Open Year Round for Takeout, no Dine-In
Location: South Portland, Maine
Parking: Free street parking
Family Friendly: Yes
Scratch Bakery is one of the reasons we decided to move to Maine. I'm not trying to be funny or cute, it's just the truth.
We had rented an AirBnB that was next door to Scratch on a vacation we took during the fall to visit Maine. We had been toying with the idea of moving to Maine, pretty much as long as I can remember, but it was that visit that sealed the deal.
When we walked into Scratch the first morning of our vacation, it was like a scene out of a romantic comedy. You know, the corner bakery where everyone seems to be - sharing inside jokes, asking how the family is, regulars grabbing their regular. There was a line out the door (this was pre-Covid, of course) but no one seemed phased or deterred by it. We went back every single morning of our vacation and I remember longing to be one of the regulars.
When you first walk in, you are met to the right with piles and piles of their incredible bagels. These things do not (and in my humble opinion, should not) be toasted. They are fresh out of the oven and my preferred method of eating them is tearing them a part, piece by piece, and dunking the pieces in herbed cream cheese. The Maine Sea Salt Bagel has my heart.
I'm an East Coast gal and lived in NYC for many years. Scratch, along with the rest of our bagel scene in Maine, not only rivals, but I think trumps the many bagels I have devoured in NYC (shoutout to Tal Bagels where I spent pretty much every morning on the UES - no disrespect, you are my New York Bagel one and only!)
If you can manage to make it past the bagels without grabbing a dozen, you make your way to the pastry counter. It's stocked high with daily specials, pastries and treats for later in the day - don't even get me started on their Coconut Cake. We are a family of three but I usually leave with enough goodies for a family of thirteen. I just can't help myself.
During the pandemic, they kept our family well fed and operated like a well oiled machine. Their online ordering system is easy and the turnaround is quick. In the early days of the pandemic, it was a lifeline for our family. It gave us a sense of normalcy to be able to get breakfast from Scratch and walk around the corner to Willard Beach.
If you are coming to visit Portland any time soon, make sure you put Scratch on your itinerary. And who knows, you just might find yourself to be one of the regulars making small talk by the coffee.