The Palace Diner was just nominated one of 50 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. You know that tiny, vintage railcar with grass-fed burgers and a line of hungry tourists spilling out the door in the Old Port. No I mean Bar Harbor …. er, Biddeford. Where????? Don’t attempt to adjust your screens, the B-ford is back in a BIG WAY.
I was traipsing across the city yesterday with Roxi Suger, the lifestyle designer and fashion fairy, and got the feeling that the stigma attached to this hard-scrabble town has finally lifted. In one corner of the sprawling Pepperell Mill Campus, a mini food, drink and design cluster is emerging.
We all know that Banded Horn Brewery has been killing it since January. But Ian McConnell is about to get some company. A distillery is opening next to his brewery with a tasting room. Across the hallway, Portland Pie Co. is building out a 130-seat space with a bar, lofty ceiling and January opening.
A few paces away Suger is taking over 5,000 square feet on the other side of Banded to expand her AngelRox fashion line. Industry has returned to the industrial city. And those who didn’t just fall off the Brooklyn Express are stunned. “I’ve lived here for years,” said William Kany, leasing agent for the mill. “We were trying to cling to anything, not thinking of anything new. Now the floodgates are open on Main Street as well.”
Also Biscuits & Company, a buttery treat emporium serving Maine Coast Roast coffee in a very urban setting, is close to opening on Alfred Street next to Suger. “So we have suger and biscuits and coffee,” said Roxi. And a perked up city that’s no old Bidde. Bon Appetit announces its Hot Ten (#BAHOT10 for those following along on Twitter) August 19th. Fingers crossed for the Palace Diner in what has to be a Biddeford first.