Owner of acclaimed Biddeford diner reveals plans for Portland Jewish deli

Chad Conley. Photo by Greta Rybus.

If Chad Conley can do for pastrami on rye on Forest Avenue, what he’s done for the tuna fish sandwich in Biddeford, expect lines around the corner when Rose Foods opens in late July.

The co-chef and co-owner of the critically acclaimed Palace Diner in Biddeford plans to open a bagel shop celebrating the Jewish food culture of New York City’s Lower East Side. Russ and Daughters and Katz Deli inspired him, but the destination smoked fish shop Schmaltz Appetizing in Toronto was the trigger.

“That was the lightbulb moment for me. It’s a great shop, really unique style of service and unique menu,” said Conley on this week’s Coffee with Cooks, below. “I walked in and fell in love immediately and thought this is what Portland could support.”

Add homemade bagels, such as whole grain rye made with Maine Grains, chicken soup, smoked salmon and small-batch coffee from Parlor in Brooklyn and off-the-peninsula noshing has another winner in the wings.

Taking over Brea lu Cafe, the breakfast spot on Forest that suffered a fire and moved to Westbrook, Rose Foods joins Woodford F and B in this burgeoning stretch of top-notch grub.

“I am just excited to start selling chicken soup and matzo ball soup and for the retail element of the business, where you can come in and buy whitefish salad, smoked salmon and enjoy it at home,” said Conley, who got his start at Duckfat in Portland as well as the swank Jean-Georges in NYC¬†and Gather in Yarmouth.

A bagel from the Rose Foods test kitchen. Photo by Chad Conley.

Comfort food served minus pretension is the goal with a quality cup of joe. Conley has taught himself to make bagels the Rose Foods way. That may mean Portland soon has a style for the traditional doughy disc. Move over Montreal and NYC.

“There is not a place in Portland with a full-scale restaurant and a bagel that I would want to eat every day,” said Conley.

See you in line.

Rose Foods, 428 Forest Ave., Portland. Opens in late July.


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.