Opened in February, Homage has a neighborhood vibe that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with a bunch of friends, which I suspect many of the regulars were. Both a bar and a restaurant with seating upstairs, downstairs, and outside, Homage has a variety of options. No surprise: I sat in the bar area. The bar itself features a custom countertop with inlaid pennies; the barstools have backs and cushions but no purse hooks underneath.
Perhaps influenced by all the copper-coloring thanks to the pennies, my drinking companion ordered the $9 Tito’s American mule (a Moscow mule made American by the introduction of cranberry juice). I went with the $8 kiwi caipirinha but was sorely tempted to try the $8 Peanut Butter and Jelly, a cocktail consisting of Frangelico, milk and Chambord. (Wait, I just realized I have all those ingredients here at home … be right back.) Both drinks were good, and the mule was not overly gingery, but both of us preferred my drink. In addition to the cocktails, Homage offers 10 wines by the glass ($7 to $10) and beers from seven local breweries, as well as a handful of non-local ones.
My friend and I were seriously hungry, the result of a failed visit to the Maine Cheese Festival where the lines were too long for us to ingest any significant amount of cheese, so we each ordered a main course and a dessert. (Once we had seen the dessert menu, we knew that we wouldn’t want to share.)
Our main courses ($20 lobster chowder and $13 macaroni and cheese) were average, but the desserts ($6 red wine cheesecake and a $6 slice of chocolate mint cake so spectacular-looking that other diners gasped when they saw the waiter carry it to our table) were off the charts. Both desserts were just as incredible on their final bite as they were on their first one. Credit for that goes to pastry chef Karen French, who along with husband and executive chef David French own Homage. She makes not only all of the desserts but also all of the breads.
Homage places a great deal of importance on fresh food made from scratch, and the kitchen doesn’t have a freezer, a microwave or a can opener. The menu has numerous vegetarian options, and two-thirds of the menu is gluten-free. (As noted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, even the fried chicken is breaded in rice flour.)
Another element that lends Homage credibility as a neighborhood gathering spot is its heavy schedule of special events and activities. Sunday is cribbage night, kids eat free on Tuesday, Wednesday is “pints for paws” (for pint of beer purchased, $1 goes to help pets), Thursday is Trivia Night, Friday is local brewery draft night and Saturday features live music with Jay Staples.
Finally, I know this is technically a bar review, but did I mention how amazing the desserts were? Karen French, please expect an angry phone call from my personal trainer in the near future, because if I pass through Freeport for some reason, I’m stopping by Homage for one of your creations.
WHERE: 9 Mechanic St., Freeport
PHONE: (207) 869-5139
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
AMENITIES: Outdoor seating area, variety of community activities and desserts that are worth every calorie.
BOTTOM LINE: Designed to remind patrons of happy childhood memories and home cooking, Homage is the kind of place where the team will work hard to make sure you have a good time – and an even better dessert.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes