After years of seeking space for a second Portland restaurant, chef Shannon Bard of Zapoteca has shifted her energy to Kennebunk. On Monday she closes on a new enterprise and breaks new ground. “This is my dream project,” said the chef on Friday, when she announced plans to Urban Eye.
Her dream consists of four concepts in one. Starting on the ground floor at 149 Port Road, the sprawling house last occupied by Kennebooks, will become Salud Bistro.
“This smaller restaurant is my playground. For Spanish food, everyone has a preconceived notion of what it should be. This is where I will cook food that I love,” said the chef who grew up in Oklahoma, has traveled the world and brings it all into the kitchen here. Open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. the bistro will feature “homemade doughnuts and pastries, coffee, fantastic sandwiches, things I learned from my grandmother like fried chicken sandwiches, a French bistro with a Spanish, creative flair.”
Also on this floor will be a catering hub and cooking school. “I’ve wanted a cooking school as long as I remember,” said Bard, who will teach classes to visiting chefs and the public.
One flight up will reside Toroso, a 100-seat authentic Spanish tapas restaurant featuring octopus, hand-sliced ham, an open-kitchen and a deep wine list. And for her fourth trick: Bard and husband Tom Bard are building a post-and-beam barn on site for weddings and events.
“The ambiance will be similar to Zapoteca, a little nicer than your average restaurant, but very casual atmosphere, tapas demands it,” said Bard, who embarks on a repeat trip to Seville, Spain next week to refine her fluency in this bold cuisine.
There will be 100 parking spaces and the “House of Bard” will be open year round. If this isn’t enough, a European market is in the works too.
“I want to cater to locals. We are right on the edge of town, close enough that the tourists can come too,” said Bard, who lives three miles away and plans to bike here.
Her partners are Amanda Howland and Marc Christensen, a team she’s worked with on culinary projects in the past.
Toroso opens in June. And a barn-raising is planned shortly after. The Bunks suddenly got a giant kick in the culinary pants!