This cafe has top notch brunch if you can get past the wait

I was excited to be at a restaurant I hadn’t been to in years – the last time under its former name – but I couldn’t understand the wait for Sunday brunch at Bayside American Cafe on Portland St. We had been told an hour plus, so we expected up to the hour and fifteen it took to be seated, but with all three tables on the first floor open for up to 30 minutes while we waited, the seating process seemed less than efficient.

When we finally got to our table, a nice two-top by the window upstairs, we were pretty hungry and hoping to get started right away. She ordered a Mango Mimosa which was made differently depending on whether one was looking at the Brunch Cocktails menu or the Specials menu. I went with a spicy Bloody Mary which was purported to be made from scratch.

The waitress returned with our drinks and we were ready to order. I started with an Omelet – three eggs and four toppings served with three potato home fries and choice of bread – I went with Tuscan white and chose maple breakfast sausage, mushrooms, red onion, and American cheese for filling. Then I turned up the volume, ordering one Peanut Butter Chip Pancake and one Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast – topped with fresh strawberries, caramel, and cream cheese icing.


After I finished my ordering, Mrs. Portlandeater went with the Veggie Home Fries – sauteed baby spinach, tomato, summer squash, mushroom, onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, Italian cheese blend and two eggs. That also came with home fries and choice of bread for which she took an English muffin.

We both sampled our drinks. My bloody was indeed spicy, causing a cough or two from the heavy horseradish, but I had no complaints. It was exactly as I wanted. The other side of the table was gripe-free too with the tropical champagne breakfast cocktail going down smoothly.

Unfortunately, I was done my drink before the food came and by the time it did, our wait had been 45 minutes. It was excessive though I was just happy to finally have something to eat. The breads were on the wrong plates, but my wife and I decided to keep what we had. Ketchup, jelly, butter, hot sauce, and syrup soon followed. I was thrilled at the opportunity to dip some sustenance onto my taste buds.

My omelet confirmed a food fact I have long believed – all omelets should come with a minimum of three eggs and three fillings. I’m happy this one had four of the latter. It was delicious and well-stuffed, including plenty of cheese – a great example made to high standards. I enjoyed the crispy taters too.

She seemed to be enjoying her food as I worked to finish my egg preparation and moved on to the large, fluffy pancake. I coated it in syrup and sliced a bite. It was excellent, though I might have drowned out the peanut butter flavor just slightly with too much of the sweet stuff. Due to its size, the flapjack took some time to consume, but I finished it.

By the time I pulled the French toast over to me, I was starting to get pretty full. However, I felt a civic duty to devour it. I started eating it without syrup and was pleased that it did not need any. It was very sweet, but really good, with cheese overtones and a little mellowing of the sugar from the beautiful, fresh berries. It wasn’t easy, but I laid waste to the single slice.

Our final tab at Bayside American Cafe came to about $55 before tip. I was very happy with the food; both sweet and savory items were excellent which makes it easy to be confident that whatever I order in the future, it will be solid. In addition, I thought the drinks were good, and overall, the prices were quite reasonable.

Despite the quality food, we had difficulty with the wait times. I do understand that it was an exceptionally busy day, but there were too many tables empty for too long right in front of us. Still, we expected to wait a while to sit, but not so long for food once we did. I’m not sure exactly what the issue was on either front, but hopefully it will be addressed. I’d love to go back soon, but I’ll wait until I know that situation has improved.

Stay hungry.

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Peter Blanchette

About Peter Blanchette

Peter Peter Portland Eater grew up in Lewiston, Maine and graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in English. After college, he left the state to work in Massachusetts, but the allure of a more comfortable life in his home state brought him back after eight years. Upon his return and after meeting his now wife – Mrs. Portlandeater, he slowly integrated himself into the Portland food scene by trying as many restaurants as he could afford. That and a desire to write for others again led him to start where he reviews restaurants and blogs about whatever Portland/Maine food topics he finds interesting.