Town Landing Market in Falmouth has been in operation in some form since 1880. Photos by Leslie Bridgers

The Town Landing Market in Falmouth seems like two stores in one: a specialty shop where you can splurge on all sorts of locally made food and drinks for the fanciest of happy hour spreads and a classic Maine corner store, where you can grab a breakfast sandwich, pantry staples or household products in a pinch.

Granted, most Mainers would balk at buying a $10 ham Italian from their neighborhood corner store, but most corner stores aren’t run by Big Tree Hospitality, the renowned restaurant group that includes Eventide Oyster Co.

When Big Tree announced in the summer it was taking over the Foreside market that’s been around since 1880, the new ownership said it didn’t plan to change much. Indeed, tweaks to the lunch menu rolled out this winter were limited to the addition of a cheeseburger ($15), fish sandwich ($14) and pastrami Reuben ($14) and the incorporation of house-made pizza dough and breads from Big Tree’s Little Spruce Baking Co., according to a spokesperson for the group, which also has been adding new local items to the store’s shelves including merchandise featuring its redesigned logo.

I hadn’t been to the store in years when I stopped by for lunch this winter, so I couldn’t say exactly what was new, but imagined the Mason jars of cocktail infusions from Vena’s Fizz House were the type of things that Big Tree might have added, while the canned goods and Tide pods were probably holdouts from before the sale.

Much of the extensive lunch menu – mostly made up of hot and cold sandwiches, wraps and subs – remains the same, including the falafel wrap ($12) that I ordered online at the height of lunchtime on a recent weekday. The wait time given was about 40 minutes, and when I arrived a couple minutes early, my wrap was waiting for me in a bag on a rack in the back of the store.

As I walked out, I perused the table of baked goods and the contents of the coolers, which included containers of soup, sides of potato salad and take-home meatloaf dinners made in-house, along with other brands of frozen dinners, tons of local ice cream and assorted cheeses.

Half of a falafel wrap from Town Landing Market , with the landing itself behind it.

There are a few seats out front where you could take a load off and eat your lunch, but they were still soggy from the storm the day before, so I decided to drive down the hill to the Town Landing itself and take in the view of the water from my car. Several other people were doing the same.

When I opened my lunch, I was pleased to see that the falafel was soft and freeform, which lent itself to eating in a wrap. A layer of tzatziki sauce helped hold it and the abundant veggies together without making the wrap soggy.

I’m sure Big Tree has brought its own touches to the lunch items, but if this were my corner store, I’d appreciate that the changes were subtle. I hope it continues to serve both nearby residents in need of convenience and customers seeking quality products, even if the dual purposes start to morph into a more cohesive business – as long as no one touches the sign for “Fresh Native Ice Cubes.”

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