Home Kitchen Cafe

In the Winter at the Home Kitchen Cafe, the tourist traffic all but dies out, and you are left with a homey, comforting space, where you’ll be gently teased by the waitress, where you know everyone sitting at the counter, and everyone seems genuinely happy to be sharing the room together. We got the chance to eat there over the weekend, as the tourist flow slows, and the Home Kitchen Cafe becomes decidedly, good-naturedly “locals only.”

My companions tried the blueberry pancakes, which looked fluffy and pleasantly blue-tinted, as well as a breakfast sandwich that looked fantastic: more of a grilled cheese sandwich that also happened to contain a couple of eggs.

Because the Home Kitchen Cafe seems to place a lot of pride in their Benedict creations, boasting such inventions as “Irish Benedict,” made with corned beef hash, and “Bennies by the Sea,” which combines smoked salmon, tomato, and red onion, Jillian opted for the “Lobster Bennedict.” While the Hollandaise sauce was exquisite, light and fluffy, without a hint of gumminess, the wisdom of Lobster Benedict on a hungover morning was a little questionable. The lobster Benedict is presented with one de-shelled claw pointing skyward from a pool of Hollandaise, and the overall effect, at least on that morning, was a little disturbing.

I opted for the Corned Beef Hash, which is becoming one of my breakfast staples. Though I didn’t ask if it was canned, that was definitely the style of hash it was. The ingredients, unlike at a place like Hot Suppa, weren’t distinct. Instead, it was more of a mash of flavors and ingredients. This style of hash isn’t without its place in my heart, however, and, accompanied by two perfectly poached eggs, I found the dish filling and satisfying. Had my request for well-done hash been acknowledged, it would have been just about perfect.

The Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland represents, to me, the best of all possible worlds when it comes to a rock-solid breakfast joint. It’s on the small side, with nice, filtered light spilling softly through white blinds. On the weekends, there is usually a small wait during peak breakfast times, and the staff seems only mildly interested in ushering you to your seat; ready, prepped tables often sit empty, until the hosts gets the time to bring you to your seat. Unlike other folksy breakfast places, though, none of this is a “bit,” and there is no pretense whatsoever. The feeling is that of a small group of good people, working hard to put something delicious in your stomach, morning after morning, and succeeding.

Home Kitchen Cafe: 650 Main St Rockland, ME 04841. (207) 596-2449. HomeKitchenCafe.com.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as Brocavore, a blog focusing on street food culture, and the junk food-centric "Spork & Barrel." His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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