A new cafe on Bangor Mall Boulevard will showcase vegetarian and vegan options and other healthy treats, capitalizing on a growing nationwide trend toward plant-based diets.
Little Gem, which opened Tuesday at 109 Bangor Mall Blvd. in the same development as the Bangor Mall Hannaford, owned by Maggie Bauman. She moved with her mother, Sara, to Bangor last year from Toledo, Ohio, where for over a decade they helped run a successful family restaurant called Grumpy.
Little Gem serves a range of salads, bowls, wraps and smoothies, most of which are vegan or vegetarian. Maggie Bauman, 31, said Grumpy’s was famous for its salads and learned all about cooking from her aunt Jennifer, who was the chef there.
âThe idea of ââthis place was to take the idea of ââthe salads we made there and do something here as a kind of quick and casual concept, all to go,â she said.
The Baumans, both vegans, moved to Bangor after Sara, who grew up on the east coast, pulled out of the family restaurant. Maggie knew she wanted to open her own restaurant and landed there near the mall, which she shares with Mainely Supplements, a nutritional supply store. Maggie Bauman prepares all the food, while her mother works in the front.
âWe felt there was a bit of a vacuum in the area for fresh salads and vegan options,â said Maggie Bauman. âI think we really complement Mainely Supplements because we both promote health and wellness. We really love it here in Bangor.
Everything on the menu is vegan or vegetarian, with the exception of the Gem Salad, which has chicken and bacon in it. There’s the Vegan Gem Salad, though, which features jackfruit chicken and tofu bacon, along with sweet and savory ingredients like mushrooms, pita chips, raisins, and poppy seed dressing.
Other salads include Hey Jude, a Caesar-style with chickpeas, quinoa, and Caesar-tahini dressing, and Jen-Pen, with edamame, avocado, cracked peanuts, and sesame-miso dressing. In addition to salads and smoothies, Bauman plans to add vegan baked goods in the coming months.
Bauman said that although the cafe has only been open for a few days, they have already received great reviews from customers.
âWe have had very good feedback,â she said. “I think people are really excited to have a place like this in Bangor.”
Little gem is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To place an order, call 207-291-0487.