The much-anticipated opening of the reconstructed brick TWELVE restaurant on the Munjoy Hill waterfront brings with it high expectations in a city that already has a national reputation as one of the best foodie destinations in the country. The presence of the historic TWELVE adjacent to one of the busiest streets in the Old Port will magnify that reputation in a way previously unmatched.
That’s so because Chef Colin Wyatt, formerly of Eleven Madison Park, and General Manager Daniel Gorlas, formerly of Per Se, have pooled their unique talents at TWELVE according to Casey Prentice President, President of Prentice Hospitality. Back in the day, Chef Wyatt was a student at Bates College and working at 555 nights and weekends. That is where he met Matt Ginn, current Executive Chef at EVO. The two chefs were at 555 for much of its seventeen year tenure as Portland’s best restaurant.
Chef Wyatt went to New York City and Eleven Madison Park, (EMP) owned by celebrity chef Daniel Hume. In 2019 EMP earned the title of # 1 Restaurant in the World. It is considered to be among the top five restaurants in the world in any given year. In 2020, EMP went totally vegan according to Prentice. The menu that is still in develoment will pay “homage to Maine’s best ingredients” according to Prentice. According to Chef Wyatt this afternoon, the year round TWELVE will be open for dinners only initially, five days a week to start and will feature a seasonal menu.
All of this activity has not gone unnoticed by the national culinary world. Last week,, VOGUE magazine named TWELVE, a historic spot on almost 10 acres of waterfront property, as one of the “most anticipated restaurant openings of 2022,” This important recognition joins “most anticipated” openings in major cities up and down the east coast, California and between.
TWELVE’s name is derived from the former use of this brick building as the pattern storehouse for the former Portland Company. Building # 12 was built in 1895 intentionally separate and apart from the other buildings in the complex. Portland Company was the major manufacturer in the area. The Company reused its wooden patterns over and over. So, they needed to be stored in a fire proof building that could withstand damage from a fire should that ever occur.. MHN.com has written extensively on the subject for the past three years and recommends those posts to readers herein. They include posts herein dated May 17, 2021, May 1, 2019, April 19, and April 3, 2019.
The almost ten acres of valuable waterfront property was formerly owned by Phineas Spragur, Jr. a/k/a Portland Yacht Services. For over 20 years, it was the home of the Maine Boatbuilders Show. In its later years, it was the location of the Portland Flower Show. Sprague, from Cape Elizabeth, sold the property to Portland Foreside and relocated his boat yard, New Yard, to West Commercial Street. This relocation has allowed Sprague to greatly expand his business to include commercially owned boats as well as privately owned boats. The width of a newly purchased and installed travel lift has made the service of beamy catamarans as well as commercilly owned vessels possible. .
“We’re humbled to have this talent in little Portland, Maine,” said Casey W. Prentice, President, Prentice Hospitality, in an email to mhn.com. His other restaurants include but are not limited to EVO Kitchen + Bar, Chebeague Island Inn. 58 Culinary, and the two year old Marina Bar. The latter is located beside Fore Points Marina next to the walking path on Munjoy Hill.
As of May 27, 2022, TWELVE Restaurant is expected to open on Friday, July 1, 2022. It’s opening has been delayed due to supply chain issues. The nearby Fore Point Marina Bar will not be opening this year because the Portland City Council nixed it. This would have been its third year. What a loss for the community.