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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: October 1, 2018

Here’s the dish: Portland Pottery Cafe sells breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, soups and the stuff you serve them in

Written by: Ray Routhier

The interior of Portland Pottery Cafe offers plenty of pottery to look at, besides something to eat.
Photos by Ray Routhier

Portland Pottery has some very nice dishes. And you can even eat some of them.

The Portland Pottery Cafe serves up breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads and sweets inside a pottery supply store and studio on Washington Avenue.

That means you’re surrounded by interesting things to put food on and in, while waiting for your food.

You can walk around and browse bowls, mugs, plates and sculptures displayed on shelves and in cupboards. The tables are spread out among the pottery, so wherever you sit you can see something.

But what good is an empty bowl when you’re hungry? That’s where the cafe’s extensive menu comes in. The menu changes with the seasons, and when I went, the summer menu was still being served.

The Mighty New Englander breakfast at Portland Pottery Cafe features house-made corned beef hash, scrambled eggs, white cheddar cheese with toast and jam. You can get it in a grill-pressed wrap too.

That included about a dozen hearty breakfast dishes served all day. I love breakfast all day, so I chose The Mighty New Englander ($10), which was house-made corned beef hash, scrambled eggs and white cheddar cheese. I had it with toast and raspberry jam, but I could have ordered it as a wrap sandwich as well.

I also could have eaten half and saved the rest, but I didn’t. The corned beef and potatoes were tender, and the eggs were fluffy. I expected the meat to be shredded or chopped but it was in long slices, like it often is in a sandwich.

I almost ordered The Black Bear ($10) which is grilled pastrami and red potato hash, with scrambled eggs, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard. Another interesting combo was the Late Riser ($10), with grilled local sausage, red potatoes, fire roasted red pepper, scrambled eggs and mozzarella cheese.

The breakfast menu also had a three-egg omelet, a tofu scramble, a frittata, a two-egg sandwich, a giant grilled buttermilk muffin and an oatmeal bowl with nuts, seeds and fruit.

The Portland Pottery Burger on ciabtta roll.

The sandwich side of the menu was equally extensive. There was a sweet potato and avocado panini ($9.50) with roasted sweet potato, avocado, pablano salsa, cheddar cheese and cilantro lime creme fraiche. There was a sautéed salmon sandwich ($11.50) with lemon dill creme fraiche, tomato and lettuce on a grilled ciabatta roll. Something called the Figgy Piggy ($10) features thinly sliced ham, crumbled goat cheese and sweet fig jam, on buttered and grilled oat bread.

Other sandwiches include a classic Reuben, a marinated tofu sandwich, an avocado BLT, chicken salad, a burger and grilled cheese.

There are also soups and salads, and a rotating selection of fresh-made sweets and baked goods.

Portland Pottery and its cafe are located on a strip of Washington Avenue at the base of Munjoy Hill that has become a foodie destination in recent years. There are more than a dozen restaurants, markets, distillers and brewers in the neighborhood. When Bon Appetit magazine named Portland its Restaurant City of the Year in August, it specifically praised Cong Tu Bot, a Vietnamese street food restaurant, and Drifters Wife, both on that stretch of Washington Avenue.

Portland Pottery is also home to another restaurant, Lena’s Italian Comfort, which serves Italian food on weekends and some weeknights when the cafe is closed.

PORTLAND POTTERY CAFE

WHERE: 118 Washington Ave., Portland, portlandpottery.com; (207) 245-6335
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: About 15 to 20 minutes during a busy weekday lunch hour
PARKING: On street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No.

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