Photograph by Mark Fleming
A classic BLT, served with a side of local history and a water view.
In the mid-1800s, Alison Prince’s great-great-grandfather opened a general store and salt-fish operation on Orr’s Island. Later, her grandfather repurposed the building as an antique shop and real estate office. “It’s changed over the years,” Prince says, “but there’s always been some family member doing something here.”
For the past 15 years, she’s been running the Salt Cod Cafe. Before that, with a master’s degree in food science, she worked for a Portland biotech firm, developing test kits for food and environmental contaminants. “That was the analytical side of food,” she says. “This was a little bit of a change.”
Outside the café, picnic tables overlook Harpswell Sound and the latticework Cribstone Bridge that connects Orr’s and Bailey islands. Inside, the sign from the old general store hangs on a wall, and vintage candy boxes decorate the shelves. The baked goods are, in the fullest sense, homemade: Prince bakes in her home kitchen next door and carries over trays of muffins and scones.
At lunch, she serves tried-and-true sandwiches — turkey and cheese, lobster rolls, chicken salad — on homemade molasses, wheat, and white breads. For a BLT, she thinks white is the way to go. Classic bread for a classic sandwich. “It makes the difference,” she says.
Why is it among our guest editor’s favorite Maine summer treats? “If we’re talking the Platonic ideal of a sandwich, nothing beats a BLT in summertime, because of the quality of the tomato,” says Sam Sifton, who helmed our April 2019 Maine Food Issue and who has visited his family’s nearby Ragged Island every summer of his life. “There’s something Robert McCloskey–like about coming in from the island and getting a delicious BLT right off the water.”