Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Meredith Goad firstname.lastname@example.org
The offerings at St. Joe’s Coffee are just heavenly.
The roasted pork loin sandwich at St. Joe’s is stuffed with pork, caramelized onions, crisp apples and sharp cheddar cheese. Behind is an order of Bennies – a version of beignets, covered in powdered sugar. St. Joe’s Coffee in Scarborough has creative fare at better than fair prices.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
St. Joe’s Coffee in Scarborough.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
WHERE: 220 Gorham Road, Scarborough; 883-8835; stjoescoffee.com
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
WAIT: 5 to 10 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: There’s a nice wheelchair ramp but also a small, single step at the doorway
If you are a fan of egg sandwiches and haven’t yet been to St. Joe’s Coffee, you’re missing out.
I’d heard about how special this little place out by the mall is, but hadn’t had a chance to stop by yet. And, well, it’s by the mall, so how good could it be?
But the folks who whispered in my ear were right, and now I’m whispering in yours.
Let’s start with those egg sandwiches. How many times have you wanted something with your egg besides the standard slice of cheese or, maybe, a piece of bacon or sausage? St. Joe’s puts their creative hat on and comes up with much more interesting options than most places, and at a lower price.
Even better, for breakfast lovers like me, they serve their egg sandwiches all day long.
At St. Joe’s they call their egg sandwiches “Egg Biscuits” because they come on large, but light, homemade biscuits. The most basic is an egg-and-American cheese variety that goes for $3.25. Add bacon and tomato and switch the cheese to cheddar, and you have the Betsy for $4.25. You get the idea.
Where it gets interesting is the Southwestern, which comes with chorizo sausage, sweet and spicy peppers and American cheese, and The Mushroom, which comes with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic and herb cream cheese. I tried the Popeye, which was a folded omelet cooked with garlicky spinach and feta cheese, placed on the delicious biscuit with slices of tomato ($4).
None of the sandwiches cost more than $4.95, and the more expensive ones tend to be meat heavy (one has ham, sausage AND bacon). The Chuck features steak instead of sausage, served with caramelized onions and horseradish cream cheese. This is not the egg sandwich you’ll find at your local corner convenience store.
St. Joe’s also serves several healthier choices that use egg whites and are served on a toasted English muffin. The Summer Pesto, for example, is made with basil and sun-dried tomato pesto and fresh tomatoes ($4.50).
Now let’s swing back the other way. Instead of standing at the corner of happy and healthy, we’ll slip across the street to the corner of rich and decadent.
St. Joe’s is named after the patron saint of workers, whose feast day is celebrated by eating zeppole, Italian fried dough balls that are cousin to the French/Cajun beignet. They are a specialty of St. Joe’s, and are called “Bennies” on the menu. These little bites of hot dough, covered in powdered sugar, can be ordered in servings of 4, 8 or 12, and they come with your choice of sauce – chocolate, blueberry or maple-cinnamon. These are substantial little treats, and they’re rich, so a serving of four should be plenty for one or two people, unless you have a raging sweet tooth. My best advice: Eat them right away, while they’re still hot, even if it means having dessert first.
St. Joe’s is small – there are just five tables for two if you want to eat in – but everywhere you look there is something to tempt you. A small pastry case is filled with doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and pastries. A sign on the counter announces that the iced tea flavors that day include cranberry apple ginger and white pomegranate. Large chalkboard menus in front of the ktichen outline both breakfast and lunch options, which include specialty sandwiches (Wasabi tuna, roasted pork loin with caramelized onions, crisp apples, honey mustard and sharp cheddar cheese) and a variety of creative grilled cheeses for around $6. A children’s menu is a recent addition.
There is also a wide selection of coffee and tea drinks, with some interesting flavor options. You can get a Mexican iced coffee, and a variety of lattes. I chose a pumpkin chai because in this world of pumpkin-flavored everything I’d never seen one before. I admit I was expecting to be disappointed. Most commercial chai drinks are sickeningly sweet, and so many pumpkin-flavored products taste artificial. Boy, was I surprised. Although this really tasted, to me, more like a pumpkin latte without the coffee than a pumpkin chai, the pumpkin part was probably the most natural pumpkin flavor I’ve ever had in something that didn’t actually contain pumpkin. It felt like I was drinking a pumpkin pie that had been made with fresh pumpkin, not the canned stuff.
Bottom line: St. Joe’s serves creative casual fare at fair prices, with more variety in flavors and ingredients than you find at a typical coffee shop. I’ll be going back to St. Joe’s to try some more of those sandwiches. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: