A couple of Saturdays ago, Meredith and I needed to run a few errands in the Old Port and planned to grab a bite to eat right afterwards. As it all too often happens however, we stopped by to see our friends at 2 Note, and before we knew it, we had completely lost track of time and that dreaded Portland late lunch hour had arrived – 2pm. On any given day, Portland has an abundance of great places to grab lunch, but as the 2 o’clock hour draws near, that number vanishes into thin air, and you’re left with a rumbling stomach and a somewhat stale shortlist of places you love to visit, but hate how often you do. Determined to not let 2pm beat us once again, Meredith and I did our mental food walkthrough of the city, and quickly came to the realization that we had one neighborhood favorite that we had yet to visit and was fortunately for us, open from noon-on – Bonobo Pizza in the West End.
A long time ago, Meredith and I had once before ordered a pizza from Bonobo on a trip to Portland before we had moved here. It was a blistering-cold and windy November in Maine, Meredith had bronchitis, and we were holed up in an inn around the corner. For a non-winterized southerner, a block was about all I could manage, and by the time I returned to our room, our pizza (to no fault of Bonobo’s) was ice cold and little could save the meal that evening. We mistakenly filed Bonobo away in the back of our minds, and after moving here, fell head over heals for the likes of Flatbread and later Otto. It took a few years, but we finally had the opportunity to right that wrong, and we’re so happy we did.
We weren’t the only late-lunchers on this Saturday, but luckily for our stomachs, there was a table just inside the door and our waitress was quick to bring us our menus. There is no shortage of tasty looking pizzas on the standard menu at Bonobo, but Meredith and I couldn’t take our eyes off of that Saturday’s special – the Peruvian with blue potatoes, ricotta, and bacon. The Lunch for Two special has to be one of the better food deals in town – a pizza, and two salads for $20 – so we ordered the Peruvian, two caesar salads, a glass of wine, and my still-all-time-favorite Maine Beer Co. Peeper. Our meal was fantastic! The bacon on the Peruvian wasn’t overpowering, and the garlic crust was delicious. We had no trouble polishing off every last bite, and by the time we were finished, the afternoon crowd had dwindled enough for Meredith to have free reign with her photography.
Sometimes some unfortunate timing can oddly enough end in a perfectly fortunate turn of events, and on this Saturday, we were lucky to revisit a place lost in my mind’s dusty filing cabinet. We’ll have to keep Bonobo’s near the top of our list in the future.
As an editor’s note, since that Saturday, we’ve returned to Bonobo once more, and it’s now a go-to takeout suggestion when we’re looking to grab and go.