The reopened Bathras Market in South Portland’s Willard Square is a very cool piece of local history.

Not to mention a new place to get sandwiches and pizza on your way to Willard Beach this summer.

Bathras Market was originally a traditional corner store run by George and Christina Bathras from 1954 to 1989. It’s in the bottom floor of an old two-story building in the middle of the square, next door to Scratch Baking Co.

The store remained vacant for years until the original owners’ grandson, Timothy Bathras, decided to re-open the market with his wife, Kate. Doors opened in early May.

The new Bathras Market has a fresh coat of yellow paint and a purple awning on the outside, plus a complete but tasteful makeover inside. There are historic touches throughout, such as old metal door handles advertising bread companies, a mid-20th century phone and a gumball machine that only costs 1 cent. (One gumball per visit please, says a sign.)

The market is focused on natural, organic and local food. In the back is a deli counter serving up soups and sandwiches at lunch time and pizza in the late afternoon and early evening. The goal of the new market is to sell sandwiches all day long. The market’s staff stresses that all the food is made with natural ingredients.

Soups range from $3.75 and $4 a cup to $7.75 a bowl and include Thai carrot ginger bisque, clam and haddock chowder, and a braised kale and fennel sausage soup, with the sausage coming from Farmers’ Gate Market in Wales. All soups are gluten-free, while the Thai carrot ginger bisque is vegetarian and dairy-free. The soups are made in-house by chefs Eric Pray and Colin Kelly.

Salads, available in a cold case, range from $6.75 for a garden salad to $7.75 for a Greek salad or an arugula and endive salad. There are also Caesar salads for $7.25.

The sandwiches include made-to-order Italians on rolls from Rosemont Bakery. Basically, you can pick any meat, cheese and veggies you want. A veggie-only sandwich costs $5.99, and one with meat is $6.99 (higher for prosciutto and a couple of others).

I ordered an Italian with Black Forest ham, honey maple turkey, provolone, onions, lettuce, tomato, green peppers and red peppers. It was about as big a sandwich as I’ve seen, and looked like a loaf of Italian bread that had been stuffed full of meat and veggies before baking.

The roll was wonderful, just chewy and doughy enough, but crusty enough as well. The meats were piled high and very flavorful. I only ate half, and saved the other half for the next day. Overall, a great sandwich for $6.99.

I also sampled a cup of haddock chowder, which was on special for $3.25. It had lots of tender fish and potatoes, and was very creamy and flavorful — almost sweet. It had a nice milky base that wasn’t too thick.

There are also some larger speciality sandwiches, such as a house-made pastrami with sauerkraut for $9.99 and a Buffalo pulled pork with Granny Smith apple and celery root slaw for $9.99. There are also lobster rolls at market prices.

The pizzas, served from about 3 or 4 p.m. until about 8 p.m., start at $8.99 for a 14-inch cheese pizza on a garlic, beer and wheat dough. Toppings are $1.50 for veggie and $2.25 for meat. There’s also a 12-inch gluten-free pizza, starting at $8.99 for cheese.

Because of the store’s location, it’s a great place to pick up food on the way to several waterfront attractions close by, including Willard Beach ( a two-minute walk), the shoreline walking path at Southern Maine Community College, Bug Light Park and Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse.

The features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7.