Vendor tour: Grace Restaurant

August 15 • 2012

This week we spoke with Anne Verrill, one of the owners of Grace Restaurant on Chestnut St. in Portland.  She gave us a little background information on this historical building, as well as some tips on having your rehearsal dinner or even wedding here!

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: Tell us a little about the history of Grace Restaurant.

Amy Cole Ives, a historic-preservation consultant told us that this circa 1856-57 building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of the few surviving examples of early Gothic Revival style in Portland. The building dates to before the Civil War, which is important because so many buildings of that era were destroyed in the big Portland fire of 1866.

L&L: You have such a beautiful space!  What inspired you to convert it to a restaurant?

GRACE: In looking for a second restaurant, we knew that we had to find a very unique space for it to fit into the already competitive and fantastic food scene in Portland. After looking at space after space, our realtor brought us to Chestnut Street Church and it blew us away.

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.restaurantgrace.com target=_blank>Grace</a>

L&L: What kinds of events do you typically host at your space on Chestnut St?

GRACE: Our main focus is the restaurant, which has a lot of unique possibilities for any night, whether it is special occasion dinners or a night of cocktails and appetizers at the bar. Our lower level is special in that it still has 9 foot ceilings and 6 foot bay windows and is carved into two rooms, a small “board room” and a “Great Room” that has the ability to host anything from a business dinner complete with a large screen television for presentations, to weddings which we do almost every weekend June- October as well as some really beautiful winter weddings. We do fundraisers, class reunions, retirement parties, holiday parties, and everything in between.

L&L: We love your fun cocktail names and Maine-themed menu.  Does your menu change often?  Do you take special requests for rehearsal dinners and weddings as well?

GRACE: Our menu changes constantly. We try to utilize as many local ingredients as possible and work with farmers and other local purveyors in order to do so. We do have a lot of special requests, from signature cocktails to cakes in the shape of a stack of pancakes for one couple that got engaged over a special breakfast.

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.restaurantgrace.com target=_blank>Grace</a>

L&L: What is your availability for private events?  How far in advance should couples book, and how many people does the space hold?

GRACE: We book out pretty far in advance because of the demand of the space, but we have also hosted last minute weddings and rehearsal dinners. Our various spaces can hold anywhere from 10-150 and many people will rent out the entire church and in that case we can hold up to 300.

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: Have you hosted many weddings?  What has been the most memorable event at Grace?

GRACE: We have hosted over 100 weddings. We have had every type of reception you can imagine. We have had shaman’s, dances in pig troughs, a 40 person choreographed dance routine, and a gospel choir. Our clients continually surprise us.

L&L: Have you received any requests to cater events?  If so, what kind of menu might you offer?  What size event might you consider catering for?

GRACE: We do receive requests to cater off-site, but at this time we do not offer that service.

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: What are you future goals for Grace?

GRACE: We hope to continually grow. We love what we do and think that our site, service and food quality speak for itself. We are always looking forward and trying to stay innovative and exciting.

L&L: What “must-see” places and eateries do you suggest to folks from out of town check out while visiting Portland, Maine?

GRACE: Miyake, Eventide Oyster Company and The Well in Cape Elizabeth are doing some really great things with food. Back Bay Grill is a consistent winner for food, service and ambiance. My staff loves the quiet and classic nature of the Armory inside The Portland Regency for an after dinner drink. Nothing beats a trip to Pine Point Beach for a beautiful beach day, a walk around Mackworth Island,  or a show at the State Theatre which is consistently getting great music acts. There are brewery tours, boats to take out and lovely shops all around Portland. You can’t pick a better city to get married in!

Grace Restaurant<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: Thank you for giving us an inside peek into Grace Restaurant.  If readers want to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to reach you?

GRACE: To speak with our event coordinator, contact Sabin Beckwith at sabinbeckwith@resturantgrace.com or call at 207-828-4422.  Or visit our website, or Facebook page.

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