November is going to be a great time to head to Portland for a fantastic meal.
Executive Chef Ronnie Medlock (Mellen Street Market) is cooking up some Puerto Rican inspiration with a new restaurant, Papi. It’s a Puerto Rican Bar and Kitchen on Exchange Street where the old LuLu Lemon was. I’d rather have an empanada than stretchy pants any day.
This new restaurant is from the Miranda Group, which brought you Blyth and Burrows and ViA VECCHiA. It’s actually at Byth and Burrows that you probably had Boss Hogg’s Empanadas from their pop-up.
Joshua Miranda of the Miranda Group told Portland Old Port,
Everything was just so good and not easily found around Portland. One bite and I thought to myself I could eat this every day.
Papi will be a mix of Chef Ronnie Medlock and his childhood memories and Beverage Director LyAnna Sanabria. Ronnie is no stranger in a kitchen and remembers as a kid associating food with love and family. You are either raised where food is a love language or sadly you aren’t. Chef Ronnie knows that you can make lasting memories with special food. And he is a master.
There will be Puerto Rican-inspired food at Papi’s including Mofongo made from fried green plantains, seasoned with garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings, then mashed. There will be Pernil (slow-cooked pork roast), Pinchos (meat skewers), Alcapurrias (root vegetable fritters), and of course Chef Ronnie’s eat-every-day-empanadas.
Then you add LyAnna Sanabria, who is a very well-known bartender bringing her expertise in craft cocktails to compliment the menu. Her father is from Puerto Rico and her mother is from Maine – so Papi is perfect. She’s got all sorts of Ideas on how to create a fun, tasty cocktail. Like she told Portland Old Port,
I want to create a bar that I want to drink at- one of pure, unadulterated Puerto Rican joy. Our hospitality is special. It’s full, it’s warm, it’s loud, it can hurt.
Be prepared to be in some warm, fun pain starting sometime in November! It’s expected to be open seven days a week from 4 pm – 12 am.