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Village Cafe(Portland) Closing?

j
joss2 Nov 7, 2007 10:56 AM

Boy, it's hard to believe now, but there was a time in Portland when the Village
and Vallee's Steakhouse were about the only shows in town. Is there any truth to the rumor that it's closing soon?

  1. h
    hoodie Nov 8, 2007 07:09 AM

    yes. this is true! My company had a christmas party scheduled there for Dec. 6th and the Village called us yesterday to cancel it because they are closing the doors for good. I dont know wxactly when, though. I dont believe it has been announced publicly yet. the end of an era!

    1. m
      Mainegal Nov 8, 2007 08:05 AM

      It's NOT closing for good. They've sold the building and will be relocating in the spring, but haven't found a site yet.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Mainegal
        s
        shallett Nov 21, 2008 03:30 AM

        Any Idea how to contact the manager or the owner of the Village Cafe? The phone is disconnected and the website is down. I have a gift certificate that I'd like a refund on. :-(

        1. re: shallett
          i
          irwin Nov 21, 2008 08:13 AM

          looks like you are out of luck........................
          Gift Certificates are not meant to rest in a closet for a year or two.....

          1. re: irwin
            s
            shallett Nov 21, 2008 09:48 AM

            Ha ha! you're right. Actually the gift card was just given to us along with the receipt. So even though we've only had if for a few days the receipt says it was purchased in June of 2006. Must have been re-gifted huh? With all the good things I've heard about the place it makes me wonder why. . . . Oh well, easy come easy go.

      2. g
        grittys457 Nov 8, 2007 06:42 PM

        The Village Cafe site is part of the huge Eastern Waterfront development in Portland. They sold it to GFI out of Boston who is building condos at that location. The Village plans on moving back into the new complex in a smaller sized restaurant once the project has been completed. From what I've heard, couldn't hurt to get a new kitchen for the Village. I think it's seen better days.

        This was an amazing deal for The Village. They made serious cash off of selling the land plus they get a nice new restaurant. I have not heard that they were moving into another space in between projects. It will be at least 1.5 to 2 years before the new buildings are done.

        Here's a link to what's being built. Top row, far right pic shows the actual buildings.

        http://www.bayhouseportland.com/photos.html

        The huge project in front of the Village location is called Riverwalk. It includes a 6 story parking garage(next to Miccucci's) which is being built as we speak. The project also includes the Watermark condos. This building will house a very major restaurant. A few restaurants that they have been looking to put in there to anchor the project are Ruth's Chris, Morton's and Legal Sea Foods. I know they are chains but at least the first two would be like nothing we have around here now. The site for that is

        www.thewatermarkportland.com

        I know the mods will be upset about the non food links but I think the people here would like to see what is going on down there as that should be a hotbed for new restaurants.

        And since Vallee's was mentioned, I just thought I'd bring up that Dave's Famous BBQ was ready and approved to move into that building but I guess they have pulled out and they will be going to Scarborough next to where Cabela's is going. Cracker Barrel will also be going out there. Nothing exciting for foodies but I just thought I'd mention it.

        8 Replies
        1. re: grittys457
          Dual Nov 10, 2007 08:05 AM

          It's heretical, but I've always felt there was a need for a Legal Seafoods here in Portland. There's no place in town that does that kind of straightforward high-quality seafood preparation. And no: that Sea Grille across from the Drydock doesn't count.

          1. re: Dual
            s
            sophie fox Nov 10, 2007 08:13 AM

            "straightforward high-quality seafood preparation"

            You're kidding, right? Overcooked seafood, chowder so thickened with flour that you can stand a spoon upright in it, surly waitstaff snarling (assuming that you can get their attention) at the drooling masses waiting 30-deep for a table?
            And we want this in Portland, where we've already got a good dozen outstanding seafood restaurants?
            Astonishing.

            1. re: sophie fox
              Dual Nov 11, 2007 08:12 AM

              Sorry to have gotten you so worked up: I didn't know there were LSF's like that. My principal experience has been with the one in Peabody, which has none of the negatives you mention. None. (Well, actually I've never tried their chowder. Sounds like Gilbert's.)

              I'm very sorry, but I simply can't think of a dozen outstanding seafood restaurants in Portland. I think of Street & Company and then start reaching: Yosaku? I hear the new Morrison's has excellent chowders in a sterile atmosphere. I've heard the Lobster Company is decent for what it is, but I've never been there. After that I run out, and I've been to all the rest.

              But I think we're straying off-topic.

              1. re: Dual
                g
                goat Nov 12, 2007 01:43 PM

                I think the Sea Grill across from Dry Dock does very similar food to Legal Sea Food. The food there is just straight forward seafood and probably has the best oysters in town.
                I will agree that it is a bit odd that there are not really many seafood restaurants in the Great Portland area, especially if you exclude lobster/fried clam shacks.

                1. re: goat
                  g
                  grittys457 Nov 12, 2007 03:19 PM

                  The owner of the Sea Grill worked at a Legal Sea Foods. That's why it looks very similar.

                  Getting back to the restaurant site at Riverwalk, Legal is the only one that I could see working out. Ruth's Chris is way too expensive for such a small population and winter weekday nights. I think I heard that Morton's does not have any windows in it's restaurants so that defeats the purpose of a nice waterfront location.

                  In an article in the last MaineBiz, the developer of the new building in back of Old Port Sea Grill stated that they were in talks with a major national restaurant but that is official a dead deal. That was going to be the Keg Steakhouse which I think would have absolutely killed in that location. I'm not sure who they will find for that spot now. It won't be somebody local because it's too big and expensive and it won't be a mall type of chain. Maybe a cheesecake factory would work there? Can't be Legal Seafoods due to being in the same building as the Sea Grill.

                  1. re: grittys457
                    n
                    Noreaster Nov 13, 2007 06:13 AM

                    There have been rumors around town for the past couple years that Dana Street has been waiting for an oceanfront location for the development of a top seafood restaurant. If any local could successfully develop a concept for the Riverwalk, it would be him.

                    1. re: Noreaster
                      g
                      grittys457 Nov 13, 2007 07:22 AM

                      Dana was set to open a restaurant on the Maine State Pier if Ocean Properties got the rights to develop it. With the latest city council elections, Olympia will have the votes needed to win the project. I'm not sure if Dana Street will try to contact the Olympia group or if he has some sort of loyality to the Ocean Properties group.

                      I think Riverwalk really wants a big time name to anchor their project. They have a lot of very expensive units to sell and I think they want something that is known to people around the country.

                      1. re: grittys457
                        Dual Nov 14, 2007 02:43 AM

                        Such a shame that the Boone's location went the way it did. Imagine Scales expanded and relocated there...

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