Here’s what the locals know about LeRoux Kitchen: if you need something — anything — for your kitchen, be it a humble whisk or a high-end stockpot you’ve been saving up for years to get, then LeRoux is the place to go. Sure, there’s that place in the Mall, with the catalogs and the fancy name, but — I kid you not — their selection pales when compared to the selection at LeRoux.
The front is full of treats: enter the door and you’re greeted with a candy case full of chocolates that are as beautiful to look at as they are luscious to eat. To your left is the wine section (“Ask about the Wine of the Month Club!”), to your right, a wonderland of oils and vinegars, all available to sample. They have an extensive selection of bar-ware, some of which appears to come straight from the set of Mad Men, and a selection of condiments and pantry items that will make your mouth water from their packaging alone.
Walk to the back, though, and you realize the real appeal of LeRoux: the walls and walls and walls of things. Beautiful things. Simple things, like wooden spoons. Crazy kitchen tools you never realized you needed until you saw them on the wall. They have an entire wall of knives. Shelves and shelves of teakettles (and thousands of accoutrements for coffee and tea connoisseurs). Dishes and saltshakers and oven mitts and apple peelers and baking pans (need to bake cakes in the shape of a car? A beehive? A fairy-tale village?) and pot racks and storage bins and …. well, you get the picture. (And if you don’t, well check out the pictures.)
Then, you go upstairs.
Upstairs they have a full kitchen, where they hold cooking classes and product demos, shelves and shelves full of gadgets and high-end cookware, and a safe full of cookbooks.
(In case you haven’t gotten the point yet, let me say it plainly: LeRoux Kitchen has the most crazy, awesome, comprehensive inventory of food related stuff I’ve ever seen, anywhere.)
For a visitor to the city, though, here’s the important part: LeRoux has a strong commitment to selling Maine-produced foods. They are clearly dedicated to nourishing and encouraging Maine businesses, and their selection of Maine foods (and wines and beers) is a selection of the very best the State has to offer. If you want to bring home a little bit of the “Taste of Maine” in a form that will fit in your suitcase, then LeRoux Kitchen should absolutely be on your souvenir shopping list.
LeRoux Kitchen is located at 161 Commercial St in Portland (almost directly across from DiMillo’s Floating Restaurant). (They also have stores in Vinyard Haven, MA and Portsmouth, NH.) They are open Monday – Saturday 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. They have a nice website, and you can buy from them on-line. They also have a pretty great Facebook page. Here’s an old article about their upstairs demo kitchen.
Still having trouble finding them? Here’s a map!
PS: As you enter the shop, look down and check out the cool Portland Pavers paving stones that are under your feet – a bit of Portland history, embedded in the sidewalk.