Ela Market and Grill in Falmouth Photo by Meredith Goad

If you live in Falmouth, or in the North Deering area of Portland, chances are that at some point you’ve driven by, or stopped into, the little market near I-295’s Bucknam Road exit.

The name of the market/variety store has changed over the years, from Page’s Country Store to Nina’s Variety and now Ela Market & Grill. But it’s still a convenient spot to grab a sandwich, coffee, breakfast sandwich or pizza. It’s especially good for commuters headed to I-295 since the market sits at the junction of Bucknam, Middle Road and Allen Avenue Extension.

The new owners, who also owned the former Falmouth House of Pizza, have added a huge pizza menu to the mix. Much of the menu has a Greek flair to it, reflecting the owners’ heritage. In addition to eggplant parm and steak bomb sandwiches, for example, the market makes gyros, Greek pizzas and Greek salads.

The market has online ordering, so for convenience, I placed my order that way, and it was ready by the time I arrived. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

Chicken bomb sandwich made with souvlaki chicken and smothered in tzatziki sauce. Photo by Meredith Goad

I ordered the chicken bomb sandwich – a grilled roll filled with marinated souvlaki chicken, provolone and grilled mushrooms, onions and peppers. The sandwich was topped with tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. It cost $10.79, and I paid $1.49 extra for tzatziki sauce.

The chicken was deliciously seasoned, and the sandwich was really big – enough for two if you’re looking for a small, casual lunch. My only complaint was the mushrooms were so tiny, you practically needed a magnifying glass to see them. They were really bits of chopped mushrooms (and not very many of them), which made me wonder if the kitchen was about to run out of mushrooms when they made the order.

I also ordered an appetizer called Our Famous Cheese Wedges ($9.25) because, well, when anyone puts the word “famous” into the name it’s kind of like a challenge. The description reads: “Fresh pizza dough baked with crushed garlic, dried oregano and melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese.” Maybe it was my pandemic brain, but this actually seemed to be – at least to me – a cheese pizza, similar to those delicious Two-Cheese Garlic Sticks that Otto markets as breadsticks but are really more like a cheese pizza cut into sticks instead of slices. They certainly didn’t look like “wedges.” That’s not a complaint, just an observation.

In fact, these “wedges” were so good (I liked them better than the sandwich), it made me want to order a pizza the next time I stop by the market. I’ve got my eye on the Athenian, which is covered in homemade sauce and cheese and topped with bacon, fresh spinach, red onion, oregano and feta cheese.

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