Hugo’s restaurant in Portland will not reopen for fine dining

Big Tree Hospitality founders Andrew Taylor, left, and Mike Wiley inside Hugo’s in 2015. Gregory Rec / Personal Photographer

Hugo’s restaurant in Portland, closed since the start of the pandemic, will not reopen for fine dining.

The restaurant, a local institution, is owned by Big Tree Hospitality, the Biddeford-based group that also owns the adjacent Middle Street restaurants Eventide Oyster Co. and Honey Paw, among other businesses.

The permanent closure was announced Wednesday in an Instagram post that also outlined the restaurant’s history, from its 1988 opening as a bistro and piano lounge named for owner’s son Johnny Robinson to its ownership under Nancy Pugh and Chef Rob Evans, when Evans won the James Beard. Northeast Best Chef Award.

Big Tree founders Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith and Mike Wiley (who has since left the group) worked at Hugo for four years before buying the restaurant in 2012 from Pugh and Evans, who also own Duckfat.

The Instagram post said the owners “can’t say for sure what this space will become next,” but it will host parties and private events in the meantime.

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