BELFAST, Maine — Crab cakes with roasted red pepper mayonnaise, burgers with caramelized onion ketchup and Cajun pork chops with mashed potatoes.
These are some of the offerings of Belfast’s newest eatery, Scallions, which aims to offer restaurant-quality prepared food to go. Although it’s possible to eat in the Reny’s Plaza establishment — which offers limited seating — it’s not the main idea, according to chefs and owners Charles and Diana Evans of Searsport.
“They can get that high-quality meal, take it home, put on their jammies and watch a movie,” Diana Evans said.
Though Scallions just opened on Dec. 12, she and her husband have years of experience in fine dining. They ran the popular Route 1 restaurant the Rhumb Line for 14 years and then did food service for athenahealth in Belfast after the high-end restaurant closed a few years ago.
“Diana has had this idea percolating in her head for many years,” said her husband, who is better known by the nickname “Bim.”
They figured that while the recession hurt high-end restaurants, providing the same quality of food at lower prices would be a hit with busy professionals. And so far, their intuition has proved them right. Though they started in December with just the two of them, they have had to hire a cashier and a couple dishwashers already.
“I get really busy here,” Charles Evans said. “It’s really, really good. It’s busier every day of the week.”
In addition to the items available in the coolers, there is a grill in the back where he whips up treats including a roasted vegetable quesadilla and a prime rib sandwich served with horseradish sauce. The sandwiches range in price from $5.25 for a crunchy grilled cheese on whole-grain bread to $8.99 for the prime rib sandwich.
On a recent day, diners could have taken home a smoked salmon salad with capers and cornichons, baked haddock or porcini mushroom risotto.
Diana Evans said that the couple is hoping to let their old customers from the Rhumb Line know that they can find some former favorite dishes, including the roast duck with ginger peach chutney and the horseradish-crusted salmon, at the new place.
“We want to let them know where we are,” she said.
So far, news about Scallions has been spreading mostly by word-of-mouth.
Customer Jasmine Keithan of Belfast said that it opened at a good time for her family, as her kitchen is being renovated. Keithan said she has been coming in for both the convenience and “to have something made that is delicious.” Even after her kitchen is finished, she’ll still be coming into Scallions for lunch, she said.
“It’s affordable … to have something that’s made this well,” Keithan said.
The Evanses said that their whole family has been involved in the creation of Scallions.
Their 16-year-old daughter, Emily Evans, bakes goods for sale there and their 18-year-old son, Chas, designed their logos. In the future, they hope to expand to offer wine, cheese, gelato and bread for sale.
“I really enjoy feeding people good, quality food,” Diana Evans said. “Everybody’s got to eat — and it should be yummy.”
Scallions, which is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, is located in Reny’s Plaza and can be reached at 338-1414.