Updated: Oct 7
I will be honest. Like most of us who grew up in The Great State Of, Biddeford wasn't exactly the first town that came to mind when you thought 'up-and-coming'. More like 'down-and-going'. I can't say I even stepped foot into the mill town until my 20s. For my senior thesis project at MECA, I wanted to have the leather cover of my thesis book branded with the logo I had designed for said project. The only place I had come across in my research was a little studio called Mullenberg Designs out of the North Mill Campus, who specialized in the kind of bookbindery I was looking for.
When I first stepped into the mill building, I was starstruck; long, hardwood hallways with tungsten lighting overhead. Views overlooking the rushing Saco River. Rows upon rows of artist studios. I was in love. So imagine my delight 5 years later when Biddeford started presenting itself as a booming food and artistic scene, both in and out of the aforementioned mill building. Let me share with you a few of my favorites!
Elements: Books Coffee Beer
I've been frequenting this cafe a lot as of late. Not only because of the stellar bagels and baked goods supplied by Little Spruce and Rose Foods, but for the killer atmosphere that just exudes comfort and relaxation. The tall ceilings, tungsten lighting (a running theme!), walls and walls of books...I could go on. It's like if your local library chilled out and let you eat food while reading books. I love nothing more than sitting down with my laptop and devouring a Little Spruce ham and cheese croissant.
Part and Parcel
Sandwiches, coffee, baked goods, OH SHIT! Part & Parcel is another welcome addition to Biddeford's growing cafe circuit, but it doesn't just stop at coffee. While the cute little stools sitting in front of a large front window are a welcoming place to sit down for a sip, Part & Parcel also prides itself on delicious made-to-order sandwiches, cold cases filled with delectable prepared foods, and tempting treats sitting at the checkout counter begging to be impulse buys, there's no shortage of options here. Plus the large, open interior is clean, stylish, and exemplifies Biddeford's slow tonal shift into the next hip town outside of Portland.
Time and Tide
Another new cafe contender, Time and Tide seemingly came out of left field when one day a large poster with stylish new branding appeared in the window of a storefront by the Saco-Biddeford line. And no sooner after I discovered it had they opened for business. Following in the growing trend of clean, open, and inviting coffee shops, Time and Tide shakes it up with the colorful identity design that resolves around poppy pinks and blues (see their awesome mural right in the front of the store!) that stands out on the sleek white walls. Their treats come from The Purple Whisk, and their coffee is all their own, single origin roasted beans served in cute little navy bags. I will definitely be back, laptop in hand, and in desperate need of a good cup of coffee.
Yeah, who didn't see this coming from a mile away? I don't feel like I need to say any more than what's already been said by big names like Bon Appetit and Eater, other than I still haven't gotten my hands on their stack of pancakes but as God as my witness, I will get those fat stacks in my belly.
Okay, okay, technically this is in Saco, but it's so close to the Biddeford-Saco line that I just had to include it here. While Portland boasts its own impressive spread of Latin American food (Tu Casa, MAIZ Columbian Street Food, Flores, etc), I'd be hard pressed to say Biddeford has the same. But Quiero is a shining beacon in the dark that is the lack of authentic ethnic food and shine it does.
Sweet corn arepas, fried plantains, patacon, I could go on. Everything is packed to bursting with flavor and nothing is less than perfectly prepared. Even the fried cheese served with pineapple cubes, which I'm typically skeptical about mixing sweet with my savory, blew me away. Unfortunately, Quiero will be closed for renovations from Dec. 24th to February, but the second those doors open again I'll be back in to scope the new digs and get fat on arepas.