By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,149)
“We plan on opening in early August,” said Markos Miller, co-owner of the new Ten Ten Pie, a unique take-out food cafe. “We want to open before the summer is gone and while people are still walking around,” he said this afternoon at the site of his long-anticipated cafe – the site of the former popular DiPetro’s on Cumberland Avenue on Portland’s East End.
This cafe is the culmination of a long-time goal of Miller’s and the culmination of about 8 years of talks between Miller and his business partner Atsuko Fujimoto, a well-known pastry chef in Portland. The two business partners met in Tokoyo in 1991. Miller was teaching English there and Fujimoto was an editor for a “celebrity” magazine who featured American stars visiting Japan. including movie director George Lucas, actress Angelina Jolie and actor Tom Cruise. The two kep of touch, but it wasn’t until about 8 years ago, after Fujimoto had moved to Maine, the two started talking seriously about a multi-cultural cafe.
And on June 30th, the two received the business loan from Gorham Savings Bank they needed to open. “Local banks were always very enthusiastic about what we wanted to create here. We talked to several local banks, but it just worked out with Gorham,” Miller said. “We’ve been pre-inspected by the city and so we know just what we need to do to open up. We have our marching orders,” Markos said grinning.
When it opens later this summer, Ten Ten Pie, will have Portland’s first “Bento” box lunch and patisserie. Bento boxes are a traditional Japanese lunch box separating foods from each other. Freshly baked European style pastries will be available in the morning with coffee. By midday neatly packaged Bento boxes will be ready to “grab and go.” They can contain a variety of meals from Japanese sushi rolls to Thai curry and rice to Moroccan lamb stew with quinoa salad and other healthy comfort foods from around the world. The unique East/West fusion menu will offer a variety of high quality foods at affordable mid-range prices. Ten Ten Pie will also have freshly prepared dishes daily such as soups, salads, sandwiches and pizza. There will also be a selection of international speciality foods on its shelves.
At this time, the cafeis expected to be open five days a week – Monday through Friday.
Fujimoto was born in Japan and lived in Southeast Asia and South America. She honed her skills as a pastry chef at the renowned Fore Street Restaurant, Standard Baking Co. and more recently at Miyake – where she created some of its signature dishes. Markos Miller, Munjoy Hill resident, is a former Deering High School Spanish teacher and former president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization. He’s been a community activist leading the drive to redesign Franklin Street into a pedestrian-friendly location that will also break down the divide between the East End of Portland and the rest of Portland.