January 3, 2013

TRAVELIN' MAINE(RS): The Olde Post Office Café really delivers

George and Linda Smith

At The Olde Post Office Café in Mount Vernon, the view across Minnehonk Lake is beautiful, the featured art is always spectacular, the food is incredible — and we can walk to it!

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IF YOU GO . . .

The Olde Post Office Café
Mount Vernon Village
293-4978
www.oldepostofficecafe.com
Winter Hours: Wed. - Sun., 7a.m. - 2 p.m.
Once a month in the winter, and twice a month in the summer, the café hosts an elegant dinner with music. The next dinner is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, and features local favorites Dale Perkins and John Pino playing jazz. Definitely call for a reservation.
The café team also offers catering services, tailored specifically to their clients’ tastes and desires. I don’t know how they’d deal with me. I like everything! — George

George

Whenever people want to meet with me, I ask them come to the café in downtown Mount Vernon for breakfast or lunch. And once they do, I don’t have to ask a second time. I’m besieged by callers asking, “Can we meet again for breakfast or lunch at the Post Office Café?”

Many small rural towns have a café, but few have one of this quality. Locals fill the place all year round, but diners also come from all over Maine. In the summer, the street is filled with out-of-state license plates. Amazingly, there are no items over $9.

My buddy Harry Vanderweide and I have breakfast or lunch here any day we are out hunting turkey or deer. The café is an important part of our experience.

The burrito is hard to pass up at breakfast, and haddock chowder on Fridays and Saturdays cannot be missed. The menu always includes some local favorites, but I often order the specials. Chef/owner Bob Wallack — who took up cooking after selling his Maine newspapers — is very creative, and he’s introduced me to many new flavors and dishes.

The pastries here are to die for. Chef/baker/manager Sarah Chaisson presents scrumptious scones, muffins and desserts. When Harry and I have breakfast here, we each order a full breakfast and we split a morning pastry. And no, Linda is not going to be pleased to hear this.

Don’t leave without buying a loaf of bread or a pie off the shelf near the door or from the refrigerated case. Whenever Linda leaves a note for me that says we need bread, it’s a license to get to the café that day. Of course, it’s the most expensive bread in the world because it includes breakfast or lunch.

Our daughter Hilary, home for Christmas from her job at a Washington, D.C., restaurant, joined us for lunch. Hilary and Linda are both great cooks and real foodies. So it’s pointless for me to write anything more.

Linda

I’m more than a little partial to our town of Mount Vernon, but it was an enormous boon to the town when the Olde Post Office Café opened. And what luck for those of us living nearby. I can’t imagine a prettier place for lunch.

Big windows look directly out over Minnehonk Lake to the tree-lined shore across the lake. The day we recently dined here, a small group was ice fishing on the lake and before we left, it had started to snow. It was the perfect picturesque winter scene in a typical rural Maine town.

When we arrived at noon, two tables were already occupied and I knew everyone at the restaurant. That doesn’t happen very often. People don’t feel rushed here, lingering over great food and conversation. Bob will make you feel more than welcome, and will be checking in on you.

The lunch menu features paninis and a variety of other sandwiches, as well as quiche and baked goods. But if you’ve never tried the soup here, you are missing something. Each and every soup I’ve sampled here has been special. I tried a cup of the Tuscan bean soup — full of white beans, carrots and just plain delicious. Bob really knows how to season soups without making them overly salty. I always look forward to the soup of the day.

We ordered a Cobb salad to share, and neither George nor Hilary could believe that I’d never had one. The freshest of ingredients made this one very delicious. All of my favorites were included — bacon, avocado, roasted turkey and hard-boiled eggs atop mixed greens, tomatoes and cucumbers.

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