Portland, Maine’s Iconic Back Bay Grill Closing Its Doors for Good
Today, I was reminded of the famous Geoffrey Chaucer line, "All good things must come to an end." That is certainly true with the news that came out about one of Portland, Maine's most treasured restaurants, Back Bay Grill.
The iconic restaurant that originally opened in 1987 is closing its doors for good.
The announcement was made on Back Bay Grill's Facebook page. Owner Larry Matthews Jr. wrote a brief, heartwarming note thanking his staff and the community for all the wonderful years of service.
According to the restaurant's website, Larry has been the owner since 2002 after he bought it from Joel Freund. Larry had been working at the restaurant in the 90's before becoming the owner.
The restaurant would go on to have monumental success, earning yearly accolades for Wine Spectator and numerous James Beard nominations and semifinalist runs. Matthews was even invited to attend the Discovery Series at the James Beard Foundation.
Larry and the kitchen staff's food was absolutely incredible at Back Bay Grill. The preparation and creativity always shined on the plate.
However, it was their service that truly stole the show. You could go years eating out without coming close to the type of experience you would have going there.
One of the main reasons was the incredible front-of-house leadership from legendary General Manager, Adrian Stratton. He and his staff were always in the best mood, had the best wine recommendations, and treated every guest with the upmost respect. The staff was certainly a major reason why the James Beard Awards were always looking at Back Bay for their outstanding service.
With Larry commanding the kitchen and Adrian running the front, you couldn't find many better combos in Portland, or really anywhere. It was first-class dining.
As you can probably tell, this one hits hard for me. I have the fondest memories of anniversary dinners and "burger nights" with my wife at Back Bay Grill. The experience was always different, but always so consistently perfect.
I will miss the truffle popcorn, the perfect Grüner Veltliner (thank you, Adrian for the suggestion), the butter with the logo, the asparagus door handle, the incredible pasta dishes, the homemade chips, the perfect roasted chicken, the Pilsner Urquell, the first and last bites, and the amazing desserts.
Most of all, I'll miss the best crew you will ever come across, in the most unpretentious high-end restaurant there will ever be.
Thank you to Larry, Adrian, the staff, and all of those in the past that helped make this restaurant what it was. The Portland restaurant scene was lucky to have Back Bay Grill.