Cobb salad with chicken from the Soup Dogg & Salad menu at Ghost Karen’s Kitchens in Gorham. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

No, a ghost kitchen is not the inexplicably well-stocked room where Scooby Doo and Shaggy make giant sandwiches at seemingly every haunted house they stumble upon. The relatively new term refers to a restaurant meant for takeout only that often offers a wide variety of cuisine under one roof. It’s perfect for the pandemic and will likely survive well after it ends.

The concept arrived in Maine with the December opening of Ghost Karen’s Kitchens in downtown Gorham, where you can choose from six different menus: Brooklyn Benny’s (pizza), Bliss Bowl, Soup Dogg & Salad, Mykonos Mediterranean, Backyard Burger and My Thai.

Since starting the weight loss app Noom about six weeks ago, I’m all about veggies and lean protein, so when the time came to place my online order at Ghost Karen’s, I honed in on the Soup Dogg & Salad menu and opted for the Cobb salad ($14). It was described as greens, tomato, pickled onion, avocado, smoked bacon, boiled egg, blue cheese and ranch dressing, which I requested on the side. I knew this wouldn’t hold me over for very long without a bit more protein, so for an additional $5, I added chicken, bringing the price tag for this salad to $19, not including tax and tip.

Although this was a bit steep for a salad, I’d order it again for two key reasons. First, Cobb salads rule! The one from Soup Dogg & Salad was no exception; the bacon in particular was extraordinary – thick and bursting with flavor. Secondly, I maintain that we all should try and do what we can to support local restaurants. They need us, badly. In a few weeks, we’ll hit the one-year mark of the pandemic and restaurants have been hit particularly hard.

To be honest, I would have appreciated a little more chicken, and some of the lettuce could have been a bit fresher, but any salad with hard boiled egg in it is a friend of mine, and I enjoyed it overall.

I scanned all six menus at Ghost Karen’s Kitchens, and there were a number of items that jumped out at me. The Greek Bowl with greens, olive oil rice, white beans, olives, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, crispy chickpeas and grilled flatbread for $13.50 from Mykonos Mediterranean is right up my alley. I’d also be all about the Thai fried rice from My Thai. It’s $13 and made with rice, egg, tomato, peas, carrots, garlic, scallion, chili sauce, cilantro, mint, basil, lime and cucumber. And from Brooklyn Benny’s, I was drawn to Benny’s Classic Cheese Pie ($10) because, not unlike Kevin in “Home Alone,” I’m all about “a lovely cheese pizza all for me.”

By the way, I rarely do online ordering because I always assume it will be complicated. However, Ghost Karen’s system was as easy as pie. When I arrived to pick up my order, I was impressed by how big and clean the kitchen was. I got a decent look at it from behind the table that served as a partition and pick-up area. After two staffers greeted me, I was handed my bagged order and cruised back home to enjoy it.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: