Argenta Brewing to open Friday in Bayside; Thai Esaan closes temporarily

Guests gather inside Argenta Brewing on Hanover Street on Feb. 17. The new lager brewery will officially launch on Friday. Photo by Amanda Bizarro

Lager brewery Argenta Brewing will open for business in Bayside on Friday, Feb. 23.

Argenta is launching at 82 Hanover St., the former location of Banded Brewing Co. Biddeford-based Banded closed its Portland taproom in October after filing for bankruptcy five months earlier.

Argenta owner and head brewer Ryan Dunlap said his brewery first got into the Hanover Street space to start renovations in November. “We didn’t do any big construction. It was mostly some cosmetic changes, giving the place a facelift and new furniture,” he said.

Dunlap is leasing the 2,500-square-foot venue, which has another 1,000 square feet of seating space on the patio. Dunlap also purchased Banded’s brewing equipment, which he said helped him open all the sooner, since production backlogs can delay delivery of brewing gear for as long as six months.

Argenta will have four lagers on tap to debut when they open, and Dunlap said he plans to offer non-alcoholic beers from a Maine producer soon. Food truck Iron Clad Eats will be on site this Saturday selling tacos and Southwest-style dishes, while the Great Wave sushi cart will be there Sunday.

Argenta will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 2-9 p.m.


For now, Thai Esaan is closed. It plans to reopen as soon as the chef has recovered from surgery. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

Closed for more than a week because of the chef’s medical emergency, Thai Esaan might reopen this week, though then again, it might not.

Thai Esaan announced on its Facebook page on Feb. 10 that it would be closed due to a “family emergency.” Owner Ben Boonseng said his mother, Siwaporn Roberts, who is the restaurant’s chef, was taken that day to the Northern Light Mercy Hospital emergency room with abdominal pain.

A Feb. 13 Facebook post stated that the restaurant, on Portland Street in Portland, would need to stay closed “until further notice,” and that Valentine’s Day reservations had been canceled.

Roberts underwent gallbladder surgery last Thursday. Boonseng said the procedure went well and that Roberts has been home recuperating for several days now.

Thai Essan could reopen this Thursday or Friday “at the earliest,” he said, depending on his mom’s recovery. Or reopening could be delayed until next week, or even sometime in March.

“I want to make sure she’s back in full health,” Boonseng said. “Right now she’s a little sore, and moving around is a little difficult. She is the only cook we have, and without her, there is no restaurant.”

Originally located on Forest Avenue, Thai Esaan was forced to close and move to its current location after fire damaged their building in September 2021. “Having to close now is unfortunate because it’s taken us 17 months to find a location to reopen and reestablish the brand,” Boonseng said.


Community Plate recently announced three Story-Sharing Potluck Suppers planned for March.

Upcoming supper dates are set for March 2 in Lewiston, with a theme of “To Lewiston, with Love”; March 9 in Orono, which is themed “Sappily Ever After”; and March 28 in Brunswick, with a “By Land and By Sea” theme.

Community Plate is a nonprofit group co-founded by Karl Schatz and Margaret Hathaway, who edit and publish the Maine Community cookbooks. The group aims to fight what some have termed an epidemic of loneliness and build community through shared meals and stories.

Their event series features traditional potluck suppers where each attendee brings a dish, a recipe and a story to share about what they brought. Some time after the meal, each attendee receives a mini-cookbook filled with recipes and stories about the food at the potluck they attended.

Community Plate hopes to host at least one Story-Sharing Potluck Supper in each of Maine’s 16 counties in 2024. For more information on the March suppers or to reserve a free ticket, visit the events page on the Community Plate website.


Following up on their popular launch of Maine Coast Monkfish Stew into retail markets, the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association has partnered with a Scarborough fish market to produce a smoked pollock dip for retail sale.

The fishermen’s association is working with Dunstan Smokehouse in Scarborough to produce Smoked Maine Pollack Dip using sustainably harvested Maine pollock smoked at Dunstan and combined with cream cheese, mayonnaise, shallots, lemon and dill.

Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, said in a news release that pollock is often considered a “less desirable” fish than cod or haddock. “We hope that by incorporating pollock into a value-added product, we can elevate and expand the opportunity of this delicious and sustainable local fish,” said Martens.

The new dip comes in 8-ounce retail packages – as well as 4-pound tubs for restaurants or caterers – and is now for sale at Fresh Catch Market in Trenton; Hallowell Seafood; The Lobster Company in Arundel; Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick; Pine Tree Seafood in Scarborough; and SoPo Seafood. The dip is also on the menu at Luke’s Lobster in Portland and Scratch Bakery in South Portland.

The fishermen’s association introduced its monkfish stew to Maine markets in 2022. The 16-ounce frozen stew pouches are now available at more than 70 locations statewide, and the stew was recently approved as the first value-added seafood product for schools through Maine’s Local Foods Fund.

As with the stew, proceeds from pollock dip sales benefit the fishermen’s association and support its efforts to build new markets for local seafood.


Camden Harbour Inn is offering three cooking classes in March led by both local and international chefs.

On Saturday, March 2, Gwenythe Frechette, pastry chef of Natalie’s restaurant at the inn, will lead participants through the process of making their own “dream candy bar.” The hands-on class offers information on types of chocolate and instruction for tempering it; attendees can choose ingredients for their special bars and design personalized wrappers.

On Saturday, March 9, Singapore-based Chef Alfie Jerome Mossadeg leads a dumpling cooking class, including a tasting of different dumpling styles and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Jose Ochoa, executive chef of Natalie’s, will lead a Spanish Easter tapas class on Friday, March 29, including a tasting of tapas dishes and a sangria demonstration by Natalie’s bar manager Mike Freeman.

Classes cost $185-$197 per person before tax. To reserve space, call the inn at (207) 236-4200, and visit the inn’s website for more information.

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