Portland Penny Diner
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In 1845, a penny was flipped to determine who would name Portland: Frances Pettygrove or Asa Lovejoy. Had Lovejoy won, we'd all be living in Boston. Either way, it seems likely that we'd all be eating at the Penny Diner, chef Vitaly Paley's homage to old Portland and the diners of his youth, and also his second downtown restaurant in under a year. This breakfast, lunch and dinner spot features menu items like Reuben croissants, egg scrambles, burgers, hot dogs, and a nod the The King in the Lil' Elvis (a peanut butter and banana sandwich with jam, chocolate and—of course—bacon). The drinks menu, designed by bar manager Brandon Wise, also draws on the past with milkshakes, phosphates and PennyWise housemade sodas, as well as tap cocktails and specialty drinks (like the Portland Egg Cream made with Fernet Branca, chocolate syrup, cream and soda). Wise is also reviving "spoon drinks," which encourage sippers to build their own cocktails using sugar, ice and their choice of spirits and bitters. "I hope to make drinks personal at Penny Diner, as well as engaging and interactive,” Wise says. Chad Walsh, 12/5/2012