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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 On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: March 17, 2014

Tandem Coffee opening up shop and bakery on Portland’s West End

Written by: Susan Axelrod

742 Congress St., the future home of a second location of Tandem Coffee. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Pratt


The western reaches of Congress Street will get a big boost in both appearance and coffee options when Will and Kathleen Pratt open a second location of Tandem, their popular East Bayside coffee shop and roastery.

The vacant building at 742 Congress Street was slated to be another jewel in Jay Villani’s crown — Ideal Bakery. But with Local 188, Sonny’s and now Salvage BBQ to run, Villani decided he couldn’t take on another project.

“We love it so much,” said Kathleen Pratt of the midcentury-ish former garage and laundromat. “We feel it’s just so unique and special; that’s the way we feel about the building [in East Bayside].” She said build out for the space would begin in April, with June as the targeted opening.

While the roasting operation will stay in the original location, at the new shop, the Pratts are partnering with pastry chef Briana Holt, formerly of the super hip Pies ‘n’ Thighs in Brooklyn, N.Y, who will be baking pies, as well as other sweet and savory pastries. “Simple stuff … grab and go; we don’t want to get too involved,” said Kathleen.

Kathleen said she expects the hours to be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. There will be stool seating at a long counter against the large front windows and a few tables to perch will sipping and snacking, but as with the East Bayside location, no wi-fi. “We have such an intimate communal vibe down here. It will be sort of the same thing but with more space,” she said.

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