The Portland Pottery Cafe, a new little spot on Washington Avenue in Portland, combines two pastimes people love: eating and shopping.
An extension of the Portland Pottery studio and store, the cafe is filled with sturdy but attractive wooden tables and chairs, and lots of pottery is for sale on the shelves.
The cafe serves breakfast items all day and also has a menu of sandwiches and wraps, salads and sweets.
It recently started serving dinner as well, which is a little out of our price range but still reasonable — nothing costs more than $9.
I popped in for a breakfast sandwich one morning, a little after the morning rush, and the only other customers were people ordering coffees to go.
The egg sandwich comes with a fried egg, cheese and a choice of bacon, ham or sausage. It’s served on an English muffin or bagel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the egg wasn’t overcooked. The yolk still retained a little runniness, which is the way I like it. (It actually could have been a little runnier, and I would have been happy.)
The sandwich plus a medium coffee cost me $5 and change.
Other choices for breakfast include two eggs cooked to order with toast for $4.50; add a breakfast meat or veggies for $1 more.
Also on the menu are a cheese and vegetable omelette with a side salad ($5.50); bagel, lox, capers and cream cheese ($4); a fruit and yogurt parfait ($4); and a bowl of granola with milk or soy milk ($4).
All sandwiches and wraps are just $5, and they don’t seem to be your usual luncheon meat-and-cheese variety you get at some delis.
The sandwich menu includes sirloin tip, pulled pork, chicken Waldorf, a caprese, a grilled cheese with asparagus and tomato, and a peanut butter club made with banana, apple, nutella and fluff.
Dinners are for eat-in or take-out, and range from a cheese quesadilla for $6 to homemade meatballs, empanadas or pistachio pesto over pasta for $9.
When I first heard about the cafe, I winced at the thought of having lunch surrounded by awkward student pottery projects — you know, the kind of stuff that looks like it was made by a third-grader but the amateur potter thinks is worth $100.
But the shelves at the cafe are filled with lovely pieces priced very reasonably.
As I waited for my sandwich the day I visited, I fell in love with some little ceramic chickens on one of the tables.
The atmosphere is warm, welcoming and slightly funky (in a good way).
It would be even better with a little music — not anything loud, maybe a little quiet classical.
The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $7.