BELFAST—If you’re shopping at the United Farmers Market of Maine in Belfast and happen upon Mike Raven’s booth, “Grandpa’s Specialty Smoked Meats,” you don’t have too far to walk for table service, as he recently opened a tiny restaurant next door.
Last month, Raven opened Grandpa’s Kitchen, an offshoot of his smoked meats business, in the kitchen annex attached to United Farmers Market of Maine formerly used by Jamaican Vybz.
As the family cook, Raven grew up observing his grandfather in the kitchen.
“My grandfather was of German descent,” said Raven. “He was a butcher and he made all of his own sausages by hand. When I was eight years old, I started helping him with an old-fashioned grinder.”
Sourcing his beef and pork from a Maine farm, Raven makes sausages, kielbasas, hot Italian and sweet Italian sausages, polish Kielbasa and 100% beef hot dogs by hand, and then smokes them. He also hand-slices pastrami and corned beef.
“It’s like nothing you’ve tried in the store; it’s all made by hand with much more flavor,” he said.
The space presents a simple, but inviting area with four tables and counter seating for breakfast and lunch. Grandpa’s Kitchen’s menu, which is slightly German-influenced, just as you’d expect it to be, consists of mostly homemade comfort food. For breakfasts, Raven makes his own red flannel corn beef hash omelet and Grandpa’s sausage gravy, among some of the more popular offerings.
“That one is probably my biggest seller, always fresh,” he said, of the white gravy recipe.
He also serves Buckboard, an English-style bacon and maple bourbon bacon with breakfast.
For lunch, the menu is still finding its stride with a bacon cheeseburger made from grass-fed cattle, a Reuben sandwich and a Cuban sandwich, among the current selection.
Raven said the menu featured in this article will be ever-changing, but he plans to alter the menu to go with the seasons. The current menu doesn’t yet reflect the homemade soups made daily, such as a ginger-infused beet, or the vegan meals they’ll soon be offering, such as collard greens, lentil soup and squash soup.
“I’ll be adding specials, like lasagna, pot roast, more turkey dishes coming up for Thanksgiving,” said Raven. “If anyone wants to share a meal or break up something on the menu, they can.”
Grandpa’s Specialty Smoked Meats still has a place in his new restaurant, in the display case by the front counter.
“Besides all of our sausages, we’ll be offering smoked turkeys and chickens to go as well,” he said.
Grandpa’s Kitchen is not yet found online or on social media. It is open every day except Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org