The Flatbread Co. is all about the experience.

Founded in Amesbury, Mass., the company, owned by Jay Gould and John Meehan, used good food, talented employees and the help of many community members to expand into 10 successful locations.

The Portland location is huge, open and airy, located right next to the Casco Bay Ferry terminal and Ri Ra Irish Pub. There’s a sign as you walk in that thanks the countless people who helped create the restaurant. Hand-painted banners hang from the ceiling, and the kitchen, complete with a clay fire pit, is open for all to see.

Lining two sides of the restaurant are windows allowing diners a great view of the ocean. The deck has eight large picnic style tables — perfect for a hot August day. The employees all show off their own styles, and seem genuinely happy you are there.

Flatbread makes its sauce and dough from scratch, and uses only the best ingredients from local farms. All-natural, organic and chemical-free ingredients make the pizzas good for the mind and body. I highly recommend the nitrate-free pepperoni with mushrooms (it gives a whole new meaning to beer and pizza) or the “Coevolution” with Kalamata olives, red onions and peppers, and a blend of cheeses. There are weekly veggie and carne flatbread specials and a delicious, fresh salad to start, if you desire.

There are plenty of local beers on draft or in bottles, including Shipyard Export, Sebago Brewing Boathouse Brown, Allagash White, Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, Long Trail and many more, most in the $4 range. Glasses of wine are also available.

You can grab a seat at the bar to enjoy one of these beverages while you wait for a table. There’s also a lounge-type area just off the bar where you can relax in a cushy chair with a glass of vino.

Another wonderful thing about Flatbread is the way the company gives back to the community by holding benefit nights on Tuesdays. A portion of the sales for the night goes to whichever organization is chosen that week.

 

Amber Olesen is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.