Mae’s superstar fried chicken—lard is your friend!
This morning Maya Lovelace of Mae fame sent out an email announcing her next project: she’s opening a restaurant. The plan is to open in spring 2018; she is not revealing the restaurant’s name just yet, but rest assured that the food with be Southern comfort.
The majority of the project’s details are private but she did share these tidbits:
- They are very close to signing a lease on a restaurant space in Northeast Portland, near to where they’ve been doing their Mae dinners during the past couple of years (the back room of Old Salt Marketplace).
- There are two dining configurations planned, each happening on four days and four nights: a counter service spot and a family-style supper in a private dining room, in the template of Mae. Arithmetic indicates there will be days/nights of the week when there is some overlap.
- Her famous fried chicken will be a staple at the new place, and you’ll be able to eat the other familiar dishes from the Mae popups: cornmeal fried catfish, bacon braised collards, angel biscuits, pimento mac and cheese and other classics she makes. New dishes are also in the works.
- Also, for those concerned about sourcing and vibe: “The produce will be from the same farms, Zach will be roasting the coffee, and I’ll be telling you my stories. You’ll just be in different digs, and we’ll have drinks available for you!”
Why Open a Restaurant?
So why is she doing this instead of moving along as she has been? She received feedback during her popup dinners with the consistent wish of “Do more dinners or make it easier to get seats.” She and partner Zach elaborate on their reaction to this:
“We know that it has gotten really difficult to get seats at our dinners, and while we feel very lucky to be so busy, we also feel sad about it. The whole point of Mae is for us to meet you, feed you, and share our stories and love. Not being able to share with all of you has been really hard, and hearing your displeasure has been very difficult for me.”
Solution: open a restaurant where more people can come eat her food and enjoy her hospitality.
Paying For It
Lovelace also brought up the issue of paying for the new restaurant—they are planning on taking out loans, putting in a lot of sweat equity, and no doubt using their own money. They are also open to help (loans) from interested external parties who’d like to help finance the restaurant—if this sounds like you, email her at email@example.com. No silent partners, plz.
There will also be a Kickstarter up in the new year—and it sounds like some of the rewards could include cooking classes, recipe booklets, and private dinners, among others.
She is beyond grateful for all the support of the local community of eaters in Portland, and is looking forward to the day when she can open the doors to “our sparkling new temple of southern comfort.”
We wish her and her team all the best and look forward to stopping in the restaurant when it’s up and running.