Baharat to Open in East Bayside Next Week


Arvid Brown, Bartender, Clay Norris and Jenna Friedman, Owners of Baharat, at 91 Anderson Street

A New Sign Marks the Spot Destined  to be the  Culinary Destination on the East End of Portland.

“We passed all of our inspections recently.  So we are hoping to open on March 15th,” said Jenna Friedman, this afternoon as we sat at the metal bar that will soon be put to a much better use.  Clay Norris, her husband and chef was working in the kitchen while,  Arvid Brown the bar tender,was arranging bottles behind the bar as Jenna and I chatted.

“I’m a failed journalist,” said a grinning Clay Norris, on a prior visit to Baharat, 91 Anderson Street,  of his brief career as a sports writer in upstate New York.  Journalism wasn’t for him.  So he decided to  change course and pursue something he knew he already loved doing.  Cooking.  His background in the family restaurant business in Wiscasset won out. Clay went back to school and studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.  Heworked in restaurants in New York and New Jersey for years before returning to his native Maine.

Fast forward  and he and his wife, Jenna Friedman, expect their first bricks and mortar restaurant to open – next week on Wednesday, March 15th – at 11:30 AM.

Middle Eastern spreads, snacks and kababs will be the centerpiece of the menu that will be served at both lunch and dinner.  There will be kababs of chicken, lamb, veggies and fish.  The menu is an expansion of their highly popular food truck they ran for three years at Bissell Brothers Brewery and elsewhere in Portland.  The menu is inspired by food from Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.  It’s moderately priced and with a casual atmosphere designed to fit into the neighborhood in which it’s located in East Bayside.  Deserts will be the creation of Jenna and Lizzy Decotiis. alums of Two Fat Cats.

Dinner will be served starting on Wednesday evening with lunch and dinner served every day thereafter – except for Tuesday, when Baharat will be closed.  The restaurant seats thirth-three (33) people and take out will be available. Another unique side to the administration of Baharat is that fellow food truck operators who are not yet working will serve as the kitchen staff initially.  The hours of operation will be 11:30 am – 10:00 pm.

Clay’s mother, Sarah, opened the popular Sarah’s Cafe on Route 1 in Wiscasset just before he was born.  “I made more money working in my mother’s Cafe than I made anywhere else,” he said recently.

Let’s hope history repeats itself for this gracious couple!

For more information, please call 207 – 613-9849 or email: info@baharatmainecom