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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: April 14, 2015

Dining Guide: 5 Maine general stores to visit for great food

The general store is alive and well in Maine, where several of these community cornerstones have been updated by hardworking new owners. You’ll still find staples, like milk, bread and batteries, but also woodburning pizza ovens, homemade baked goods and sandwiches made with locally sourced ingredients.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

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Owners Ben and Taryn Marcus talk with a visitor at Sheepscot General. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald file photo

Owners Ben and Taryn Marcus talk with a visitor at Sheepscot General. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald file photo

Sheepscot General

98 Townhouse Rd., Whitefield | 207-549-5185 | sheepscotgeneral.com | $$
Taryn and Ben Marcus reopened what had been a natural food store in 2011 on the grounds of Uncas Farm. Equal parts market, cafe and community center, Sheepscot General offers everything from basic grocery items to artisanal cheeses and canning supplies. Among the breakfast items are a panini with egg frittata, bacon and cheddar with red pepper jelly; the sandwich selections include a grilled tempeh reuben and the kombucha is brewed in-house.

Southport General Store

443 Hendricks Hill Rd., Southport | 207-633-6666 | southportgeneralstore.com | $$
The hub of Southport Island since 1882 is famous for its breakfast pizza, sandwiches and top-notch baked goods. Owners Oliver and Janet Cusano stock an impressive variety of grocery items and Oliver’s wine selection is especially noteworthy. Order a specialty sandwich like the Rowgatta (named for an annual Southport event) — roast beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and horseradish sauce on a crusty roll, which you can enjoy at one of a few tables, or, as many do, on nearby Hendrick’s Head beach.

An "omnivore with sausage" pizza from the wood-fired oven at the New Gloucester Village Store. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

An “omnivore with sausage” pizza from the wood-fired oven at the New Gloucester Village Store. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

New Gloucester Village Store

405 Intervale Rd., New Gloucester | 207-926-4224 | ngvillagestore.com | $$
The quintessential Maine general store has been revitalized to offer first-rate pizza, sandwiches, omelets, salads, and baked goods, along with grocery items ordinary and gourmet. A small dining area is a charming spot to linger over coffee and a breakfast sandwich like the #2 – with pesto, tomato and fresh mozzarella, or at lunch time, the excellent homemade soups. The pizza, cooked in a wood-fired oven, is terrific, and the breads are all made on site.

East Boothbay General Store

255 Ocean Point Rd., East Boothbay | 207-633-7800 | ebgs.us | $$
More upscale than some older general stores, this charming place is a popular stop for both boat builders at the yards across the road and Ocean Point summer residents. There are a smattering of pantry staples, a large drinks cooler and a nice selection of Maine-made gifts, but it is the sandwich and pizza menu that is the primary draw. For breakfast, you’ll find an apple-brie-bacon wrap or Nutella and banana on toast. At lunchtime, the spicy Thai peanut wrap or massive Vinnie the Shipbuilder (ham, hard salami, fresh mozzarella, onion, tomato, red pepper flakes, oregano, mayo, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar) is a fan favorite.

The Winnegance General Store. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

The Winnegance General Store. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

Winnegance General Store

36 High St., Bath | 207-443-3300 | winnegancegeneralstore.com | $$
The 1902 building that once served Bath’s mill workers was considered one of Maine’s most endangered historic structures after it closed in 2009. Thanks to a recent renovation, it has been given a new lease on life, its character restored with salvaged materials from other old Maine buildings. Breakfast, lunch and supper are served at 8 tables in the front of the space, which offers peeks at the Kennebec River and Winnegance Lake. The menu consists of well-made classics, including a noteworthy seafood chowder.

Key to prices

The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up

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