I should have known anyone who would name their diner The Blue Pig would care about meat.
What I didn’t guess was that the diner, tucked into the center of Gorham village near the University of Southern Maine, would be a place where BBQ and breakfast could become one.
The menu includes breakfast hash made with slow-smoked pulled pork ($9), or house braised corned beef ($9) or smoked brisket ($12). You can also get pulled pork in an omelet or the “Yankee” eggs Benedict ($8) featuring cornbread, bacon, poached eggs and BBQ pit beans.
But when I went during a recent hour, though captivated by the idea of BBQ style in breakfast dishes, I was more intrigued by the Blue Pig’s “Ruben,” with corned beef, fresh sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, house-made BBQ sauce, and Russian dressing on rye bread ($9). I guessed from the menu that this place took meat seriously, so I though anything with corned beef or brisket would be a safe bet.
It was actually a sure thing. After many years of ordering corned beef sandwiches and getting cold-cut slices, I was so happy to get big, tender chunks in my sandwich. There were nice crispy bits, as well as melt-in-your mouth hunks. The sauerkraut was especially good and didn’t overpower the sandwich. The Swiss cheese was creamy and the rye bread, grilled, was firm enough to hold it together while not being tough, as some grilled ryes can be.
The sandwich was bursting with meat and came in a basket with a ton of curly fries. It was so much food that I took half the sandwich and half the fries back to work, and ate it for the next day’s lunch as well.
The diner is in a low-slung building that used to be a church, and the front is a giant glass facade. So sitting at my bistro-style table I had a nice view of the goings on in Gorham village. The view inside was nice too, including a painted red tin ceiling and little pig-shaped doodads all over the walls and counter.
The place is run by Paul and Brianna Kennedy, who began their food careers as BBQ caterers and have run the diner since April of 2014. The day I was there the crowd was a mix of college-age folks and folks like me, that is, much older. The service was quick, just about five minutes between ordering and getting my food.
The qualities of my sandwich made me want to go back and try more things with meat. The other sandwiches that caught my eye were the slow-smoked brisket sandwich ($10) that comes with the house BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese, and is served open-faced on cinnamon raisin bread, and the Cuban panini with pulled pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard ($9). I also would like to try the haddock hoagie, partly because I like the name, and partly because I love a good haddock sandwich.
The menu also includes burgers, salads and some comfort dishes not found everywhere in Maine, including chicken and waffles and biscuits and gravy. The chicken and waffles ($10) is fried chicken, on waffles with house-made sausage gravy. And though I was drawn in by all the meat on the menu, there are many veggie options. There’s a garden omelet with spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomato, peppers and cheddar cheese ($9), a veggie hash, and a veggie Benedict.
Because not everyone wants meat. But when one does, one wants their chef to care deeply about it.
Which the folks at The Blue Pig definitely do.
29 School St., Gorham | 207-839-9744 | www.facebook.com
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Sunday
WAIT: About five minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes