Toast bar opens in South Portland this fall

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Allison Reid and Bob Johnson embrace outside their soon-to-open toast bar.

Is this the greatest thing since sliced bread? A toast bar run by Scratch Baking Co. opens this fall in a former garage that happens to resemble a toaster. “It will have black handles soon,” says a buoyant Bob Johnson, co-owner of the Willard Square bakery a few blocks away.

The one-two punch includes the takeover of a Getty Gas Station on Broadway in South Portland’s Ferry Village for Scratch’s new bread and bagel production HQ. A few steps away a former oil and lube shop is converting into a toast bar.

Why toast?

“Toast is my go-to comfort food and always has been,” said Allison Reid, Johnson’s business partner. “Opening a toast bar has been my dream for 12 years.”

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The owners and a carpenter pose in their new production house. New dough machines will improve efficiencies.

Come October, banana bread, buttermilk cornbread, English muffins, artisanal loaves and bagels will be sliced, toasted and slathered with peanut butter, cream cheese, jams and other simple spreads. All made from scratch by Scratch.

“It’s not a breakfast joint. It’s not a lunch cafe,” said Reid, waving off notions of fancy accouterments like avocado spreads. “It’s a place to join the party on your way to work,” says Johnson.

Simple is the motto, no WiFi is the code and strong coffee is the lubrication in this “complementary retail concept,” to the 12-year-old, always jammed Scratch.

Unlike the flagship grab-and-go bakery, the toast bar will have seats around a community table. And baristas will sling coffee from local roasters like Rwanda Bean and Speckled Ax. This is also the site for breadheads to geek out on gluten. “It’s a place to showcase our bread and provide more education on bread,” said Reid.

With shiny new equipment next store like stone-deck ovens, a bagel boiler, and dough separators, Scratch 2.0 will be able to pump out twice as many bagels as they do now and a bounty of bread. This will make for a less crowded bakeshop and more room for pastry orders. To accommodate the shift, Scratch closes from Sept. 6 to 13. The toast bar opens this fall! Follow the aroma to the corner of Sawyer Street and Broadway.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.