A restaurant that opened with fanfare is closing after only 15 months

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Photo by Troy Bennett

On Monday, Roustabout, the stylish Washington Avenue restaurant with a long bar and nautical theme, announced its closure. On its heels, Boston-based Island Creek Oysters confirmed its move — the one we told you was coming — a block away.

Across the street, Japanese pub Izakaya Minato is readying to open and next to Roustabout, former Tandem Coffee alum Vien Dobui’s pho shop Cong Tu Bot is on simmer until April. Washington Avenue is clearly not down for the count.

But Roustabout’s exit, after 15 months, leaves a giant hole.

When Kit Paschal and chef Anders Tallberg opened Roustabout in October 2015, they promised “an everyday place for visitors and locals.” With past stints at Boston hotspots like Eastern Standard and the now-shuttered, James Beard winning Hungry Mother in Cambridge, the cards were stacked in their favor.

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Located next to the much smaller Drifter’s Wife, Roustabout was a huge restaurant that opened with fanfare, but never seemed to find its footing. Was the menu too focused? The competition too steep? The space too large? The neighborhood still “up and coming?” Attempts to reach Paschal were unsuccessful.

We will forever remember this epic chicken sandwich on the weekend brunch menu with glee. So what went wrong?

“The past 15 months have been filled with challenges, excitement and reward,” Roustabout owners announced on Instagram. “However, it is with deep disappointment that after dinner service on Sunday January 8th, we have closed our doors for good.”

They thanked staff and guests for “making us their go-to neighborhood spot, cocktail bar, and family restaurant. We have been exceedingly fortunate to have such wonderful friends and neighbors on inner Washington and wish you all the best luck.”

Adding “we consider ourselves fortunate to be part the vibrant restaurant community in Portland, Maine.”

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.