BUSINESS BEAT: Portland Pottery Cafe Enjoys Soft Opening; Once Bruni’s Market

Hill Resident, Lara Gibson, a Pottery Student said: "I'm Thrilled to See a New Cafe in the Area."

Chef, Waiter and Recent USM Graduate, John Turner at the New Cafe

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,156)

A charming addition to Portland Pottery on the east end is its new Cafe which opened just two weeks ago at 119 Washington Avenue. The store, gallery and restaurant all in one are part of the expansion of the pottery business next door owned by Lisa and Chris Bruni. According to John Turner, who is the temporary chef, the quiet opening was intentional because the Cafe is very much in the “trying out” stage of its development. Currently, it serves three meals a day.

Turner, a recent business management graduate of USM, said there is no set menu yet, because the Brunis are still trying to see what people want. “Eye catching specialities” are what they are looking for and only fresh ingredients are used. (MHN.com ate a delightful argulua salad which according to Turner contained walnuts, dried cherries, beets and goat cheese. It was fantastic and cost $5.00) The attractive location also serves as a gallery and store for the Portland Pottery next door. Karen Dyer, runs the store and gallery as well as the cash register for all enterprises.

Years ago, this location was the long time home of Bruni’s Market. Bruni’s father was the butcher shop for many years. Most recently it ran as the East End Deli which closed some time ago. Turner said that extensive rennovation was required to bring the Cafe up to speed. He replaced the floor and painted the interior. The expansion will permit more class space for the pottery school. Turner is temporary because next month he will be working in Greece for the summer.

It’s open on Friday from 7 am – 5 pm; Monday – Thursday 7 am – 7 pm; Saturday 9 am – 1 am. Closed on Sunday.