Goodbye Margaritas, hello ‘adult milk shakes’ and burgers

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A BRGR Bar creation.

A Portsmouth restaurateur closed on the first floor of the shuttered Margaritas in downtown Portland Wednesday. The grassfed-adult-milkshake-themed BRGR Bar is expected to open on Brown Street in late August. “We are excited by the location and getting to know Portland better,” said Carolyn Gregory, director of operations.

“It’s an elevated twist on a typical burger joint.”

Think grass-fed beef from Maine Family Farms topped with braised short rib, cheddar, fried egg, spicy ketchup, lettuce and tomato. That can be downed with an “adult milk shake” consisting of soft serve ice cream and booze.

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Adult beverages ready in two shakes.

Diners can choose from indulgent almond and coconut with dark rum or rich chocolate and patron shakes for $10 a pop.

BRGR Bar owner Phelps Craig, who also opened The Green Monkey and Brazo in Portsmouth, purchased the first floor space and is turning it into a 100-seat restaurant with a beer garden Gregory confirmed.

“We can now carry the Maine beers we love, but can’t get in New Hampshire like Bissell Brothers,” she said.

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Margaritas’ former sunroom will be BRGR Bar’s beer garden.

Amen to that.

Other drink options include house-made sodas like blood orange and Thai basil and pepper. This creative concept seems custom ready for concert-goers at the nearby Port City Music Hall and Cross Insurance Arena.

“We add another dimension to burger places. We have a huge bourbon library and it’s not just beef burgers, but bison and duck burgers and mahi mahi,” she said.

A turkey burger topped with pineapple chipotle salsa, smoked gouda, grilled red onions, jalapeno lime aioli, lettuce, tomato and bacon is another off-the-charts example.

Why are these Granite Staters heading north up Route 95?

“Portland is named one of the foodiest small towns in America,” said Gregory. “It’s a booming place.”

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.