As we all know, there are two things in life that are always guaranteed: Death and taxes. But don’t despair, because when it comes to a sure thing for a satisfying breakfast, lunch or midday nosh attack, you can always count on The Works Bakery Cafe.

I’ve been going there since my 1994 arrival in Maine, and will continue to do so indefinitely. Its location on Temple Street is in that sweet spot bordering the Old Port, and although countless businesses on either side of them have come and gone, The Works has remained steadfast, like a loyal friend that’s always available.

Since securing a full-time gig here at The Press Herald, I’ve become a die-hard regular at The Works, and like Norm at Cheers, I’m greeted by name or at the very least by a cheerful “you having the usual?” To veil my identity, I will not reveal the exact details of my daily breakfast, other than to say that it involves egg and spinach with just the right amount of salt and pepper and a toasted bagel, usually of the multi-grain variety ($3.09, add 50 cents if you’d like cheese).

If cream cheese is your bag, The Works won’t disappoint. A partial list of flavors includes plain maple raisin walnut, olive, veggie and my favorite, bacon scallion. Smoked salmon spread, as you can imagine, is also a popular one. On a bagel, these cost $2.29 to $2.69, while half-pound tubs go for $2.99 to $3.79.

On the breakfast (or anytime) front, The Works has several egg sandwich options available on a bagel, bread or wrap and ranging in price from $2.49 for scrambled eggs to $4.49 for the Western wrap.

There are 17 varieties of New York-style boiled and baked bagels, with added selections over the course of the year. Need a sodium fix? The salt bagel, toasted and lightly buttered, beats the pants off any pretzel. Want something that pairs perfectly with spinach? The tomato dill is just the ticket. As-is bagels are 99 cents apiece, six for $4.99 and a baker’s dozen for $8.49.


The Works is also home to a mouthwatering array of sandwiches (most cost $6.49), including fresh mozzarella, hummus, tuna, ham and Vermont cheddar, smoked salmon, Thai chicken and several others. Grab one of those, a bag of Deep River chips, a beverage and a cookie, and man alive, you are good to go. For an even more tempting lunchable, grilled-to-order paninis such as the roast artichoke or the tuna melt ($6.49 to $6.79) might be just the thing.

I might add that The Works also has two daily soup specials ($3.29 cup; $4.29 bowl) and a variety of salads including the Mediterranean, the chef and the caesar ($4.99 to $6.99). There’s also freshly squeezed orange juice and yogurt with granola. Point being, The Works is not just a bagel joint — it also offers a wide spectrum of edibles and beverages.

Speaking of beverages, if you just need a cup of fresh hot coffee, bring your own travel mug and knock yourself out for $1.50. Yes, they have paper cups, but if you’re thrifty like me, it’s worth it for your wallet and the planet to bring your own vessel. And yes, they’ll also make you a cappuccino or a latte, and they have iced coffee.

You can also take home full or partial loaves of ciabatta, sourdough, Jewish rye and nine-grain loaves, among others, for $4.79 a pound.

Thanks, Works, for having consistently good food and drinks, for having staff who make me laugh, and more often than not, for playing decent music. Should you need to show you really, truly care about me, you’d bring back the banana walnut bagel. I’ll be waiting.

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


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