The Bake Shop opened on Main Street in Freeport in December. Photo by Eric Russell

FREEPORT – I’d like to be honest and say that I ordered a salad for lunch from The Bakeshop in Freeport, because I’m trying to eat healthier in 2023.

I’d like to be able to say that.

But really, I just wanted to feel less guilty about getting a cookie to eat after the salad was gone. Like, immediately after the salad was gone.

This is the challenge of going to a place that doubles as a bakery and a café, especially for anyone with the slightest sweet tooth. And by challenge, I mean, opportunity.

Here’s the thing, though: The salad was a fantastic choice and made me want to return to the new eatery to sample other items on the menu. And possibly (OK, likely) more of the baked goods.

Married couple Jennifer Banis and Ian Talmage opened The Bakeshop on Main Street in Freeport in December in a building across from Sherman Books (and almost next door to L.L. Bean) that previously was home to Azure Café.


Before opening their café/bakery, Banis and Talmage were high-end caterers (mostly for weddings) for 16 years. The catering company, 111 Maine, will continue, but Banis explained in an email that they had so many talented employees, they wanted to be able to employ them year-round.

“The Bakeshop’s motto ‘Food + Love’ is not a cliche for us,” she wrote. “We truly love making food for people, we love food, we love art, music and we love having all of those things together.”

The space, which has been renovated since its previous tenant, is charming and modern and the opposite of cluttered. On a recent weekday about 15 minutes before noon, I was the only customer, albeit briefly. By the time I left, several more people had come in.

Back to the salad. There were five varieties of pre-made vegetable bowls, from traditional farm salad to Caesar salad to hot taco salad ($10).

I went with the hot taco.

The Hot Taco Salad at The Bakeshop in Freeport. Photo by Eric Russell

The base was romaine lettuce, surrounded by cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled corn, black beans, jalapenos and radishes, topped with light cilantro lime dressing and Mexican Oaxaca cheese. I could have added grilled flank steak for some extra protein, but not this time.


The salad was plenty big and all the ingredients fresh. I especially enjoyed the corn and Oaxaca cheese but could have done with fewer radishes. When I finished, I felt full but far from bloated. A good place to be.

On a different day, I might go with a sandwich option. There are nine on the menu, most served warm and pressed, ranging from crispy eggplant ($10) to Cubano ($14) to Nutella fluffernutter ($8). Not going to lie, I almost went with the fluffernutter. All the sandwiches can be made with house-made gluten-free focaccia bread.

The Snickers cookie at The Bake Shop in Freeport. Photo by Eric Russell

Now, to the cookie. I should first say that there were a handful of baked good options on this day, including some gluten-free choices. There were blueberry muffins, ginger peach scones, cinnamon rolls and cannoli, as well as two cookies: Snickers and lemon crinkle (both $4).

The Snickers cookie was outstanding. Crispy outside, soft inside. Buttery, but not too sweet. Bigger than it needed to be, but since I had the salad, not a significant challenge to overcome.

Banis said as the restaurant gets its footing, it plans to expand the menu to fancier dishes – homemade ravioli in winter, crabcakes and charcuterie boards in summer. In addition to their lunch menu, The Bakeshop has breakfast and brunch options as well.

In sum, it’s a welcome addition to the Freeport food landscape and located in a spot that should drive plenty of traffic inside. If the menu holds up, customers will surely keep coming.

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