Some people have an expensive morning coffee habit. No shade! But if I lived in Portland, Maine, I’d have an expensive morning toast habit thanks to Toast Bar.
A newish offshoot of Scratch Baking Company, the beloved 15-year-old South Portland bakery and market, Toast Bar is open for breakfast and lunch Thursdays through Sundays to give locals one more reason to look forward to the weekend.
It’s housed in a former Getty Station on the main drag of Broadway—as my husband astutely pointed out, they’re very into converting old gas stations into bakeries and bars in this town. What once were repair bay doors are now airy windows, making the high-ceilinged room even more light-filled and cheerful.
In summer, the backyard picnic tables fill with neighborhood bicyclists stopping by for a refuel, families letting kids run around on the grass, and wishful would-be Portlanders like us feeling right at home.
The menu seems simple—breads and spreads—but as is usually the case, when things are this pared-down, the quality of each ingredient gets a chance to show off.
Open-faced tartines start with slabs of nine-grain, country wheat, or “baker’s whim” rotating options like the anadama loaves on the racks the weekend we visited.
Each piece gets lovingly charred in the toaster, then loaded with sweet and savory toppings in combinations so irresistible, it’s impossible to pare your choice down to just one.
“Ham on It” pairs copious swaths of cream cheese and red pepper jelly with generous shavings of crispy prosciutto, a sweet-salty-sticky trifecta that hits every flavor note.
Creamy and just-a-little-smoky egg salad is the base for the deviled egg tartan, layered with cherry pepper rounds, fresh greens, and a Cholula drizzle.
Want to make your own? There’s a full menu of mix-and-match options, like tender slices of cornbread or chewy, cornmeal-crusted bagels rolled in seeds or sprinkled with Maine sea salt.
They’re basically begging to be topped with housemade specialties like herbed cream cheese, smoked salmon, or more of Scratch’s fresh fruit jams.
And if you seriously can’t decide, order a “Flight of Toast”—three toasted breads paired with three spreads of your choice, and served on an adorable TV dinner tray. (Regular toast options come on classic navy-edged enamel trays, which endeared me to this place even further.)
Despite the constant bustle of weekend regulars, the atmosphere is welcoming and laid-back, not coming across as harried or assembly-line. There’s room and time for everyone to stop, relax, and enjoy their slice of toast.
So how long before I can move to Maine and get my Toast Bar fix every weekend?
Toast Bar, 207 Broadway, South Portland, ME. 207-613-9804. Open Thursday through Sunday, 7:00 am-2:00 pm.