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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: July 9, 2014

Paninis and ice cream near the seaside at Kettle Cove Creamery in Cape Elizabeth

Written by: Ray Routhier
CAPE ELIZABETH, ME - JUNE 30: Kettle Cove Cafe and Creamery. (Photo by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)

Kettle Cove Cafe and Creamery. Derek Davis/staff photo

We who live in Maine need to remind ourselves from time to time why so many people who don’t live here want to.

At lunch the other day, Kettle Cove Creamery & Café was my reminder.

The yellow building near Crescent Beach and Kettle Cove has been a seasonal ice cream spot for years. But it also makes panini sandwiches, lobster rolls and other lunch fare. So I decided to call up the other day and order a panini with turkey, provolone cheese, roasted red pepper and spinach on fresh ciabatta bread ($7.25).

Browse all Maine’s watering holes and eateries: Maine Restaurant & Bar Directory

I drove out to Cape Elizabeth, picked up lunch, and then drove another 60 seconds or so down the road to Kettle Cove. There I sat on a bench eating my lunch, as young children ran on the beach at low tide, boaters put their vessels in the water, and lots of other folks relaxed on benches or the grass. And I was reminded why it’s great to live here: namely, you can have lunch at the beach on a work day.

Kettle Cove is a great place for a quick lunch in a magnificent setting, largely because you can find parking most of the time. And during a weekday lunch hour, there were plenty of parking spaces available. If you have lunch there, you can then stretch your legs on the beach or on the trails in the nearby woods. If you don’t want to eat at the beach, there are also nice outdoor tables with umbrellas at the eatery.

Kettle Cove Café and Creamery employee Lindsay Stephen holds a cone with strawberry ice cream made with fresh berries from Jordan’s Farm.

Kettle Cove Café and Creamery employee Lindsay Stephen holds a cone with strawberry ice cream made with fresh berries from Jordan’s Farm. Derek Davis/staff photo

The food from Kettle Cove Creamery & Café was just as good as the setting. The bread had a great chewy texture, and all the fillings worked together well. The provolone was melted enough, but not drippy. It made me realize that a panini, as compressed as it is, makes a neat and easy-to-handle lunch if you’re sitting outside and don’t have a table handy.

My sandwich came with a crisp, fresh pickle spear and bag of salt and vinegar chips. I also got a fresh-baked coconut and pecan cookie, which I’d have again.

While at the counter in the café, I spied that they sell doughnuts from The Cookie Jar, also in Cape Elizabeth, which in my opinion are the best doughnuts around. But if you don’t want cookies and doughnuts, I counted some 30 ice cream flavors on the Kettle Cove menu. If I go just for ice cream sometime, and I know I will, I’d like to try the blueberry pie, or the ginger, or the pumpkin pie.

Other panini options at the café, also for $7.25, include one with pesto, mozzarella and tomato, and one with ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, spinach and red onion. There’s a lobster roll for $12.95 and a crab roll for $7.95. There are also lots of baked goods and egg-based breakfast sandwiches. For kids, there’s peanut butter and jelly, a turkey and provolone, a hot dog and a grilled cheese. Prices on the kids menu range from $2.69 to $4.25.

And by all means, bring the kids. Because you’re never too young to be reminded of why it’s great to live in Maine.


WHERE: 2 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth (Route 77); 799-3533 or
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (cafe) and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (ice cream)
WAIT: About ten minutes for a panini sandwich

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