June 13, 2013

Bar Guide: Flatbread Company in Portland

More than pizza and beer, here.

By Emma Bouthillette

Flatbread Company on Portland’s waterfront is probably best known for the fire-baked, amoeba-shaped pizzas. Little did you know the popular pizza joint has a great beer and wine selection to complement your dinner or just to enjoy on the outdoor patio.

click image to enlarge

Katie Margo, a bartender at Flatbread Company in Portland, serves up a Baxter Amber Road

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

FLATBREAD COMPANY

WHERE: 72 Commercial St., Portland
PHONE: 772-8777
WEBSITE: flatbreadcompany.com  
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekends
PARKING: On street
AMENITIES: Outdoor patio with picnic table seating
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes
SPECIALS: Rotating tap and di›erent vegetarian and meat-eater pizza specials each night
SCENE: A fire-baked pizza joint with a focus on locally sourced fresh foods and beer and wine
 

Flatbread Company was born in 1998 with its first location in Amesbury, Mass. The company has since expanded to include 10 locations with one in our very own Portland. I can’t name a time when I’ve been to the restaurant and not been put on a waiting list to be seated. It’s always busy, always full and always good.

My friend Anne and I went on a recent rainy evening to grab dinner and some drinks. The hostess indicated the wait for a table was 20 minutes, but luckily we were aiming to sit at the bar, which had a few free stools still available.

As many times as I’ve been to Flatbreads, I have never sat at the bar. It was a nice change of pace. Behind the bar there’s a long window with views of where water taxis bring people from shore to islands and vice versa. While we were sitting there, a type of sea bird perched on one of the dock’s wooden posts and Anne and I contemplated what kind of bird it was — we couldn’t quite figure it out and Flatbread’s staff didn’t seem to recognize the bird either.

After our distraction of the bird, we took to the menus. I asked about a cocktail menu, but Flatbreads keeps it simple. The bar offers beer and wine, which does include cider and a seasonal selection of sangria offered by the glass, half- or full-liter.

Flatbread’s mission to use locally sourced food crosses over to the bar’s beer list. All but three regular beers on tap are from Maine brewers and the rotating tap often features smaller microbrews like Funky Bow Brewery’s beer that I tried during a recent bar review.

I mention Funky Bow because I’ve see their So Folkin’ Hoppy brew pop up at various bars, but have yet to try it. Flatbreads did have it, but unfortunately for me that keg was dry.

Instead I opted for a pint of Fatty Bampkins cider and Anne went with Atlantic Brewing Blueberry Ale served by the bottle. Depending on what brew you select, you’re looking at spending between $3 and $7 a drink.

The wine side of the menu features some organic and sustainable white and red wines, plus other wine, port and Prosecco served by the glass or bottle. Wine selections average about $7 a glass. The seasonal sangria sounds like a great pick after a long sunny day, at $6 a glass or $23 to share a liter with a friend or three.

I have to be honest and say, while I love Fatty Bampkins otherwise, it wasn’t the best pick to go with the meat-eater pizza special of the night. It went much better with Anne’s vegetarian special that featured sweet potato as its base.

And my only gripe with Flatbreads bar is that it is limited to just beer or wine. I like to have my options unlimited and especially enjoy creative cocktails. That’s just personal preference though and I can understand the company’s decision. After all, beer and pizza do go together even when the pizza is topped with things like fiddleheads and organically raised pork.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.

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