Carol McCracken (Post # 2,481)
“We never expected a turnout like this,” said server Marcus Bailey early this afternoon at the Grand Opening of Tomaso’s Canteen. “We did no advertising at all. It was just word of mouth,” Bailey said. By early afternoon, the 35-seat Canteen, 18 Hampshire Street, was packed with friends, neighbors, curious and Fred Forsley of the nearby Shipyard Brewery. Forsley stopped in for a beer and to congratulate the Minervino family on its second eatery in the city of Portland – the first is Samuel’s on Forest Avenue.
This family friendly Canteen replaces Sangillo’s Tavern that closed after being shutdown by the State of Maine following a recommendation by the Portland City Council. The building had to be gutted which was a slow process said Mike Barton, a Hill resident who served as the construction manager for the project. The interior has a new identity; it’s handsomely subtle with a heart pine bar that shimmers on its own. The final product was well worth waiting for – its warm, welcoming and wonderful – Cheers!
Chef Freeman, who was formerly with Joe’s Boathouse in South Portland for fourteen years, said that his goal is to make the Canteen a food spot for blue-collar people in Portland – giving the spot a new identity from the previous tavern that did not serve food. Space in the back of the building were converted into a kitchen from which the Chef and his crew of two others create an appealing menu that is still a work-in-progress. A draft menu includes sandwiches, fresh burgers and soups and stews. Soups and stews will be made in small batches so each day there will be something new on the menu. There is also a full bar. “Among the three of us in the kitchen we have 76 years of kitchen experience,” said Chef Freeman. “Michael Shirley has over 36 years of them,” he said laughing.
Tomaso’s Canteen will be open seven days a week – serving both lunch and dinner. It will be open between 11:00 am – 1:00 am.