Restaurant Review: Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery

January 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Despite the fact that I frequent the mid-coast college town of Brunswick, Maine, I had never heard of Frontier until a student mentioned it to me a week or two ago.  I immediately checked out their website (http://www.explorefrontier.com/)  and was intrigued.  It looked different, modern and delicious.

My family and I got the opportunity to check out Frontier today.  Located inside Fort Andross, a refurbished mill on the Androscoggin River which also houses Cabot Mill Antiques, the cafe immediately felt warm and inviting to me.  As I mentioned, I’d never heard of Frontier, which left me initially concerned that they might be struggling.  However, the place was practically full when we arrived at 2 in the afternoon and remained as such.  I’m not worried for them; if there’s a recession going on, it’s not apparent at Frontier.   The bulk of the cafe is open and spacious, with thick wood tables and benches.  The walls are deep reds and yellows and the big windows overlook the River.  Black and white artwork of loggers ran along one wall.  I’m big on atmosphere and to me, the place seemed comfortable, friendly and hard to be unhappy in.  Another draw of Frontier which we did not explore today is their cinema.  I didn’t count seats but I suspect it holds about 50, with counters in front of each row of chairs for enjoying your food while watching an indie film.

One orders at a counter immediately upon entering the cafe; menu selections are written on chalkboards suspended from the high ceilings.  I had previewed the menu several times online and was especially interested in the “marketplates”: themed platters of various ingredients including French, Italian and Cheese.  However, once we arrived at the cafe I couldn’t resist the creamy potato dill soup being offered.  My parents ordered the pastrami sandwich and a Frontier Italian sandwich.  Everything on the menu seemed appetizing, however and they also have a large selection of bottled teas, sodas, beer and wine.  The wait for our food seemed a little long for soup and sandwiches, but they were busy.  My soup arrived in a ceramic bowl with two slices of crusty bread.  It was very thick, very tasty and very filling.  The rustic sandwiches looked delicious as well.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Frontier to someone looking for a refreshing dining experience.  My soup was great and so was the atmosphere.  One of my parents said “it was good but not stupendous.”  I agree-it’s not gourmet cuisine, but it was really quality, original, fresh cafe and deli food in a great location.

Also, check out the reviews from the Portland Press Herald and Down East Magazine.

Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery
14 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

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