South Portland — The restaurant business is cut-throat and extremely difficult, but one man was able to save his failing business by getting favored coverage from his many friends in the publishing business.
The South Portland restaurant Coal (stylized as “coal.”) has been serving expensive takes on traditional foods for years, but had a hard time catching on.
Even with items like farm-raised roasted duck, millet porridge, heritage Mesoamerican potatoes, and other foods once eaten by the poor, “coal.” failed to catch on.
But when the owner was going over his finances with his business team, he remembered the powerful people at influential magazines and media outlets that would help spread the word about his over-priced, pretentious eatery.
After a media blitz including multi-page layouts in magazines both national and local, such as Maine Magazine and Vanity Fair, as well as a segment on Vice about “eating real,” coal. is a tremendous success.
But the owner didn’t go too far. While he can no longer keep up with demand, with reservations taken months in advance, coal. still doesn’t turn a profit, and the owner is fine with that.
“I need a place where I can hide money,” he told us off the record. “To reduce my tax obligations.”