I am not a meatloaf sandwich kind of gal. Frankly, I’m not much of a meatloaf, period, kind of gal. I could probably count on my fingers the number of times I’ve eaten meatloaf since my mother’s version when I was a child. So I am not sure what possessed me to order the meatloaf sandwich at the Bake Maine Pottery Cafe from among the eight or so soups and sandwiches offered for lunch and another dozen breakfast items (both menus available all day).

But I’m glad I did.

The cafe calls the sandwich “Not Your Everyday Joe” ($15). It comes with Pepper Jack cheese, pickled onions, tomato, arugula and sriracha mayonnaise on focaccia. Altogether, it’s an upgraded, updated meatloaf sandwich.

The new Bake Maine Pottery Cafe, which opened in January, on the other hand, looks a lot like it did before, when it was Portland Pottery Cafe. Not that I’m complaining. New owners Doug and Kristen Perry, who moved their bakery business from Wells, haven’t yet taken the old name off the big glass windows out front. Inside, the cafe has the same mix of country-style, mismatched tables I remember, as well as the same cozy vibe and beautiful pottery (from the adjacent Portland Pottery Studio) for sale in hutches along the perimeter of the room. The bright teal paint on the back wall, however, is new.

“It’s kind of my power color. I travel with it,” Kristen Perry said, laughing. “It’s bright and happy and hopefully inviting and cozy.”

The Bake Maine Pottery Cafe had just a few customers at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday in April. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

Other menu items included the Power Toast ($12) on multigrain bread with almond butter, coconut and bananas; a biscuit sandwich ($7) with baked egg, cheddar and dijonnaise; and a Korean beef sandwich ($15). The day I visited was unseasonably warm – at least what we used to think of as unseasonably warm before climate change – which made the menu’s wintery bias feel a bit out of step. It’s probably time to swap the Autumn Melt (apples, bacon, brie, cranberries, $13), Harvest Toast (multigrain bread, brie, bacon and pear jam, $11) and Beets and Sweets (roasted beets, roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, $14) for more seasonable items.


If you plan to eat at the cafe, you order at the counter and wait at your table for your meal. At around 2 p.m. on a weekday in April, that wait was barely five minutes. It was past the lunch hour, and perhaps too nice outside to bring in the coffee-and-cake afternoon crowd, so the cafe was mostly empty.

The sandwich halves were held together with toothpicks, which reminded me of club sandwiches from my childhood and suited the nostalgic vibe of meatloaf. The sandwich components were nicely balanced: the soft squish of the meatloaf, the crunch and brightness of the pickled onions, the bite of arugula, the pleasantly oily chew of focaccia and the gentle heat of the sriracha mayonnaise. Not Your Everyday Joe managed to be both distinctive, as advertised, yet still as familiar and comfy as a pair of old sweat pants – which I probably needed to put on after finishing it.

Brioche with candied oranges and almonds from Bake Maine Pottery Cafe. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

I was too full to eat one of the many sweets for sale on display at the counter, which include cupcakes, brownies, tarts and muffins. But I wasn’t too full to take something to go. Although the layer cakes called to me (Coconut Caramel Cake, Vanilla Bean Layer Cake, both $8/slice), in the end I couldn’t resist the strange allure of the butterscotch oatmeal cookie with smoked salt ($2) and that candied orange and almond filling in the brioche ($4.25), which also struck me as unseasonal, but I’ll forgive candied oranges most things.

That evening, when my appetite finally returned, I tried them. The cookie was disappointing, closer to hard than crisp, and the smoked salt seemed to be MIA (maybe just as well?), but the brioche was a treat, and would have been just right with a coffee for breakfast. Which is probably the time of day I’ll next visit the Pottery Cafe.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.