Thursday, February 01, 2007
our new project: Rabelais
So we're opening a bookshop in Portland, ME. Samantha and I have both been pondering the 'what next?' question for some time. We both like what we do, but wanted a different platform from which to do it. Before we moved from Brooklyn to Maine, Samantha left behind her photo editor job to attend the Institute for Culinary Education and earned a degree in Pastry Arts, but the wear and tear on cooks is great, and the pay just so so. I've been happy with my private bookselling business, but feel the need for more contact with customers, and also believe that there should be more outlets for new people to learn about book collecting.
My specialities have always been in the arts and modern thought: design, philosophy, architecture, photography and the like. But we've been collecting food and wine books for some time now, and Portland is a terrific town for eating and drinking. So our new shop will focus on gastronomy and its related pursuits. It's named Rabelais, after the French Renaissance creator of Gargantua and Pantagruel, and inventor (along with Cervantes) of the novel. We'll carry new, out-of-print and rare books to offer a more complete selection, and hopefully, to introduce the ordinary cookbook buyer to collecting. The subjects will range from haute cuisine to hamburgers, with rare copies of classics from the masters including Escoffier, Julia Child, MFK Fisher, Elizabeth David, James Beard, Curnonsky, AJ Liebling, etc. Selections of books on
oysters, mushrooms, heirloom herbs, organic growing, and of course wine, will all be present.
There will also be a selection of rare books in the fields I've worked in in the past, especially photography and modern design. And we have an area designated for small exhibitions of photographs, prints, and other art, much of it food related.
We plan to open in April if we can complete the design and buildout of the store. The shop will be located near the Old Port in Portland, on Middle Street next to Rob Evans' great restaurant Hugo's. The block is also home to many other restaurants, including The PepperClub, Norm's, Ribolita, and Duck Fat and is very nearby Micucci's wonderful Italian grocery, Sam Heyward's Fore Street and the piers for Island ferrys and cruise ships. In the meantime, you can check back here for progress reports, or peruse our nascent website: RabelaisBooks.com.
We're open to suggestions, and always looking to buy good single items or collections in the areas mentioned above.
Posted by don lindgren at 9:01 AM