After a winter and spring fueled by a pandemic of fast-flowing vegan food news, the rapid pace of herbal announcements continues this summer in Maine.
Speaking of fast flow, a plumbing explosion occurred inside the all-vegan Robin’s Table in Biddeford on July 22. The restaurant was closed when this happened and it will not reopen.
âI’m so sad and yes, angry,â owner Robin Adams said after the incident. âBut I’m going to get past that. Right now, I’ll take a step back, breathe and smile knowing that Robin’s Table has been successful and enjoyed. As for the future? No idea.”
Robin’s Table opened in March 2020, just before the pandemic lockdown began, and the restaurant was then closed for more than a year. His fate remained uncertain until the end of April, when Adams reopened. This summer, like many restaurants, Robin’s Table struggled to find enough staff, which limited hours.
âIronically, my last day on the job was my best day on the job,â Adams said. âI finally felt like it was going to happen. People have found us. I had reservations, cake orders, and standing orders with two large companies for monthly orders. I was at the restaurant on Thursday to do my prep, and the plumbing literally blew up because of a problem in the building behind me.
Adams said a worker was trying to clear a clogged pipe in the adjacent building, which resulted in sewage inside his once-clean restaurant. If she were to find another location, Adams said she was unsure âif I could afford to go through the processâ of opening the restaurant for the third time.
There is no denying that the closure is a loss for the local vegan community. I wish him good luck.
The other vegan news for this summer are more rosy. On the one hand, in mid-July, the Fred’s Fried Dough food cart finally returned to the Old Port night scene for the first time since 2019. New to the cart this year is vegan ice cream on top of that. vegan fried dough. The cart displays its location details to @fredsfrieddough on Facebook and Twitter, and @fredsfried _dough on Instagram.
Last month, we learned that the All-Vegan Peace Ridge Sanctuary is planning to open a 640-acre horse shelter in Freedom. The shrine is to raise $ 650,000 to build a stable and other necessary facilities. Right now, an anonymous donor matches all donations, and if the shrine can raise $ 50,000 by October, it can start before winter. Until the stable is built, demands to take abused and neglected horses accumulate at Brooks Sanctuary, with no space in existing barns to house large animals.
The past few months have also brought news of a new vegan food cart, a new vegan retail store, a new vegan on-farm cafe and a new vegan donut store. Here is an overview of these latest developments.
SOUTHERN CORNISH FOOD CART
The Greenhouse by SAO Food Cart had a quick test launch in fall 2019, even offering a vegan wine tasting at Cellardoor Winery in Portland, followed by a winter of planning and preparing for a big spring launch. 2020. But owner Shelby Anne Oates’ plans for launching the all-vegan food cart have been rocked by the pandemic. Instead, Oates took the cart home to her home in Atlanta, where she was born and raised, to serve up her comforting vegan food during the uncertain year.
But this summer, The Greenhouse by SAO wagon returned to Maine, with a base outside of The Local Gear in Cornwall and pop-ups at other venues and events, where Oates serves a changing menu of corn. of rue masala, dog carrots with black bean chili. , barbecue mushroom sliders, grilled cheese sandwiches, chickpea frittatas and pasta salad.
âYou’ll definitely taste some of my Southern roots, I believe,â Oates said, âespecially in the staples that I put on the menu more often than others, like my SAO Southern Sweet Cornbread or my Slow-cooked collard greens, but I also like to help vegans get a solution that sometimes needs to be treated like a good charred, melt-in-the-mouth SAO grilled cheese. I have served my BBQ Shroom Sammich a lot this summer, consisting mostly of leeks and shiitakes, stacked on a thick piece of toasted Italian bread topped with a spread of house SAO garlic and smoked paprika. It was a hit at the Ossipee Valley Music Festival and will even be served at a wedding I’m planning soon.
The food cart has made an appearance in Steep Falls and Kezar Falls and will be at Doles Orchard in Limington for the apple harvest season. Check out social media (@saocooksandcatering on Facebook) for weekly program updates.
LITTLE LAD’S GOING TO RETAIL
Since June, fans of Little Lad’s famous popcorn and its old cafes (the last of which closed in 2015) have been flocking to Main Street in the Corinthian town of Penobscot County, where the vegan food maker has opened. a small point of sale selling its range of products as well as sandwiches, soups and scoops of up to 20 flavors of its cream of Nice.
The new Little Lad’s store is located in a former bank with outdoor seating and a steering wheel window, where customers can pick up orders over the phone. Little Lad’s is best known for its popcorn, but the store has over 100 products, including granola, crackers, and fruit pies made at the popcorn factory 250 feet away.
In the shop, an entire rack is filled with bags of the signature popcorn in all its flavors. Fridge and freezer cases hold drinks, takeout sandwiches, veggie burgers, frozen dinners, and pints of nice creme. The store also makes sandwiches to order and offers breakfast options, soups and desserts.
âWe also have locally grown berries right now, and usually fruit and veg for sale as well,â said owner Maria Fleming, who recently hired more staff at the production facility to meet the ever-increasing demand. increase.
Fleming said the store was busy this summer, with tourists stopping on the way to Moosehead Lake, patrons of former Little Lad restaurants making a pilgrimage, and locals swinging out the take-out window for their lunch.
The Petit Lad boutique is open on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
FRONT SEAT AT FRINKLEPOD
In July, a beer garden called Snagglebites serving a farm-fresh lunch opened next to the vegetable fields of the Frinklepod Farm in Arundel. The short menu includes plant-based bowls, salads, and bite-size snacks. The cafÃ© is open from Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
âFor years we have toyed with the idea of ââoffering more lunch options during the summer,â said Flora Brown, who operates a farm with her husband, Noah Wentworth. In winter, the certified organic farm sells prepared meals from its winter store, which closes during the high summer season. âThis winter, we took the plunge and bought a used lunch cart that we turned into Snagglebites. “
The name comes from the children’s book “Uno’s Garden” adored by the daughters of Brown and Wentworth and the source of the name of the farm. Supported by the farm’s commercial kitchen, the cart extends the food prep area outside of the summer market space and allows customers to watch their plant-based bowls and salads being prepared.
“We realized that making lunch right in front of our customers would allow them to see how it’s prepared and hopefully even inspire them to try making a similar dish at home using ingredients from our farm store.” Brown said. âWe also wanted to minimize food waste and packaging challenges that we encountered when trying to keep our retail cooler stocked with prepared foods. “
Most Snagglebites bowls start with a rice-quinoa pilaf topped with a choice of cooked Heiwa tofu, hummus, or fresh vegetables (raw or grilled). This is drizzled with peanut ginger, barbecue sauce or the green goddess (all made on the farm). A new addition to the bowl menu is the black bean bowl with tortilla chips and potato queso.
SUNFLOWERS BEYOND THE BORDER
The mainers don’t seem to have enough vegan donuts, and now the fully vegan lovebirds Donuts in Kittery prepares to bring his goods over the bridge and across the border to a store in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The new store will be located in the Vaughan Mall, a pedestrian-friendly mall.
âThe Portsmouth location is significantly smaller than the Kittery location, much more of a boutique, town cafe, primarily designed for take out with a few seats inside,â said Tamara Monroe, owner of the company with Ryan MacDougall.
On weekends, Lovebirds regularly run up against limits in the number of clients they can serve, making expansion the next logical step. All donuts will continue to be made in Kittery, where the kitchen was built with the intention of supplying several stores. Monroe says it takes seven minutes to get from the Kittery Bakery to the Portsmouth store.
In preparation for the new outlet, Lovebirds has added bakers and is in the process of hiring more baristas, who will rotate between the two stores. The new location will offer the same monthly menus and online ordering as the original. That means flavors, like this month’s Hunneecomb, a brioche donut dipped in ganache, stripped of butterscotch and topped with homemade vegan honeycomb candy, will be available at both locations.
Monroe said they hope the Portsmouth Lovebirds open this fall. Until then, look for their donuts at Kittery Shop and Nectar Cafe, Grateful Gardens in Rocky Acres and Strand Cafe (all in York), as well as Copper Branch in Portland and Frinklepod Farm in Arundel.
Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at
Twitter: Avery Yale Kamila
Since its inception, MOFGA has had a friendly attitude towards vegetarians