SEBAGO — The sandwich counter at Jordan’s Store is about as basic as one can get at a mom-and-pop store. But don’t be fooled — this family store on the western shores of Sebago Lake is a special place.

Purchased by Carroll and Barbara Cutting in 1957, it still is operated by their family, and Barbara often pops in to talk with and help customers. Carroll Cutting also was deeply involved in his store as well as his community until his death last month at age 90.

For most of 50 years, Carroll Cutting helped record the ice-out on Sebago Lake for the water district and conduct fish surveys for state fisheries biologists. Jordan’s Store also has long served as a  weigh station for the annual ice fishing derby on Sebago, the state’s second largest lake.

With its slanty floors and monster brook trout and salmon mounts hanging above the glass deli display, Jordan’s Store looks very much as it has for the past 20 to 30 years. But the more important constant: how Jordan’s doubles as a communal town hall. Animated conversations and local tales can be heard here most days and all day long.

If you want to know where the fish are biting, where to rent a boat, or the best spot to hunt deer in the surrounding forestland? Jordan’s is your stop. If you just want a ham-and-cheese sandwich smothered with mustard after a day boating or fishing? They’ve got that, too.

After years of stopping in for story ideas, I finally bought a sandwich at Jordan’s two weeks ago. I was not disappointed, and not just because it was a perfectly good, juicy meat sub. The large ham Italian I ordered — filled with cheese, onions, tomato, pickles, green peppers and black olives ($6.19) – was fresh and satisfied my outdoor appetite. But what made it special was the conversation with the woman working the deli counter.

First, she asked if I wanted salt, pepper and oil (so often other sandwich shops don’t ask). Then, when I told her I usually follow a gluten-free diet, she suggested I bring in my own gluten-free bread next time.

There’s nothing fancy about the ham Italian at Jordan’s Store in Sebago, but it’s fresh, flavorful and satisfying after a day of hiking or fishing. Photo by Deirdre Fleming

“You’d let me do that?” I asked.

“I don’t see why not,” she said.

When I asked if I could call ahead, she was dumbfounded. “Everyone does. We’re a local store,” she replied.

This is how everyone at Jordan’s Store treats you. Whether you stop in once a day or once every two months, they treat you like you matter, your questions are valid, and your sandwich definitely should please. I wondered why I waited so long to grab lunch here.

Among a few dozen options, they’ve also got roast beef sandwiches ($5.59, $6.99), tuna sandwiches ($6.89) and veggie sandwiches ($4.89). On the hot side, Jordan’s offers meatball subs ($4.29, or with cheese $4.89) and chicken fillets ($4.89).

A simple menu, to be sure. But now that I live near the lakes district, my paddleboard and I will be stopping at Jordan’s Store more for lunch, not just for story tips … although I’ll still linger to take in the local conversation.

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