I received the text just as I was preparing to leave Portland: “I’m sending the boiled dinner with Patrick to Ryan’s house. I don’t want it.”
Translation: “Dinner failed, but it’s good enough for the kids. Please pick up something on your way home.”
How I interpreted it: I just got a hall pass to stop for a beer.
I chose the new Portland Pie Co. in Biddeford, which I have been eying with something between curiosity and lust since it opened in the Pepperell Mill building early this year. The Biddeford restaurant is its fourth in Maine.
I took a seat at the bar, ordered a Banded Horn and luxuriated in the 20 minutes or so I had to wait for our to-go order of a pizza and calzone to be completed. Hello, “Sports Center.” Long time no see.
It’s hard to put a price on comfort. When dining rooms or lounges work, they are warm, open and easy on the eyes. I loved the lounge area at the Biddeford restaurant immediately. A brick wall with arched, see-through cut-outs separates the bar area from the main dining room. The floor is wood, the lighting soft and the TVs quiet. A gas fireplace built into the brick wall adds a touch of living-room comfort.
The tables are tall and sturdy, and I loved the ergonomic chairs. It all felt very masculine, and I immediately felt comfortable taking a seat at the bar.
Portland Pie is known for its creative specialty pizzas. As a result, when the menu takes some time to read and understand. There are a lot of details to consider, and many choices, including several kinds of crusts.
Because I was driving, I asked my better half to look up the menu online, order and I’d pick it up on my way home. She struggled to read the menu on her smart phone, and had to log onto the desktop, which delayed her placing our order … and gave me more time at the bar.
We settled on the Cobscook Bay from the spring menu. It’s a BLT pie, with an aioli base, tomatoes and bacon and a three-cheese blend. We asked for a wheat crust. When prepared for the restaurant dining room, the pizza is topped with a delicious salad of lettuce, tomatoes and bacon. We worried that the salad would turn our pie soggy by the time I got home, but Portland Pie has done this before. They put our salad in a separate to-go container, which we appreciated. Very smart.
We also ordered meatball calzone with a red sauce and cheese blend in a garlic crust.
We enjoyed both. Vicki appreciated the L and T portion of the pizza, while I favored the B. In fact, I ate the salad portion of the pizza as a side dish, instead of putting it on top of the slice as intended. I’m just not a big fan of green things on my pizza. We both loved the wheat crust, which was thin and chewy, and I found the bacon to be crisp and flavorful.
The calzone was the star. We sliced it into fours. The meatballs were blended into the pocket in small chunks, and smothered in a red sauce that was tangy and slightly sweet. The calzone showed less creativity than the BLT pizza, but its beauty was its simplicity. It was exactly what I thought it would be and what I hoped for.
The only complaint was the leftover effect. The next day, the pizza didn’t taste as good, and the crust was particularly challenging. The calzone felt heavy. I actually tossed uneaten portions of both into the waste basket at my desk, which I almost never do.
40 Main St., Biddeford | 207-286-3222 | www.portlandpie.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes