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Coffee Pot yard sale vends memories

Bangor Daily News | BDN
Bangor Daily News | BDN
Doug Tibbetts of Stetson looks over a selection of antique tools and other items during a " yard sale" in the front room of the former Coffee Pot in Bangor on Monday, Jan. 11, 2009. The Coffee Pot served its last sandwich on Dec. 31, 2009. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN BENNETT
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

Though it closed for good on Dec. 31, the Coffee Pot, a landmark Bangor eatery, is unofficially open again this week for a yard sale.

According to former employee Cheryl Whittaker, the Coffee Pot will be open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. through Jan. 13 not for sandwiches, but to sell odds and ends from the now-closed business. A mixed bag of items, from appliances and tools to cups, plates, buckets and leftover Coffee Pot memorabilia, are up for sale.

Coffee Pot friends and fans cleared out more than half of the items for sale Monday morning, including a broken arcade game, a popcorn maker, and the door to the walk-in refrigerator — which sold for $350.

“A guy came in and bought the door right off the bat,” said Whittaker, who worked for the Coffee Pot for 20 years. “We aren’t selling anything for any less than what it’s marked. No haggling. You want it, the price is on it.”

Whittaker, along with Robin Frost and Denise Robichaud, who worked for the Coffee Pot for 16 and 17 years, respectively, handled the phones and the cash box. The now-retired former owner, Skip Rist, was not on hand.

The most coveted items were already off the market: the signs from inside the restaurant, showing what the different Coffee Pot sandwiches were made of and sold for, and the iconic neon sign that graced the front of the building for decades.

“Skip gave the inside signs to some friends of his, and he’s donated the front sign to the Bangor Historical Society,” said Whittaker. “Everything else is up for grabs. I was pretty surprised when somebody bought the great big old shoeshine chair we had for 100 bucks. I didn’t think anybody would want that, but I guess they did.”

One thing the former Coffee Pot employees noted was the new sandwich offered at Jimmy V’s Soups & Sandwiches on Hammond Street. Jimmy V’s “Tea Pot” sandwich is composed of the same ingredients as Rist’s iconic Coffee Pot sandwich: ham or salami, or both, with onions, tomatoes, pickles, green peppers, cheese, oil and red pepper. According to Whittaker, Frost and Robichaud, it’s just a knockoff.

“We’ve seen it, and in no way does it resemble a Coffee Pot,” said Whittaker. “All I can say is that our customers are loyal, and Skip is a good person who would never do something like that. The secret to the Coffee Pot was consistency. You always got a little bit of everything that was in it in each bite. If you don’t have that, it’s not a Coffee Pot.”

After Wednesday, the green building at 173 State St. will be owned by the Phillips Strickland House, a retirement and assisted-living facility located directly behind the Coffee Pot. Whittaker expects it to be torn down. All that will be left of the Coffee Pot will be a handful of items sold at the yard sale and fond memories. Whittaker thinks they could have had one more souvenir item, however, in addition to the mugs, keychains, magnets and other memorabilia Rist sold over the years.

“I think a Coffee Pot scratch and sniff wouldn’t have been a bad idea,” she said. “You’d never forget it with that.”


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