“Old Port” (Fit to Eat)

Today’s sandwich is the “Old Port” from Fit to Eat, in the Old Port. It combines roast beef, avocado, romaine, tomato, cheddar, and cucumber-wasabi mayonnaise on a Tuscan roll.

Location: 65 Market Street
Price: $7.25
Notes: “Fit to Eat” began its life in the Old Port as a sort of “healthy” sandwich shop and salad bar, with, I can only imagine, a heavy emphasis on wraps and alfalfa sprouts. Because it’s not the 1980’s, things changed when current owner Mike Mastronardi took over in 2009, with a slightly different focus. The former Five Fifty-Five cook revamped the menu, keeping what worked from the existing menu, but focusing much more on using strictly upscale, fresh, homemade ingredients (right down to the mayonnaise), combined in new ways, on bread baked fresh in-house each and every single day.

Today, I tried the “Old Port” sandwich, a combination of shaved roast beef (from Fresh Approach in the West End), sliced avocado, cheddar, and cucumber-wasabi mayonnaise. The bread had come out of the oven only moments before, a scratch-made Tuscan roll, made with chunks of sea salt and olive oil. The loaf was still warm, enough to heat the whole sandwich through, which was nice in some respects (warm roast beef) and not in others (warm shredded Romaine). It’s a small price to pay for the freshest bread on the first sandwich of the day, and that bread was spectacular. It had a beautifully shiny, crackly crunch on the outside, which gave way to a perfectly chewy inside. The roast beef was outstanding, piled high but not grossly out of proportion with the rest of the sandwich; the bread still got to take a starring role. The tomato didn’t lend much flavor to the sandwich, I am assuming because of the time of year, and I would have appreciated a second slice of cheddar; the first one got a bit lost, and I forgot all about it until I actually saw it.

I was relieved to find that the cucumber-wasabi mayo actually tasted very strongly of cucumber, which was a bit of a pleasant surprise. It’s turning into a popular ingredient on sandwiches in town, and can often end up tasting like little more than “pickled mayonnaise.” Combined with the buttery, fatty creaminess of the avocado, there was a smoothness to the sandwich that was unexpected and perfectly balanced. The only thing that could have been added, for me, was a touch of either spice or tartness. A banana pepper might have done some good (and is a favorite ingredient on other sandwiches in the shop), or a bit more wasabi in the mayonnaise. The wasabi wasn’t at all noticible, and might have brought a bit of the horseradish ruckus that the sandwich needed to make it truly amazing.

We’ll definitely be visiting “Fit to Eat” again to sample some of their other offerings, particularly their homemade soups and their breakfast sandwiches, available until 11:00 AM. We like the space, we like the reasonably-priced local art on the walls, and, to use a term that makes me gag, we liked the “vibe.” Owner Mike Mastronardi is a soft-spoken guy who bakes his own bread, mixes his own sauces, uses local ingredients, and spends more time thinking about sandwiches than we do, and there’s a lot to respect in that.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the taco-centric blog "Eat More Tacos," 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.


  1. Great review, Malcolm. This is a place that—up until now—I’ve avoided, largely because of that “healthy, alfalfa sprouts” vibe (oops, sorry) that I always took from the name. Glad to know that is not the case. Looking forward to checking it out soon.

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