First-of-its-kind, local-food-only restaurant slated to open in Portland

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In case you’re one of the few people not subscribing to our podcast Ink & Pine on iTunes — and thus, did not immediately get a copy of the latest episode deposited on your listening device automatically — click the “Play” arrow above to hear one of the more interesting interviews you’ll hear in a while.

For the latest edition of Ink & Pine — a news podcast I do in conjunction with our media partners at Maine Digital Press and The Forecaster — we talk to chef David Levi.

If you’re not familiar with David, he’s the restaurateur behind Vinland, an eatery that plans to exclusively use local food and products in its dishes (and in much of its furniture) when it opens, hopefully, next month.

On the Ink & Pine website, I describe our interview — which took place last Friday at Peloton Labs on Congress Street, and was posted online Monday — this way:

David Levi has worked in some of the most decorated and influential kitchens on Earth, and with his new Portland restaurant, Vinland, he plans to serve only local food. … Listen in to hear how top chefs in Italy and Denmark influenced Levi’s decisions about Vinland, how to fill a Maine kitchen with exclusively Maine foods, why lard has a bad rap and much more. Here, David Levi will discuss everything from a future Portland culinary school to foraging for edible mushrooms in New York City’s Central Park to the gourmet preparation of reindeer lichen. What food staples could be locally grown in Maine, but aren’t? Find out in this week’s podcast.

We really could have talked to David all day and not run out of interesting things to talk about. Food sustainability, the restaurant industry, different culinary heritages around the world, interesting foods that can be foraged in Maine. If you like food — And in a foodie city like Portland, who doesn’t? — you’ll eat this episode up.

Still want to know more? Check out a story by The Forecaster’s William Hall profiling Levi’s efforts (click here). Here’s an excerpt:

The locavore trend is nothing new, especially in foodie destinations such as Portland. But Levi is taking “local” to the extreme. Vinland will shun cooking staples such as olive oil, cane sugar, lemon and pepper, because they aren’t produced locally. The restaurant’s vegetables will be grown on nearby farms. The only salt used will be sea salt, harvested along the Maine coast.

David is still seeking investors to push this restaurant over the finish line, I should also point out, so if you listen to the podcast and feel so inclined to support the business financially, you can reach him to talk about that at dlevi@vinland.me.

As you may know at this point, Ink & Pine is a weekly podcast I co-host with Dan Bodoff of Maine Digital Press and Dylan Martin of The Forecaster. As I write every week when a new episode comes out, this is just another way for us in the BDN family of media outlets to deliver news and information to consumers of news and information.

In previous podcasts, we’ve brought in subject matter experts to talk about the Affordable Care Act, marijuana legalization in Portland and the prospects of so-called tar sands oil in South Portland, among other things. Listen through your computer or download episodes for your next run, workout at the gym or commute home.

Our back episodes are still timely, so catch up if you’re new to the show, and if our weekly podcasts can’t keep up with your insatiable podcast appetite, check out Dan’s other MDP programs about local music, food and pop culture.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.