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January 3, 2022

In Portland, Old Port watering hole has a new but familiar owner

Courtesy / Porthole In warm weather, the deck of the Porthole Restaurant & Pub is a popular gathering spot on Portland's waterfront.

An anchor business in Portland’s Old Port since before it was called that, the Porthole Restaurant & Pub has sold to the owners of two other local restaurants.

Upward Management Group purchased the Porthole Dec. 31, spokesman Sean MacCarthy told Mainebiz. He did not disclose terms of the deal.

The no-frills establishment, which opened in 1929, is at 20 Custom House Wharf, just a few blocks along the waterfront from Three Dollar Dewey’s, also operated by Upward Management. In addition, the group runs the Saltwater Grille in South Portland, across the mouth of the Fore River from Portland.

Upward Management, led by CEO Joe Christopher, plans to retain all 35 Porthole employees including the general manager, Beth Penna Poitras.

“We could not be more excited for this opportunity,” said Christopher in a news release. “The Porthole is known far and wide because of the incredible reputation that Ken MacGowan built here.”

MacGowan, who had owned the Porthole since 2013, said in a Facebook post, “It’s been a pleasure working with the new team and with Beth Penna Poitras at the helm I’m sure the Porthole will sail forward in good hands.”

Upward Management Group originated in Maine when Christopher got his start as an entrepreneur in 1997 as the founder of Three Rivers Whitewater, an outdoor recreation business in the Forks. The business later expanded to Millinocket and to the Sugarloaf Inn.

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