The name has changed, but everything else is the same. That’s good news at Maelily Ryleigh’s, a home-cooking cafe on Forest Avenue near Walton Street in Portland.

Back when it was known as Kathy and Dave’s, this place drew commendation for its low prices, good food and friendly neighborhood service. And now that it is known poetically as Maelily Ryleighs, it still has low prices, good food and friendly service.

I stopped in for lunch last week, after an interview nearby at the University of New England. I was in a hurry. My interview lasted until 12:15 p.m., and I had a staff meeting at 1. So time truly was at a premium.

My first impression was positive. The cafe was well-lit and clean, in an inviting sort of way. I was greeted immediately, and offered the choice of a table or a seat at the counter. I opted for the counter.

I debated breakfast or lunch, and ultimately opted for lunch. Within a minute — tops — I had placed an order for a grilled cheese sandwich and cup of haddock chowder ($7.25). I added a garden salad for $2.95.

Before me were strewn several newspapers, including the New York Times. I had enough time to peruse the Times sports section before my attentive waitress delivered my salad. It includes massive chunks of cucumber, green peppers and tomatoes, all of which required a knife to reduce to bite-size. There also were rings of red onion and shredded carrots. The lettuce was crisp, fresh and cold. It was a great start to my meal.

I returned to my paper, read a story about the struggles of the Yankees — a highlight of my day — and then put it aside. My meal was ready. I had been seated no more than eight to 10 minutes. Now granted, a salad can be quickly served, and chowder needs only to be scooped into a cup. And a grilled cheese is about as easy as it gets. But still.

The chowder was most impressive. I appreciated the large chunks of fish and potatoes, and I particularly liked the creaminess of the chowder. I drained every last drop.

The sandwich was the least remarkable part of my meal. But it was grilled cheese. I wasn’t expecting anything fancy or gourmet, but I got exactly what I ordered.

Within 15 minutes, I had my check and was out the door. My only regret was not finishing the story about the floundering Yankees.

The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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