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Sweet treats

LEWISTON – Stepping into the venerable Village Bake Shoppe in the historic Village of Lewiston is like leaning into a hug from your Grandma. Comfort surrounds you in the scents of baked goods created from scratch, which tickle recessed memories of childhood. Displays of its famous Mile High Apple Pie greet you right inside the door.

Pumpkin-colored walls enclose a scattering of dark wood tables and chairs, with opportunities to sit outside, as well. Regulars and visitors alike are awed by the wild assortment of homemade treats.

Breakfast and lunch are served, with some items available all day. But why not cut right to the chase and begin with dessert, because it’s summer, a time to loosen the shackles of convention, and besides, this is the place for treats.

Let’s start with those addictive cookie bars ($2.25). A quick glance offers up chocolate turtle, date, fudge shortbread, chocolate toffee and the raspberry crumb and buttercrumb fudge hailed by no less than the food editor of the New York Times, Marian Burros, back in 1996.

Then there are the dessert bars ($3) to swoon over, with choices like Almond Joy, chocolate mousse and pecan, plus cake in a cup ($4.75), slice of cake ($4.95) and big cupcakes with filling ($3); offerings change daily. Or, how about a sweet butter tart ($1.75), slice of cheesecake ($4.95) or apple dumpling ($5), served with vanilla sauce?

Now, let’s talk pies. Hefty mini-pies run $4.50, while you can take a large one home for $18. The flavors sound like a summer dream: blueberry sour cream, cherry, peaches and cream, to name a few. The juicy and delicious Mile High Apple runs $22.

Each Mile High pie is made with an astounding “five pounds of locally grown apples,” said Michael Fiore, who owns the shop with his wife, Lindsay.

And, we forgot to mention the cookies – whether it’s the Big Cookies ($1.75) in chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter or snickerdoodle, or the small, 60-cent variety, which changes daily.

It’s important to note that there are gluten-free and sugar-free items available in the shop. Dairy-free treats may be custom-ordered, Fiore said.

“Everything is customizable here,” he added. “We pride ourselves on that.”

Now, on to breakfast, available 7 to 11 a.m., with a selection of breakfast sandwiches, served on croissants ($4) or bagels ($4.50). Quiche, ($3.75 a slice) also is available all day, with selections like broccoli cheddar or ham, mushroom and Swiss.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features paninis, ciabattas or croissants. Croissant sandwiches are served all day. A lunch special includes a half panini and cup of soup ($7). A few panini choices include turkey bacon melt ($8) and Gucci grilled cheese ($9) and come with chips or a unique carrotslaw – shredded carrots, Ventura French and dried cranberries.

A kids’ grilled cheese is $4. Ciabattas ($5) and croissants ($4) feature cheese with turkey, ham, bacon, sausage or spinach.

Specialty drinks include smoothies ($4) like peach or mango; espresso ($2), latte ($4) and cappuccino ($4), as well as coffee and tea, water and juice.

A word to the wise – don’t save room for dessert here, start with dessert. You’ll be back.

VILLAGE BAKE SHOPPE

Where: 417 Center St., Lewiston (754-2300, villagebakeshoppe.com)

Summer hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Wheelchair-accessible: Yes.

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