What is in this article?:
- Independent Innovator: Rosemont Market Brings Back Ways of the Past
- Meat Sourced Locally
“Bakery is our flagship department. It has helped us weather the lean times. It sets us apart."
— Scott Anderson, co-owner
Most of Rosemont Market menu items are house-made with local ingredients.
PORTLAND, Maine — Rosemont Market & Bakery is the kind of place a lot of people would like to have at the end of their street.
The colorful wood building has an old-time look. Most menu items are made in-house from local ingredients, and co-owners John Naylor and Scott Anderson put a priority on quality and creativity.
Each of Rosemont’s four locations boasts a loyal coterie of nearby residents, many arriving on foot or by bicycle. But there are those who travel from other parts of the city, too, driving past mainstream supermarkets to buy butcher Jarrod Spangler’s fresh-made rabbit hot dogs or cured beef tongue hash or the kitchen’s house-made savory soups.
“We have some grocery items, but only one brand. Just one of each product that we know is good,” Anderson told SN. “The only salsa we offer, for example, is our own, made right here.”
He and Naylor explained that they don’t carry cigarettes or a lot of paper products. It’s all about food and wine, they said — and it has to be good.
“Local” and “fresh” are revered concepts here. “Natural food store” may come closest to defining the carefully and artfully designed Rosemont Market stores, but Anderson said, “They’re just places where we make all the kinds of food we like.” Obviously customers like it, too, because sales keep growing.
Excellent service counts here, too.
The cheerful, helpful employees give Rosemont Markets an aura reminiscent of the early health food stores in which owners and associates displayed almost palpable passion for what they were doing.
Well, this isn’t a health food store, Anderson pointedly said, but passion is a major ingredient in the company’s success.
The owners have put quality above all else. Quality of product, quality of service, even quality of life, Anderson said.
“There’s not a lot of overtime. We close early in the evening. We try to strike a balance. We want our employees to be happy, to have a life outside of here. Our idea is to work as hard as we can without going crazy.” That last sentence is particularly important because if employees are overworked or stressed, they’re too busy to be creative, Anderson added. He said he and Naylor consciously try to provide an atmosphere that encourages creativity.
Anderson comes in at 12:30 a.m. and bakes through the night, turning out 20 different kinds of dough and pastry.
“Bakery is our flagship department,” Anderson said. “It has helped us weather the lean times. It sets us apart.
“We make French-inspired sourdoughs, baguettes, ciabatta, croissants and traditional loaves of semolina, wheat, cinnamon-raisin breads, and we shape our own pretzels.”
The day crew makes savory potpies, lasagna, quiches and other destination items from the dough Anderson mixes at night.
“The soups they make are a huge draw, too,” Anderson said. “We offer two a day — a meat and a vegetarian one.”
The same is true of the sandwich of the day. “Everything is made right here in the kitchen and bakery — a carryover, I guess from when John and I worked together before.”
A crew of 14 employees is dedicated to delivering the fresh-made fare from the store with production facilities to the company’s other two full-range stores — one in another section of Portland and another up the coast a few miles in Yarmouth.
“We have three vehicles and our employees are driving back and forth from store to store to production kitchen three times a day, making deliveries.”
The menu offerings themselves show off the associates’ care. Last week one day, the meat sandwich was beer-braised, pulled chicken on Anderson’s foccaccia with cheddar, red onion, local tomatoes and house-made pickles.
The veggie sandwich of the day, on a house-made baguette, contained provolone, arugula pesto, walnuts, local tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and mesclun. They retail for $5.99 each.
Giant slices of hearth-baked pizza, at $2.50, are big sellers on the lunch menu.
The bakery may be a stand-out, but as a differentiator it must be rivaled by the company’s recently established butcher shop.
If consumers saw a whole cow being delivered — as is the norm — they’d take notice.