The French Press Eatery

There’s a doughnut sitting on our kitchen counter. It’s Boston cream and it looks delectable. It would seem to subvert the food blogging genre to not write about the item in question. I should let it just exist, untouched and whole. I can work around it. I’ll think about something else. I can describe it as a work of art, which it is. Until it starts to haunt me, develops its own political ideology and overthrows our household. Call the tea party, there’s going to be a coup on Spring Street. Or maybe I’ll just have dessert.

The reason we haven’t been able to ravish the fried and cream-filled confection mocking us from its plain plastic box, is fullness on account of lunch. It took me an hour to forage in downtown Westbrook for our two sandwiches and sides, and less than ten minutes to devour the contents of the heaving brown bag I brought it home in. The drive is an excellent one, and worth it. Over the river and through the woods, past fields and farmlands and hang a left on Main Street, USA. It’s wonderfully rainy out and it was warm and adorable inside The French Press Eatery.

The first thing you’ll notice is the pinball machines. There are three. Then the little tables along the windows, high ceilings, gleaming wood and art on all the walls. Under the coffee menu chalkboard, cheery looking waitresses and kitchen guys scramble around like chaotic, or is it ordered, atoms, or pinballs. One of them came to take my order. Which was: “The French Press Dip,” with a side of potato salad for M, and a “Hunter’s Wife,” with bacon corn chowder for a dollar more for me. Then I paid ($22) and went across the street to the drug store.

According to Malcolm, the bread – baguette – was fantastic, though the sandwich was very dry. That didn’t at all stop him from eating the entire thing without giving me a bite. He wondered where the promised jus had gone, had it evaporated or been eliminated altogether? Never one to be stymied by takeout’s little setbacks, my ingenious husband used the rich and meaty soup to moisten his arid roast beef. The caramelized onions elevated it also. And the side of potato salad, with pungent onion and raw garlic notes was a lovely, savory companion.

There was nothing exactly wrong with “The Hunter’s Wife,” but it wasn’t my most favorite ever. The bread, soft but toothsome, wheaty and nutty was absolutely fabulous. The roasted turkey was moist, smoky and not at all slimy. There was also bacon and avocado, which add fat both bad and good, honey mustard which I like fine, and sprouts which I don’t really care for. The Hunter’s Wife is just a bit boring. The bacon! corn! chowder! on the other hand, I would eat from the shoe of an unwashed man. It was all a little salty, as if crafted by someone who wants to entice already deadened tastebuds.

Which brings us back to the doughnut. I still haven’t had it. I think I need to go back for breakfast tomorrow. At its heart, The French Press Eatery is a coffee shop. A superb one, but nonetheless, a meeting place for townspeople, a quiet room in which to read great books and write in your Moleskine notebook, a cozy, un-selfconscious restaurant for honest locals and those from away. I first read about it on Facebook last week; an old classmate was visiting on vacation and exclaimed about how awesome it was there. And I thought again how lucky I am to be living in such a longed-for, special destination. Just like this.

The French Press Eatery is located at 855 Main Steet in Westbrook, Maine. They have very good things.

Update 9/6/2011: After this post was written, the French Press Eatery closed its doors.
Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.


  1. Sadly, the FPC is gone. James Tranchemontagne, owner/chef of nearby The Frog and Turtle, owned the FPC, and after a few hurdles and a brief closing and reopening last fall, he closed it, and revamped the interior, menu, and name. It’s now Tranchemontagne. It’s still worthy of a visit – but the menu has changed.

    Just thought I’d mention that to anyone who was drooling over the picture.

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