Will Gattis|
|July 25||7:45||Lisa Bastoni|
|August 1||7:30||Slaid Cleaves|
|August 8||7:30||Darien Brahms|
|August 15||7:30||Tree By Leaf|
West End eateries to pick up picnic munchables:
"Vaughn Street Variety at 235 Vaughn Street
"West End Grocer at 133 Spring Street
"Aurora Provisions at 64 Pine Street
"Oh No Cafe at 87 Brackett Street.