By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,224)
The new fall menu at the Portland Pottery Store & Cafe is official. It’s very comprehensive and very healthy. It includes unique salads, sandwiches, a slice of pizza, and breakfast all day. (There are no french fries and onion rings on the menu!)And the prices are reasonable. The credit for the appealing menu goes to the Cafe’s chef, Paul Jerabek. Jerabek joined the Cafe staff at Portland Pottery this past June.
Long respected in the area for the classes Portland Pottery offers in pottery making to all ages, the business is owned by Lisa and Chris Bruni. According to Jerabek, students wanted more restaurant choices than currently exist in the 122 Washington Avenue area on the East End of Portland. The Brunis purchased the building in which the store and cafe are now located. Previously it had been the East End Deli and went out of business some time ago. Much work went into rennovating the building into the light and airy space it is now; a delightful place to enjoy a meal surrounded by pottery work for sale by the students & staff next door. The recent mid-afternoon that mhn.com visited, all four tables were taken by pottery students. “Word is getting around town about us and we are definitely seeing an increase in business,” said Jerabek.
It’s not surprising. Jerabek is an incredibly creative person. At the University of New Hampshire, he majored in piano and minored in art. At one time, he wanted to be a classical pianist. (There is a piano in the Cafe and sometimes he can be heard at the keyboard.) Most recently, he lived in Dallas, TX. where he owned a catering business; he specialized in wedding cakes. One of his memorable customers was former presidential candidate, H. Ross Perot, Jr. Every year for almost 15 years, he baked a birthday cake for the billionnaire. Jerabek likes to tell stories – so much so that he has self-published a cookbook with many of them in it – “Stories From the Cooking School of Hard Knocks, $35.
Jerabek is looking forward to the holidays when he’ll be preparing specialities of his for sale in the Cafe. One of those specalities is a Croquembouche; its a Christmas tree made from creme puffs filled with some special stuffing – perhaps ice cream.
“I’m a colorful person and Lisa has beautiful pottery here for sale,” Jerabek said. In fact, he uses some of it in the catering part of the business.
The Cafe is open every day, but Sunday for three meals a day. Call 207 772-4344 for more details on catering and delivery service as well.
For more background information on the Cafe, please visit Post # 1,156 herein, dated June 15, 2012.