If there’s a pizza joint in Heaven – it’s going to sit right on the water, serve up pizza made from organic ingredients, and employ a divine wait staff who flash charmed-motherly-smiles when my kids are loud (as if to say “Don’t worry. We know you need to leave the house. Let them roar. We think it’s cute. Can we offer a micro brew on tap for you, Mom?” Yes, PEOPLE, this is what eating out in Heaven is like.
And also in Portland, Main!. And before I reveal the object of my foodie affection… let me be clear. They are not paying me or compensating me in any way at all (but free pizza every Friday night is a welcome token of appreciation). I preach it ‘cuz it’s gospel.
I give you the ultra hip and casual-vibe-galore Flatbread Company.
It’s right on the water, next to the Casco Bay Ferry Lines. You can watch ferries come and go, as well as all other marine traffic. This is an essential ingredient in keeping their oodles of tiny customers happy.
That said, our favorite perch is directly in front of Flatbread’s two large wood-fired pizza ovens. Think walk-in pizza oven. They are that big.
There is a huge bench across from them, a rough slab of granite, usually shoulder to shoulder with children watching the show. Long handled pizza paddles shuffling pizzas in and out until it’s time to eat.
And if that doesn’t occupy your kiddos, the ball of pizza dough and flour will.
Flatbread is the perfect marriage of microbrew pub and neighborhood pizza place. In other words, it’s a great place to take your kids and enjoy yourself. And there is something delectable about a total lack of pretension even though you are the best pizza place on the planet.
I have two favorite times to eat there: 1. Friday night – something special in the chaos of families celebrating the end of the week. You won’t feel like a newbie. You’ll feel like a neighbor, and 2. For lunch before catching a ferry to Peak’s Island (only 20 minute boat ride away). Just tell the staff what time your ferry leaves and they’ll be sure to feed you in time. While at Peak’s, stay long enough to have an ice cream cone at the top of the hill.
ON A PRACTICAL NOTE:
- The 4-1-1 – Flatbread Company, 72 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine 04101 Tel. 207-772-8777
- Call Ahead – Flatbread Company will not take reservations. BUT you can call ahead when you are on your way. This can cut a 40 minute wait in half!
- Due to popular demand – it’s crowded. Bring the stroller ONLY if you have to. I leave the BOB in the car and opt for my Ergobaby.
- Bathrooms are clean – and wait staff is understanding when 5 seconds after they seat you, your preschooler announces “I gotta pee! I gotta pee!” Your stuff will not be stolen while you take the whole group to the bathroom.
- Driving here? If street parking is taken, there is a safe and well-lit parking garage right next door.
- Also worth noting, loads of outdoor (on the wharf-over the water) seating in summer.
In the Maine, Flatbread Company gets it!