South Portland — When it comes to comfort food, Renaldo Altano’s Costoso Bistro is South Portland’s hottest new eatery.
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The renowned chef is known for taking traditional foods and adding his own funky spin.
Take the traditional Maine baked bean supper, served in countless “Beano” halls, rural homes, and church dinners. The meal itself is simple: baked beans, hot dogs, and brown bread.
But Altano’s version adds an extra $80 to the price tag. And the results speak for themselves.
“People cannot get enough of this traditional Maine dish,” Altano told us over the phone. He was busy preparing the night’s meal, a hot selling item for this Mainer-come-lately.
“My grandmother visited Maine when she was 18,” Altano said. That experience helped color his interest in Maine’s traditional cuisine.
“I thought, if she could visit Maine for three days in 1947, why couldn’t I open a restaurant in Maine?” From that idea sprung SoPo’s hottest new eatery.
“The molasses we use, I have it brought here from the Bahamas on traditional sailing ships. Some of my college friends are coopers and they make the barrels for me.”
While his fame seems to be blowing up, Altano doesn’t think anything of it. He’s just happy a meal traditionally enjoyed by the working class can be made far out of their financial reach.