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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: February 17, 2015

Try Bradford Block Bistro in Springvale for delicious chicken sandwiches and pizza

Written by: Bob Keyes
Fried chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese and hand cut fries at the Bradford Block Bistro in Springvale. Right and below, the exterior and dining area.

Fried chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese and hand cut fries at the Bradford Block Bistro in Springvale. Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

In a two-week period, three friends asked if I had tried Bradford Block Bistro.

Not only had I never been, I had never heard of the place. Chalk up my first visit to word of mouth.

I have since learned the restaurant on Main Street in Springvale has been open just a couple of years, and it’s become a dining destination for folks from across York County.

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I stopped in for lunch last week. I had an appointment in Springvale, so it seemed like my chance to find out what my friends were talking about.

First impressions were positive. I walked off the snowy street into a small front dining room, which opened into a larger room off to the side. The restaurant was clean, and that includes the floors and entryway — no small task with all the snow and winter goop we’ve been dealing with.

A server greeted me almost immediately, and suggested I choose where I wanted to sit. As the lunch crowd was filling in, I hesitated taking a four-top when there would be only two of us. But the server told me to sit wherever I wanted.

Within moments, my companion joined me, and I was glad I took the larger table. She had many things to share, and it was nice to have room to spread out papers without feeling cramped. She lives in Springvale, and told me that Bradford Block Bistro had become the favorite restaurant of her and her husband.

I ordered a chicken sandwich ($10) on a brioche bun, with cheddar. The menu said the chicken was fried, and I almost asked for it grilled. But given all the advance praise for this place, I figured I’d go with what the chef intended. I justified my decision by eschewing fries as my side dish, and asked for a salad.

My friend ordered what she said she almost always orders: Happy Goat pizza, which is made with a red sauce, goat cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers. The pizza is $14, but is large enough to serve two. I knew I’d be trying a slice before lunch was over.

We had a nice chat, and within 10 minutes or so our food arrived.

I loved my sandwich, for several reasons. First, the brioche bun was fabulous — soft and chewy, but light. It didn’t feel heavy. The chicken was fried, but I wouldn’t have known it if the menu hadn’t said so. It was the least fried-tasting piece of chicken I believe I’ve ever had. And it was a generous cut. It overhung the sides of the bun, which were packed with lettuce and a thick tomato slice. I ate my pickles on the side.

Add to that, the cheese dripped over the sides of the chicken like icicles, but wasn’t runny. It was perfectly melted. The sandwich was very good, not only for its taste and presentation, but also its execution. It was clear that the person who prepared this sandwich cared about the outcome. He paid attention to details.

I said he, because as if on cue, the owner-chef emerged from the kitchen to ensure his diners were content. When he made his way to our table, he greeted my companion by her first name and thanked her for her loyalty. I told him I was impressed, and would most certainly return next time I found myself hungry in Springvale. It wasn’t a cursory visit, either. He stayed long enough to check the weekend weather forecast on his phone and assure my friend that her fears for another blizzard were unfounded.

The salad was huge, with fresh greens, red onions, green peppers and other wonderfully crunchy ingredients of summer. I didn’t love the Italian dressing, which tasted a little bland.

I can’t say too much about the wood-fired brick oven pizza because I had already finished my sandwich and salad before I tried a slice. My appetite was satiated.

That said, I was impressed with the freshness of the ingredients. The crust was unquestionably homemade. It was soft and light and tasty. The toppings were generously applied, and I loved the goat cheese. I am a meat guy. I either want my pizza cheese only or with meat, preferably pepperoni. I am not a huge fan of veggies on pizza. But the Happy Goat was very good, and I regretted not saving room for a second slice.

Overall, my experience was only positive. I wished the room was a little warmer, and if asked I would offer my opinion to the owner that the room could also use an interior-design makeover.

But for the food, I had no complaints.

SPRINGVALE, ME - FEBRUARY 4: Bradford Block Bistro in Springvale Wednesday, February 4, 2015. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer)

The dining room at Bradford Block Bistro.


WHERE: 459 Main St., Springvale | 207-850-1155 |
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: 10 minutes.

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