When Mainely Wraps opened on Grand Avenue in Old Orchard Beach earlier this year, it was just for the summer. The shop brought specialty wraps, salads and breakfast burritos to the beach town, feeding tourists down from Canada and up from New York.
And the diners liked it.
So a new, year-round location opened at the beginning of October in Scarborough, serving the summer staples from OOB and a few new additions.
During my recent visit, the sandwich shop was almost empty as it approached lunchtime, aside from an older gentleman taking a sandwich to go and a couple of teenagers chatting at a high-top table.
I ordered at the counter and took a seat to wait, scanning the display of enticing baked goods and trying to form a solid excuse not to buy one. Or four.
But as the clock went from 11:29 to 11:30 a.m., Mainely Wraps started filling up. All at once, it seemed, the tables were being taken over by locals who filtered in and asked each other, “Have you been here before?”
The menu is wrap-centric — hardly a surprise, given the to-the-point Mainely Wraps name. But the 14 or so wrap options might surprise lunchers who have grown used to wraps stuffed with the commonplace.
Wraps ($6.89 each) include the Sandy Shore, a tortilla stuffed with crispy bean fritters in a spicy ginger vinaigrette with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and red onion.
The Mount Blue boasts a roll of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery and house bleu cheese dressing tossed in a spicy buffalo sauce. The Nubble offers salami, ham, pepperoni, marinated mozzarella with red onion, lettuce, tomatoes and roasted red pepper relish. And seafood fans can sink into a Surfsider filled with solid white tuna, celery, seasoned mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and red onion.
But Mainely Wraps isn’t a one-trick, wrap-making pony. It also offers a handful of paninis, soups, salads and even a Knuckle Sandwich — otherwise known as a lobster roll (market price).
Amid the paninis is the Islander ($6.89), crafted with grilled chicken, oil and garlic-marinated fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, vine fresh tomato and spinach on ciabatta bread. The Club Sebago ($6.89) is piled with roasted turkey, applewood smoked bacon, smoked provolone and avocado aioli, and topped with fresh tomato and lettuce on ciabatta. The Grilled Cheese panini ($5.59) harkens back to lunches of your youth, and the Old Porter ($6.89) — with its corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut — harkens back to lunches at a New York delicatessen in 1914.
As fall takes over, the warming effects of a hearty soup appeal to diners in a way soup never could at the beach. Mainely Wraps’ soups of the day are made and priced daily, and can include vegetable barley, clam chowder, white bean, Italian wedding and others.
Newcomers will need to get acquainted with the menu. Luckily for folks who tend to flounder amid too many good choices, there’s the “pick two” option. For $6.89, diners can pair up a cup of soup, a half panini or a small salad.
It might take a while for Mainely Wraps’ new regulars to decide which of the wraps ranks highest, and which soup really hits the spot on a cold Wednesday afternoon. But there’s no rush. Mainely Wraps won’t be closing for the season again — and it will hopefully be around for a good long while.
The Features staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.