When visiting our son at Bowdoin College, we stopped by for lunch at Wild Oats on the recommendation of one of his friends. We were glad we did. I chose the sausage bean soup and it was wonderful, definitely freshly made. My husband ordered a sandwich that was made right there at the counter. It was almost too big to eat. The dining area is an open space where we could choose our table. We heard that Wild Oats is a local favorite. It was easy for us to see (and taste) why. Neither one of us could resist grabbing a few cookies before we left, and that was a great choice!
This used to be a diamond in the rough, but now it's just rough. There has been a definite decline in the level of quality. The dining area is dingy, on several occasions I have witnessed grubby children (and grubby adults) pawing through the baked goods as if they were at a rummage sale, leaving stale, picked over pastries. I have also witnessed customers sampling directly from the soup ladle in full view of the staff. I'm not a germaphobe by any means, but in this age of swine flu and other air borne diseases, I feel they are being extremely irresponsible allowing so much of their food be self serve.
I'm also a bit appalled at how few local products they actually use. I know it's hard for restaurants in these tough times, but they're charging organic/locavore prices for food that's quality is institutional at best . It used to be such a gem, but seems to be declining rapidly, I hope they can pull it together.
This place has it all, prices, service, location, and best of all AWESOME food. One of my favorites is the turkey BLT but it's hard to miss with their sandwiches, either pick from a few pre made customer favorites or order your own made exploding with their delicious meats and cheeses and fresh veggies. they also have awesome homemade baked goods and frozen entrees. oh yeah, i forgot, my other favorite thing is their soups, homemade every day and different and original from day to day.
Wild Oats (not the natural food store!) is an incredible find - just ask all the people that wait in line to order! It could use more seating in the winter, but there's a great porch outside in the summer, and I always get my food to go to the park anyway.
My favorite meal is the Chutney Chicken Salad Sandwich, which is really original, like all their stuff, and the sandwiches are HUGE! A little on the pricey side maybe, but the value is incredible - sometimes I get a half sandwich, and sometimes I just take the other half home for lunch the next day. The soups are wicked good, too, and the fish chowder is the best in the area.
Sometimes a little crowded if you're in a hurry, but worth the wait, and the staff is really nice and fun. They usually have good music too.
A tiny little dive in the Tontine Mall, lacks air conditioning but has outdoor dining & wonderful selection of fresh baked breads, cookies, specialty pizzas (you can buy by the slice) and salads. They cater to the palatte of the vegetarian, vegan, and meat-eater alike. Prices are somewhat in the upper-mid range, but for the pure quality and wholesome direction of menu items, you really can't go wrong. It's easy to get lost in the dining experience Wild Oats has to offer. I highly recommend it.
This Wild Oats is *NOT* part of a national food chain. It is an independent cafe unto itself, existing in Brunswick long before the Wild Oats Food Chain in South Portland arrived.
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