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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.

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Posted: July 5, 2016

Kitsch it up at The Starlight Cafe, where flavor is as plentiful as the tchotchkes

Written by: Aimsel Ponti
A cup of Abe Lincoln chili and half of a Sort-of Reuben at the Starlight Cafe in Bath.

A cup of Abe Lincoln chili and half of a Sort-of Reuben at the Starlight Cafe in Bath. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

A couple of Fridays ago, I was on my way to up to the midcoast for a weekend away at Ocean Point, and I knew I had an Eat & Run assignment due soon. Being the clever girl that I am, I decided to find lunch en route in Bath. I asked a gallery owner friend of mine who lives there for a suggestion, and she sent me to The Starlight Café.

Do you ever just click with a place right when you walk in? It was a love-at-first-sight moment for me when I strode into the place because, before I even took a look at the menu, I was immediately distracted by an array of vintage treasures and tchotchkes, including a mid-70s Shaun Cassidy action figure, complete with plastic electric guitar. In fact, I ended up lunching next to Shaun in a row of high-top seats placed in front of a counter chock full of kitsch, most of which I wanted to buy.

Starlight Café was already my kind of joint and, after devouring my tasty meal of a cup of Abe Lincoln Chili and a half of a Sort-of Reuben sandwich, I proceeded up coastal Route 1 with a smile on my face and a burning desire to hit Starlight again ASAP.

Abe Lincoln Chili ($4.50 per cup, $6.50 per bowl, served with a homemade slice of cornbread) was one of the daily specials. It’s a beef chili with a few extra veggies, including zucchini, thrown in. I’ve often been wrongly accused of not eating enough vegetables, so I was proud of my ordering decision, especially after tasting it. Honestly (see what I did there!), it was delicious — not too spicy and plenty hearty. A total win.

The second part of my lunch was a half of what Starlight calls a Sort-of Reuben ($8.25 for a whole one). It’s got corned beef, Swiss cheese, grilled onion and pickled purple cabbage with Dijonnaise on sourdough. It was so good, I wished I had ordered a full one, but I did my best to slow down my usual too rapid clip of food consumption.

I’ve already got a list of things to order the next few times I hit Starlight, starting with the Sweet & Savory Grilled Cheese ($7.75). This beauty is made with goat cheese, provolone, red onion and an apricot spread on anadama. Yes, please! The Starlight Greek Salad ($8.95) also speaks to me with baby spinach, feta cheese, red onion, tomato, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini and house-made Greek dressing.

I also want to make a morning trek to Bath to have breakfast at The Starlight Cafe. You can build your own plate-sized pancake. Base price is $4.50, and the topping list includes chocolate chips, assorted berries, banana, apple and white chocolate chips (75 cents). The deluxe add-ons are $1.25 each and that list includes maple bacon, pecans, brown sugar streusel, walnuts and almonds. My pancake might set me back about twelve bucks, but I’m entirely fine with that, especially if Mr. Cassidy is still there. Starlight also has the usual breakfast suspects and something called Spiced French Toast ($5.25) — three pieces of breakfast magic made with anadama bread in a cinnamon and clove batter. The Starlight Cafe space is a bit odd, as it’s on the downward slope of Lambard Street and only has windows on one side. But that’s also part of its charm. It’s a quirky spot decorated with quirky stuff, and the food is terrific.


Starlight Cafe

WHERE: 15 Lambard St., Bath. 443-3003. Starlight Cafe on Facebook.
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
WAIT: Less than ten minutes
PARKING: On street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

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