Portland wine bar named one of America’s best new restaurants

Peter and Orenda Hale, with infant, owners of the Drifters Wife.

Peter and Orenda Hale, with infant, owners of the Drifters Wife.

The Drifters Wife, Portland’s Washington Ave. gem, got a big mention in Bon Appetit this week. How big? One of 50 best new restaurants in the U.S. big.

The glossy mag calls out chef Ben Jackson’s “elegant shareable plates” combined with “unfiltered biodynamic wines from France and Italy that are all the rage these days.” The wine-shop-bar hybrid, a creation by Brooklynites Peter and Orenda Hale, shares the spotlight with hotspots like Death and Taxes in Raleigh N.C. and Morcilla in Pittsburgh. Size does not matter, this bar seats maybe six.

Guess it takes an outsider to recognize a good thing. Last month the Portland Phoenix nixed the place and its NYC heritage. The more polished food pub takes a different tack describing this “big city wine bar with a New England accent,” as a fine addition to Portland’s bottomless food scene.

“Drifters Wife effortlessly nails that date-night wine-bar vibe that city dwellers know so well. But what makes it better is that you’re nowhere close to Brooklyn: You’re on the coast of Maine, taking in that salty ocean air.”

On Aug. 16th the mag whittles this list down to 10. Catch this Drift!





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.