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June 7, 2024

Friday Food Insider: Portland waterfront gazebo will become tiny home for sandwich shop

Photo / Courtesy, Vina Ann’s Vina Ann’s menu will include whoopie pies, blueberry pies, sandwiches, soups and salads.

A tiny waterfront gazebo on Portland's Commercial Street has been leased by a sandwich shop, Vina Ann’s.

The owners of Vina Ann’s, Liz Tavares and Hannah Maltby, told Mainebiz that they plan to open a takeout cafe serving sandwiches, salads and sweets. The focus will be on Maine products and classic desserts like blueberry pie.

“We will add some soups and chowders into the mix during the cooler months,” said Tavares. “We want to give everyone a little taste of some classic Maine flavors and goodies to enjoy. Whoopie pies, blueberry pies and Moxie just to name a few. We will be featuring Maine-made products, such as Maine Root sodas.”

Photo / Alexis Wells
Vina Ann’s will be located at 20 Commercial St. in Portland.

The space is a mere 77 square feet. It comes equipped with electricity, but there's no water hookup. Menu offerings will be prepared and packaged at a Forest Avenue commercial kitchen inside the Odd Fellows Building at Woodfords Corner. 

The takeout cafe is slated to open in mid-June and run through October. 

How the business got its start

Tavares and Maltby grew up in South Portland and have been good friends since middle school. Vina Ann’s concept started in the fall of 2020 during the pandemic. 

Photo / Courtesy, Liz Tavares
Owners Liz Tavares, left, and Hannah Maltby

“My mother passed away earlier that summer in July, and the restaurant I work for was closed due to the pandemic,” said Tavares. “I was sad and bored, so I decided to reach out to Hannah to collaborate on our baking passions and start a pop-up business during the holidays in honor of our late mothers.

"Hannah is one of the best bakers and bosses I know, so I had a feeling it would be a hit. Turns out, it was.

“Our friends, who own the Corner Room in the Old Port, provided us with their amazing kitchen and space to bake and package our fresh baked pies and goodies for our friends and family,” she continued.

“We offered a safe curbside pick-up and that allowed us to be in touch with our people safely during COVID. It also made missing our loved ones during the holidays a little easier to cope with. Our name was an easy one to choose. Vina is my mother’s name, and Ann is Hannah’s mother’s name. Vina Ann’s became an official LLC in early 2021.”

The gazebo, at 20 Commercial St., became available in February, and Tavares and Maltby decided to jump on the opportunity. They contacted the city, and after some interviews and vetting, Vina Ann’s had found a home.

What else is going on in the food world?

Blake Orchard, a plant-based juice shop at 561 Forest Ave. in Portland, will open the first of two additional locations. A Brunswick location at 2 Station Ave. will open on Sunday, June 9. The juice shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It offers smoothies, bowls, raw juices, handmade nut milks, wellness drinks, sustainable coffee and more. A Scarborough location, in Dunstan Village, will open in the fall. 

The owners of Broken Arrow, which opened in 2019 at 545 Congress St., announced via social media that they were closing the business. “It’s been fun and very hard. Grateful for the memories made and the friends,” the social media post stated. “This journey is at the end. With gratitude, goodnight Portland one last time.”

What restaurants are you excited to see open? The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to hear from you! Contact Alexis Wells at

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