BUSINESS BEAT: Charming Portland & Rochester Public House Opens

Garrett Fitzgerald, at  the Recently Opened Portland & Rochester Public House

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,501)

“We wanted to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.  The goal was to get rid of that cold, dark place that was here before,” said Garrett Fitzgerald of his recently opened Portland & Rochester Public House, at 118 Preble Street. Formerly it was a sports bar.  The Public House held a soft opening last month on July 10th, the way the two Munjoy Hill residents wanted it to be.  This cozy restaurant has remained very much under the radar – that is until Fitzgerald  put up a new sign outside last night – bringing warranted attention to the venue.

Fitzgerald and his girlfriend, Tegan Curry,  have excelled at turning it into a charmng restaurant and bar. On the left the bar has been totally redone – new flooring and a new bar.  On the right, the dining room shines like the small golden gem that it is.   It’s amber walls are beautifully matched with large wooden beams giving the room a simple elegance unusual in the area.  An old wooden barn door from Alice Duncan’s salvage business slides between the dining room and the kitchen when it isn’t in use. Curry, who is a jewelry maker, is responsible for the flowers in front and fresh bouquets on each table.

Although mhn.com did not have an opportunity to order from the menu during her short, impromptu visit this afternoon, it looks like another shining opportunity to look forward to in the near future.  The dining room menu includes poached salmon, roasted chicken, scallops & bacon, grilled culote steak and more.  There are starters such as local oysters, salmon tartare, clam chowder, etc.   There is also an impressive pub menu including scotch eggs, local oysters and putine. Prices are from $6.5 to $12.  The bar menu looks intriguing as well.  Menu prices range from $17. to $23.

Fitzgerald, who is from Prince Edward Island, owns a popular restaurant in Bar Harbor, the three year old, Lobster Pound.  But it’s a seasonal restaurant and he wanted a year round restaurant.  Last December the attractive couple were bowling at the nearby Bayside Bowl and noticed the for rent sign on the building.  That’s when it all came together for them. Since January, the two have been busy putting their own imprint on the Public House.  The name is inspired by a railroad that once ran on the Boston & Maine line in the area.

The Portland & Rochester Public House is open seven days a week from 3 pm – 1 am.  Dinner is served from 6 pm – 10 pm with several specials each evening. At a later date, it might be open for lunch as well.

For more information, please email Garrett Fitzgerald at: gjkfitz@gmail.com