PORTLAND – Foley’s Bakery, the former Congress Street establishment that was known for its glistening fruit tarts, quarter-pound cookies and multi-layered mousse cakes, is re-opening next month in a storefront on Monument Square.

Ed and Molly Foley of Gorham started and ran the original Foley’s Bakery at 341 Congress St. from 1997 to 2002. They are returning to the baking business after taking a nine-year break to focus on raising their two sons.

Now, their sons are grown and the couple is looking forward to taking over space in the Monument Way building that was formerly occupied by the Mousse Cafe & Bakeshop, next to Longfellow Books.

“We hope the reception will be as good as it was at the first location,” Molly Foley said. “We looked at several other locations in greater Portland, but we knew the foot traffic in Monument Square would be a major factor.”

Molly will run the front end and Ed will do the baking, possibly with help from their youngest son, Brendan, who is thinking about joining the family business, his mother said.

Ed Foley was born in Portland and grew up in Falmouth. He learned how to bake at the Black Point Inn in Scarborough, where he started off mowing lawns and wound up in the kitchen. His early career took him to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., where he perfected his blueberry muffin recipe and met his wife, who ran the hotel’s golf course.

The couple moved to Washington, D.C., where he was a pastry chef at the Tivoli and Watergate bakeries. He regularly made confections for the White House, including the “departure cake” that was on the plane when President Ronald Reagan left office.

He was a chef instructor at the New England Culinary Institute for two years before the couple came to Maine and fulfilled their dream of opening their own bakery. Located near City Hall, the business was doing well when they sold it in 2002, but they wanted jobs that would allow them to focus on their then-teenage boys, Molly Foley said.

Since then, Ed has worked as office manager for an excavating company and Molly has worked for local trust and investment firms.

“We realized a few years ago that the dream never really died,” Molly said. “My husband doesn’t belong in an office. He’s too talented.”

Still, the couple are excited and nervous to be going out on their own again.

“The current economy presents an opportunity for people willing to take a start-up chance,” Ed Foley said. He said the couple found a prime commercial space at a competitive rate and bought much of the bakery’s equipment used.

The Foleys got serious about re-opening about a year ago, Molly Foley said. The bakery will offer many of the items that customers favored at the Congress Street location, including breakfast pastries, coffee cakes, scones, wedding and birthday cakes, fresh-brewed coffee and possibly savory pastries for the lunch crowd.

“We will use only top-quality ingredients and things you can pronounce, like butter, eggs, flour and sugar,” Molly Foley said.

The bakery will open in May, Ed Foley said, depending on when the city issues necessary permits.

It will have five or six tables for customer seating indoors and likely a few tables on the square in nice weather.

The Monument Way storefront is lined with windows, including along an interior mall area, which will allow the public to watch Ed Foley in action. That won’t bother him, he said, especially given his experience as a chef instructor.

“I’ve been on display most of my life,” he said. 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:
[email protected]


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