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Claire Jeffers

Claire Jeffers is a freelance writer living in Portland, Maine. Follow her on Twitter: @claireeats

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Posted: November 10, 2015

Mexican-style drinks, $25 bottles of wine & smoked meats at Terlingua in Portland

Written by: Claire Jeffers
Open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday, Terlingua offers nightly food and drink specials, plus a late night snacks menu. Claire Jeffers photo

Open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday, Terlingua offers nightly food and drink specials, plus a late night snacks menu. Claire Jeffers photo

The East End in Portland is home to an increasing number of neighborhood-style restaurants and bars. This past July, Terlingua opened shop on Washington Avenue, joining long-standing Silly’s and Eritrean eatery Red Sea, as one of the only restaurants on this stretch of road to get a decent bite and a drink.


Browse all Maine’s watering holes and eateries: Maine Restaurant & Bar Directory


Billed as a “boutique BBQ restaurant combining house-smoked meats and Latin American fare,” Terlingua is a hip spot that seats 36 (outdoor seating in the summer), including 10 at the bar. It’s hard to notice this place from the outside – there’s a tree in front of an already nondescript building – but owners Melanie Kratovil and Pliny Reynolds have transformed the interior to be a bright, modern room with a lively atmosphere.

Joe Ricchio’s “Margaricchio,” right, is a traditional Mexican margarita made with two wedges fresh lime, one wedge orange, tequila, simple syrup, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice, muddled and shaken vigorously.

Joe Ricchio’s “Margaricchio,” right, is a traditional Mexican margarita made with two wedges of fresh lime, one wedge of orange, tequila, simple syrup, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice, muddled and shaken vigorously.

One feature that no one else in town can claim is food writer Joe Ricchio. He works behind the bar Monday and Saturday nights and infuses his boisterous personality into drinks like the MargaRicchio or the DaiquiRicchio. The former is basically a traditional Mexican margarita made with fresh lime wedges and a single orange one along with tequila, simple syrup, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, muddled and shaken vigorously by Ricchio himself. Ricchio doesn’t skimp on the alcohol, so proceed with caution.

In addition to nightly cocktail specials, eight rotating taps (recently featured: Oxbow, Bissell Brothers, Maine Beer Co., Rising Tide) and Dogfish Head always on draft, Terlingua features a $25 bottle of wine every night, even if it’s regularly $48. Kratovil says that she and her husband want to encourage guests to drink wine with BBQ, so they’ve created a thoughtfully selected wine list with a nice variety of reds, whites, roses and sparkling.

As of two weeks ago, there’s an updated cocktail menu at Terlingua highlighting mezcal, tequila, rum and one whiskey drink. Bartender Patricia Davis, who hails from New Orleans, created the new menu, including a drink for two that’s served in a mason jar called “Hardy Punch.” The concoction will include seasonal flavors, such as apple, cranberry, orange and other spices, and is encouraged to be topped off with prosecco.

Open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday, Terlingua also offers a late-night snack menu after 9 p.m. Check their Facebook page for draft updates, beer dinners and other specials.

TERLINGUA

52 Washington Ave., Portland | 207-808-8502 | terlingua.me

HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. lunch; 5 to 9 p.m. dinner; Closed Tuesdays
AMENITIES: Joe Ricchio, smoked meat, ship-shape bar
PARKING: On-street
BOTTOM LINE: Terlingua is a small BBQ restaurant in Portland featuring smoked meats and Latin American fare. There are eight rotating local taps, a new cocktail menu featuring Southwestern- and Mexican-style drinks, and a nightly deal on rotating bottles of wine for $25. This is an ideal neighborhood hangout for drinks and/or dinner.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: No

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