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Lewiston-based bakery, café to open Portland location

Forage in Portland (WGME)

LEWISTON (WGME) -- A Lewiston-based bakery and café is opening up a Portland location.

Signs outside say "opening soon,” inside, work continues on the second location of Allen Smith's bakery and café Forage.

“With the building at this point, what we need to do is get all of our fixtures in so that we can run a restaurant,” Smith said.

Smith opened the Lewiston bakery in 2012, making bagels in a wood-fired oven.

“The bagels were phenomenally good, better than we could have even expected when we built the oven so we're reproducing that here with this oven,” Smith said.

But this oven is a lot different.

“These ovens are a very long tradition in Spain. They've been building this style of oven for over 100 years with the rotating decks,” Smith said.

Smith had the parts shipped directly from Spain.

“I think it was 33,000 pounds of material that was shipped over,” Smith said.

Two Spanish masons even flew over to help assemble it.

Smith says the rotating deck will help them make even more bagels.

“We don't have to manage each bagel; the bagels will turn relative to the fire rather than us having to turn each bagel,” Smith said.

Customers will get to see it all in action.

“We're going to have all the customers sort of seated right in front of the oven so they can observe the whole process of baking the bagels, which is very interesting,” Smith said.

Though they looked at some brand new spaces, Smith says he's attracted to buildings with history.

The property at 123 Washington Avenue was Greeley Laundry for many years and then a floral business after that.

“We really liked the way that coming into an old space adds so much interest immediately and warmth and it's harder to establish that with a brand new space,” Smith said.

The property is starting a new chapter and Smith can't wait to share his products with this Portland neighborhood.

“It's been very welcoming right from the beginning,” Smith said.

Forage's wood-fire bagels were called "one of America’s best bagels" in Saveur Magazine.

The goal is to open the Portland location in mid-June.

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