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February 27, 2023

New bakery, gastropub opening in building recently vacated by Rivalries

Photo / Alexis Wells The former Rivalries space.

Two new eateries are moving into the building where Rivalries sports bar recently closed its original location at 10 Cotton St. in Portland. 

The space Rivalries occupied has been leased by Bobby Will, the chef/owner of a seasonal fine-dining restaurant called Salt & Steel in Bar Harbor. Will has a crew from Portland-based Optimum Construction already at work retrofitting the space for a gastropub called Thistle & Grouse. 

Alexis Wells
505 Fore St., the new Bread & Friends location.

Optimum workers were also in the same building, but at 505 Fore St. on Monday to fit out a space that will be occupied by a bakery called Bread & Friends. 

Will, who also has a restaurant consulting firm called the Willing Chef, said he's not making too many changes to the footprint, but does plan to tear down the bar and place a raw bar in the corner and upgrade the dining room.

Will plans to offer a menu that includes his signature seafood cassoulet, along with a house-ground burger, a Korean fried chicken sandwich, small plates and large apps. 

He also wants to locally source as many dishes as he can, and already contacted a chicken farmer and an outlet for local cheeses. 

Will hopes to start training staff in June ahead of a July opening, but with ongoing construction issues, "who knows," he said. 

Since they have the same contractor, Will has reached out to his new neighbors to see if partnering with them would be viable. 

Bread & Friends is a Portland-based bakery concept specializing in naturally leavened, whole grain breads, inventive and nostalgic pastries, as well as pickles, jams, butters and spreads. According to its website, the bakery will "come into its own as a daytime restaurant and bakery when we open our first brick-and-mortar location in Portland in early 2023." 

At the new location, the bakery will be milling and sifting regional grain in-house and baking loaves in a wood-fired oven built by the artisans at Ipsor, a Spanish company. The owners also plan to have pastry offerings and be open for breakfast and lunch.  

Bread & Friends already partners with more than 25 retailers, including all Rosemont Market & Bakeries, Frinklepod Farm in Arundel and Morning Glory Natural Foods in Brunswick.

Rivalries owners Amy and Lance Meader announced last week on their website that the Portland location has closed permanently, but the name and brand were not sold and the Falmouth restaurant on Hat Trick Drive will remain open. In their message published at, the owners wrote that it was "with mixed emotion that we share the news that we have sold our Rivalries Portland location. With heartfelt appreciation, we owe our staff and many guests over the years a huge thank you for making Rivalries Portland what it was. We consider so many people a part of the Rivalries family." 


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