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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 10, 2015

Dining Guide: 5 newish Portland-area places to try for brunch

Like most urban areas, Portland has plenty of good options for that favorite pastime – going out for brunch. But if you’ve been returning to the same places every weekend, here are five newer options to check out.

Written by: Susan Axelrod


59 Washington Ave., Portland | 207-536-4008 |
The city’s newest restaurant represents another step in the revamp of once-gritty Bayside. Design-wise, the industrial-meets-nautical space pays homage to Portland’s working waterfront, while earthy Italian dishes anchor the menu. Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; offerings include eggs baked in tomato sauce and french toast with housemade ricotta, as well as pastas, salads and sandwiches.


Lolita on Munjoy Hill. Photo by Ted Axelrod

Lolita on Munjoy Hill. Photo by Ted Axelrod

90 Congress St., Portland | 207-775-5652 |
A small plates-focused menu offered all day, wood-fired grill and substantial wine list are the hallmarks of this Munjoy Hill restaurant from Guy and Stella Hernandez, who formerly owned Bar Lola. The modern, re-designed former coffee shop also features a hand-cranked prosciutto slicer and hand-pulled espresso machine. (The Spanish subtitle vinoteca + asador refers to the wine and grill.) At brunch, served Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m., try the eggs with spiced tomato sauce baked on the wood grill.


Sur-Lie on Free Street. Press Herald file photo

Sur-Lie on Free Street.
Press Herald file photo

11 Free St., Portland | 207-956-7350 |
Sur Lie follows the small plates concept, which owner Tony Alviar describes as “sharables.” There’s plenty of sharing going on at this sophisticated, yet friendly downtown eatery, which has been hopping since it first opened its doors. The bar is somewhat of a “scene,” while the dining room, with well-spaced tables, makes for a more traditional setting in which to enjoy chef Emil Rivera’s imaginative dishes, including homemade apple cider donuts at brunch, offered Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Slab in the old Portland Public Market building. Claire Jeffers photo

Slab in the old Portland Public Market building. Claire Jeffers photo

25 Preble St., Portland | 207-245-3088 |
The Slab — that pillowy Sicilian pizza once available only at Miccuci Market — now has its own restaurant, the creation of chef Jason Loring (of Nosh Kitchen Bar) and Stephen Lanzalotta, who made the iconic pie famous in the first place. Packed from the day it opened, Slab offers huge portions of well-made dishes, including sandwiches and salads as well as the pizzas, served on wooden boards or in paper boats. At brunch, offered on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., you’ll find hangover helpers like the French toast slab with sunnyside-up egg, sausage, and honey.


517 Ocean House Rd., Cape Elizabeth | 207-799-0270 |
The original Rudy’s was a Cape Elizabeth institution for decades. The new Rudy’s is stylish, yet casual, with rustic design elements and fresh flowers in blue Mason jars on every table. The menu lists fresh takes on classics, from buttermilk fried chicken with onion jam and shaved Parmesan to deviled eggs and fish & chips. The brunch menu — offered  Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. — includes a crispy fried chicken sandwich and burgers, in addition to more traditional breakfast dishes.

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