Update: While Bresca & the Honey Bee no longer serve food at the beach, families are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. Ice cream is still available. If you return to the area in the fall, be sure to check out The Purple House in North Yarmouth, a lovely cafe serving breakfast and lunch.
Bresca was MP’s favorite restaurant in Portland—the creative menu, the wine selection, Krista Desjarlais’ incredible desserts, and the cozy bistro atmosphere made it MP and DP’s go to place for an adult night out.
When Desjarlais decided to close Bresca in May 2013, MP’s disappointment was buoyed when she learned the chef had decided to renovate a snack shack at Outlet Beach on Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester. While there would be no more quiet wine dinners at the Portland location, now our whole family could enjoy Desjarlais’ delicious food, and a day at the lake.
We decided to visit the snack shack, Bresca and the Honey Bee, on Opening Day 2014. Gray skies and thickening clouds didn’t deter us. Unfortunately when we arrived, Desjarlais decided to postpone the opening. The young woman working at the window said the staff was testing a few dishes, but only ice cream was available for purchase.
Despite the threat of rain, we decided ice cream for lunch sounded like a great idea. It was Memorial Day weekend after all – why not splurge? We decided on 3 flavors—root beer, sea salt caramel, and dark chocolate. The ice cream was served in paper cups, and each generous scoop was topped with a pizzelle cookie (a crispy, Italian waffle cookie made from flour, eggs, sugar, and butter).
At the former Bresca, Desjarlais offered desserts like chocolate soup and MP remembers saying to DP, “I’m equal parts intrigued and concerned. Will it taste like eating Hershey’s syrup?” The rich, dark chocolate soup was served over scoop of vanilla gelato, and ended up being one of the best desserts in recent memory… until MP tried Desjarlais’ ice cream.
This is an ice cream you’ll be dreaming about long after you leave. Each flavor was creamy, delicious, and not overly sweet. MP is a dark chocolate fan (as evidenced by the aforementioned soup), but she and DP both agreed the root beer was our favorite— mainly because the flavor tasted just like a root beer float in ice cream form. As for CP#2? He scraped his bowl of caramel sea salt ice cream clean.
Much like the original Bresca, the new location has the same beautiful, personal touches. There are gorgeous potted flowers all around and Sabbathday Lake is stunning, no matter what the weather. We returned again in July with family. We rented big, colorful tubes for the day, and spent time swimming and relaxing. Of course, we all enjoyed more ice cream!
To learn more about this great family beach and snack shack, visit Bresca and the Honey Bee’s web site or find them on Facebook. Writer Melissa Coleman’s review in the Portland Press Herald highlights the wonderful food (MP is a big fan of the grilled carrot salad and goat cheese).
Bresca and the Honey Bee
106 Outlet Road
New Gloucester, ME