She’s been dubbed one of the best chefs in the country, the world, Maine, Portland and Brunswick. Now Cara Stadler is teaming up with top wine guy Chris Peterman to open a vino emporium in the heart of Portland with a retail space to boot.
Lio (pronounced Leo) opens summer 2017 taking over a two-story space next to Styxx nightclub at City Center on Spring Street. The new concept, small sharable plates, “allows for a wine-focused dining experience and will give people the ability to purchase things they enjoy,” said Peterman, an experienced sommelier and the company’s director of operations.
Though the menu is still evolving, it will depart from Stadler’s famous Asian fusion at Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland’s West End and her flagship restaurant Tao Yuan in Brunswick. “It will be cool. Not Italian, not French, it’s going to be very much indicative of what’s available seasonally,” said Peterman, who is helping Stadler create Lio’s wine-driven cuisine.
The grape list will be “extensive, all over the world, all styles from sparkling to organic to biodynamic,” said Peterman. Located a merlot’s splash from MJ’s Wine Bar, will Lio upstage this oenophile destination?
“It’s a wine restaurant,” said Peterman, with emphasis on perfect pairings.
Similar to the Drifter’s Wife on Washington Ave., if you like the wine you are quaffing you can pick up a bottle in the attached retail store, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. “With all the hotels in the Old Port, people won’t have to go far,” said Peterman, noting there are few wine shops open downtown after dark.
The co-owners, which include Cecile Stadler, Cara’s mother, have signed a 10 year lease and start construction in January.