Vegan curried tempeh sandwich with avocado on Anadama bread.

A staple of Maine Street in downtown Brunswick, Wild Oats is typically filled with Brunswick residents and Bowdoin College students. In addition to delicious food, the casual atmosphere and ample seating make it the perfect place to relax and meet up with friends, do work or just grab a bite to eat.

I was hesitant to order curbside pickup because I knew the experience would be different without the familiar atmosphere and large seating area flooded with natural light, but as usual, Wild Oats did not disappoint.

The restaurant has an online menu of items available for pickup, with nearly all of its regular offerings included – sandwiches, coffee, baked goods, breads and desserts – as well as a new selection of grocery items.

Unfortunately, paninis, a popular treat at the café, are not available at this time. Soup, which is typically served piping hot directly out of the pot, is now packaged cold and available for purchase by the pint.

Wild Oats also introduced a recipe subscription, which provides customers with 17 of the restaurant’s favorite recipes via email over 12 days, including one of the restaurant’s most popular items, Sour Cream Coffee Cake. An individual subscription costs $25, and all proceeds go toward paying for health insurance for employees laid off during the pandemic.

I ordered a vegan curried tempeh sandwich with avocado on Anadama bread ($9.95) and a small vanilla latte with oat milk ($3.50) online at 1 p.m. I received a text and email immediately saying my order would be ready after 1:40 p.m., but at 1:28 p.m., I received a second message letting me know my order was ready.

Wild Oats Bakery and Café in Brunswick is set up for curbside pickup. Photo by Emma Sorkin

The restaurant is located in the Tontine Mall, and there is a moderately sized parking lot adjacent to the building. When I pulled in, bright orange cones and a sign indicated where to pull up and form a line on one side of the lot. An employee came out wearing gloves and a mask within two minutes of my arrival, asked for my name and went inside to retrieve the order.

The sandwich came out first, followed by the drink three minutes later. Each item was individually wrapped and put in a paper bag with my name on it. The bag was placed on one of two tables set up on the sidewalk for fast curbside pickup.

The whole process was completely contactless; the employees move away from the table as soon as they deliver the food, so I felt safe exiting the car to grab my order. There is no outside seating currently available, so I drove home to eat my food.

Though sitting in my living room is not the same as sitting inside Wild Oats surrounded by peers, the familiar food serves as a comforting reminder of the beloved Brunswick establishment and the hope that we will soon be able to gather inside again.

Staff Writer Emma Sorkin can be reached at [email protected].

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