Clayton’s Cafe & Bakery on Route 1 in Yarmouth. Photo by Eric Russell

Clayton’s Café & Bakery on Route 1 in Yarmouth is under new ownership, but with the rest of the staff still in place, its quality hasn’t changed.

The popular breakfast and lunch spot for locals and anyone traveling north of Portland is a great and affordable option. Most everything is made fresh on site, and what’s not is sourced locally.

On a recent weekday, I stopped in at about 11:30 a.m. The place was buzzing and only got busier.

I surveyed the menu, which was comprehensive but not overwhelming. There were cold and grilled sandwiches, wraps and salads, along with an assortment of daily soups. It was still cold outside, so a hot sandwich seemed appropriate.

I toggled between a few options – the grilled marinated sirloin sandwich ($10.95), the Thai chicken satay ($8.50) and the grilled black forest ham and brie ($9.25) – before settling on the chicken.

Then I lingered for a while on the soup list ($4.50 for a cup, $6 for a bowl). There were standards like turkey noodle and vegetarian French onion, and more exotic choices, such as barbecue beef, bean and rice, and Jamaican jerk chicken. I passed on the soup this time, but they looked and smelled delectable.


The default bread for the sandwiches is Borealis sourdough, and I didn’t object.

The wait, I was told, would be 10-15 minutes. As I waited, I walked around the café, which includes plenty of indoor seating, a display case of side salads – potato, pasta, broccoli, all made fresh – a separate case of baked goods, and a coffee counter serving Coffee By Design. On another day, I may have gotten a maple pecan bacon brownie to take home.

The Thai chicken satay grilled sandwich at Clayton’s Cafe & Bakery was a delicious lunch option. Staff photo by Eric Russell

My sandwich was ready, wrapped in paper and presented in a paper bag. I took it to a small table near the door and unwrapped it. Right away, I could smell peanuts.

The sourdough was slightly blackened and crisp. In between was grilled chicken and sauteed red peppers and onions, with a topping of green leaf lettuce and tomato. A layer of rich and slightly spicy peanut sauce held it together – enough to get a full authentic Thai flavor, but not so much that it becomes messy.

The chicken was moist and tender, the vegetables slightly mushy, but the peanut sauce helped the sandwich stand out. It looked and tasted fresh and I wished it were slightly bigger, or that I had gotten some soup to go with.

The café has plenty of other options, too, and not just for lunch. At breakfast, patrons can choose from a host of made-to-order egg sandwiches. I made a mental note for mornings when I might forget to have breakfast at home.

Clayton’s has been a fixture in Yarmouth since the 1990s, run by longtime owners Martha and Dave Clayton. It started as a gourmet wine-and-cheese shop before transitioning to a more traditional café and lunch spot.

When the Claytons announced in February they were retiring after 27 years, a new owner was not identified. However, Abby Clayton, the couple’s daughter – who stayed on as general manager – said in an email that it’s Brad Moll, who also co-owns Brickyard Hollow, a brewery and pizzeria with locations in Yarmouth, Freeport and Portland.

The rest of the staff remained as well, Abby said, which means Clayton’s status as a go-to eatery is likely not in jeopardy.

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