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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for 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 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 News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: June 25, 2018

Great East Butcher makes a beast of a sandwich

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

When it comes to certain things, I’ll admit, I can be rather lazy. Acquiring lunch is one of those things. So when I got hip to a place I could grab a sandwich that’s only 1.4 miles from my office, I sprang into action and zipped over there like a house on fire, with a rumbling in my stomach that needed tamping down.

My destination was the Great East Butcher Co. in Scarborough, conveniently located, for me at least, on Payne Road. As soon as I pulled into the lot with my open windows, a heavenly aroma of some kind of roasting meat all but levitated me and led me into the shop, hovering about 4 inches off the ground.

I made my way up to the counter and knew upon perusing the menu that this trip had been a good call. It took me about seven seconds to decide on the Jersey Italian ($7.99). This heavy hitter of a sandwich was stuffed with Taylor pork roll, capicola, Genoa salami, provolone, roasted peppers, tomato, onions, pickles, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Camp Mix on a sub roll. Camp Mix is a specialty salt, and although I was offered the chance to sample it while ordering, I opted to just let myself be surprised. A couple of minutes later, after a mouth-watering roam around the shop, I was on my way out the door with my Italian, a bag of Deep River sour cream and onion chips and a can of Purity sparkling watermelon water. All of this came to under $11, which I think is a solid deal, especially given that I almost dislocated my shoulder carrying the massive sandwich to my car. OK, so maybe that was a tiny bit of an exaggeration, but to give you a true indication of just how big this sandwich was, let me cut to the chase and tell you that I couldn’t finish it, and I finish just about everything every time.

Back at my desk, I sat myself down and dove into my Jersey Italian as if I hadn’t eaten in three days. It was a little bit squishy, but I mean that in the best way possible. It was like biting into a multi-layered pillow. And, oh, that heavenly moment when my taste buds were met with roasted red peppers was a memorable one. As for the Camp Mix, I’m not entirely sure I noticed it, but considering this sandwich was a glorious feast, I’m happy to give it a shout-out in the role it played in my midday feast.

My waistline is entirely unimpressed with me right now, but I told it to take a chill pill and also warned it that I’ll likely be hitting Great East Butcher Co. again to try a cheeseburger sub or a Reuben in the coming weeks. And, hey, the delicious watermelon water had zero calories, so there’s that. Will I skip the chips next time? Probably not, if I’m being honest. The menu does, however, feature some salads, including a classic Caesar for $6.99. The version with marinated steak tips is only $9.99, and one with marinated chicken is a bargain at $7.99.

A co-worker of mine inquired about my sandwich when he saw me eating it, and when I told him where I got it, he promptly darted there himself and soon returned with the chicken Caesar. Too full from my sandwich to walk the 15 feet to my buddy’s desk to ask him how he enjoyed his lunch, I sent him an email. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the day of these lunch runs was the day the news broke about the passing of Anthony Bourdain. My work pal was not only a fan of Bourdain but actually worked with him at a Manhattan restaurant from the late ’70s into the mid-’80s. So it came as no surprise when my “how was your lunch” query was answered with this: “Excellent salad full of tasty bits. Tony, rest in peace.”

One last thing I should mention: While I was walking around waiting for my sandwich, gazing at all of the meat, rubs, marinades, baked goods (hello there, giant cream horn) and several other offerings, I took note of the beer case. I think some of you out there would love to know that Great East Butcher Co. has an impressive array of local beers including Funky Bow, Foundation, Sunday River, Mason’s, Lone Pine, Allagash, Hidden Cove, Liquid Riot and Mast Landing.

Great East Butcher Co.

WHERE: 450 Payne Road, Scarborough. (207) 883-1450. On Facebook.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday
WAIT: Less than five minutes

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