Portland’s bedroom communities continue to be blessed with new little restaurants setting up shop outside of the craziness of the crowded Old Port. The latest? Cumberland Food Company, a project of well-known chef Bryan Dame, who has worked at The Inn at Ocean’s Edge in Lincolnville, The Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Gather in Yarmouth, and Tiqa and Rosemont Market in Portland.
Cumberland Food Company is located in the building where Doc’s Café used to be. It’s primarily a breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch kind of place, although Dame is planning to hold occasional supper club-style dinners. It’s an updated version of the local café in Anywhere, U.S.A., that serves locally-produced foods at reasonable prices, from the beef in the Company Burger to the Freeport-made potato chips sold by the front counter.
I visited for breakfast, but after seeing the blackboard full of sandwiches, salads and specials, I know I’ll be returning for lunch. Customers order at a semi-circular counter that frames the small open kitchen. The staffer who takes the orders brings the food to your table when it’s ready. I ordered the scramble special that was filling in for the daily omelet. The scrambled eggs with sausage, kale, tomatoes and goat cheese were served with three small, red roasted potatoes and a choice of bread for $10. I chose the homemade English muffin.
After ordering, I went to the coffee/tea station to get a mug of coffee, and I sat down at the communal table — a brightly-painted door turned on its side and covered with a sheet of glass. When my plate of eggs came, I dug into a scramble that had crumbled sausage in every bite. The crunch and slight bitterness of the kale contrasted nicely with the smooth goat cheese, which had melted into creamy pools. My only suggestion: The English muffin came buttered, but it would have been nice to have a little jam to go with it, too.
The restaurant is in an old house with wide-planked pine floors and wooden beams overhead. In addition to the communal seating, there are four high-top tables, and there appeared to be another room in the back with Windsor chairs. As is typical of this kind of neighborhood place, I ran into someone I knew at the communal table, and we had a nice chat.
The menu is listed on a huge blackboard up front. Breakfast choices include double-stack pancakes with Maine maple syrup or Maine blueberry sauce for just $7. If you’re a corned beef fan, the restaurant makes its own, served with two eggs and toast for $12. Breakfast sandwiches range from $4 to $6.
For lunch, which is served beginning at 11 a.m., sandwiches include a three cheese grilled cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan and mozzarella) for $6, a meatloaf panini for $10 and house-roasted turkey breast or ham made with miso mayo, pickled apple and local greens for $8. Kids can get a grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich for just $3.
Cumberland Food Company has a liquor license, so if you go for brunch, you can indulge in a Bloody Mary or mimosa. There’s also beer, wine and homemade soda.
The restaurant subscribes to a composting service, so when you’re finished with your meal, you scrape your leftovers into a bucket and place your dishes and silverware in a bin.
All in all, this is a great new addition to the southern Maine food landscape, and it’s worth traveling from Portland, Falmouth or Yarmouth to check it out.
WHERE: 371 Tuttle Road, Cumberland, 829-4250. facebook.com/Cumberlandfoodco
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: 10 minutes
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes