Anthony Bourdain has advice for Portland restaurateurs

Good evening from the BDN Portland satellite office on Payson Park. It’s getting downright autumnal out there.

What we’re talking about

Kathleen Pierce this week spoke with globe-trotting chef Anthony Bourdain, who is coming to Portland early next month.

Here are some highlights:

Attention Brooklynites, if you are thinking of opening a restaurant in Portland, Anthony Bourdain has advice for you.

“Make sure that the locals love you. When you go into a community that’s not yours make friends with your neighbors. Be positive rather than negative. Become part of the community,” said the globetrotting chef, writer and TV personality on the phone from his office in Los Angeles.

When Bourdain comes to The Cross Insurance Arena in Portland for his Oct. 9th live show, The Hunger, you won’t catch him tucking into shellfish stew at Scales on the waterfront. Last time he was here in 2010 he dined at Street and Company with Dana Street, who owns both establishments. While filming a scene for “No Reservations,” he got a negative hit.

“I spent 30 years in the restaurant business. Being rude to the servers makes me mad and very uncomfortable,” he recalled. “It’s an unforgivable offense to be rude to servers. It put a pall on the experience for me.” …

On hot food and culture scenes changing a city: “I just came back from Nashville, where 100 people a day are moving to. There is a detraction of traditional culture and neighborhoods. The focus should be on careful planning and people should get angry over gentrification.”

What can Portland do about its rapidly changing landscape? “When you live on the water there is a lot of peril — character can be gobbled up fast.”


Just In: Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine landed in Portland just before 6 pm and stopped at a Democratic call center in the city on his way to a fundraiser in Cape Elizabeth. Kaine’s visit comes two days after a new poll showed the Clinton campaign’s lead slipping statewide in Maine. We’ll have an update on our Facebook page later, or watch

Maine shipyard loses out on $11 billion Coast Guard contractBeth Brogan broke the story this evening:

Bath Iron Works received word Thursday afternoon that it has lost a three-way competition for an $11 billion U.S. Coast Guard contract to a Florida company, dealing a crippling blow to the Maine shipyard and its 6,100 employees.

The shipbuilding contract — the largest ever awarded by the Coast Guard — was seen as critical by management and unionized shipbuilders as construction of the final of three Zumwalt-class “stealth” destroyers passes the halfway mark.

Portland’s mayor likes the plan to build a downtown skyscraper — “I think what he’s trying to do in terms of creating an urban center is the right thing,” said Mayor Ethan Strimling — who received more than $1,000 in campaign donations from the project’s mastermind, Tim Soley, and a subsidiary of his company, East Brown Cow. “I’m in favor of increased density on the peninsula, especially downtown, and the best way to do it is to go up.”

The mayor said the buildings should be judged on a case-by-case basis, noting concerns with another early-stage proposal for condominiums on Sheridan Street. But he generally favors vertical growth in the downtown and along Portland’s major traffic corridors, he said.

Parking might be harder to come by tomorrow — People commuting into Portland’s downtown might want to walk to work tomorrow.

Already tight parking in the city will be made a little tighter Friday, when “at least eight downtown parking spaces” will be occupied by an event encouraging “people to rethink the public spaces of our streets,” the city said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

PARK(ing) Day will see spots normally open to cars around the city converted into temporary parks to show “people what can happen if we start thinking about streets as public spaces for people, not just cars,” event organizer Abby King said in the statement.

Among the spaces closed to parking will be at: 510 Congress, 522 Congress, 70 Exchange Street, 537 Congress Street,  61 India Street, 589 Congress Street, 75 Market Street.

Like every day, I’ll be biking. — Jake Bleiberg

Maine Chiefs of Police Association endorses tightening of gun control lawsSeven southern Maine police chiefs today stood with South Portland Chief Edward Googins as he announced the law enforcement leaders’ support for Question 3.

Congrats to Portland’s National Merit semifinalists — Four Portland high school seniors have been named as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship, the city public schools announced. They are Rose Griffin, of Portland High School; Alex Smith, of Deering High School; and Jasper Sommer and Nathaniel Youngren, of Casco Bay High School.

The Big Idea

‘Distant languages have similar sounds for common words’ — From The Economist:

In English, the object on your face that smells things is called a “nose”, and, if you are generously endowed, you might describe it as “big”. The prevailing belief among linguists had been that the sounds used to form those words were arbitrary. But new work by a team led by Damian Blasi, a language scientist at the University of Zurich, and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that may not be true — and that the same sounds may be used in words for the same concepts across many different languages.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.