Photograph by David Murray
NAME: Megan Schroeter
Occupation: Evangeline bar manager, and hopefully restaurant owner
What’s it like to work here?
It’s crazy—we kind of call it “renegade service” because it’s just myself and one other girl. We all do everything—greet people, seat people, water, bread, menu tour, concepts, take the orders, and carry out the service. It’s five hours running. I also do the wine lists, the cocktails lists, the inventory, and the ordering.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
Probably the sweet breads—so yummy.
And what drink would you pair with them?
We have a nice pinot noir from Burgundy—it’s light and it doesn’t mask the sweetbread, but since the sweetbread is fried, it’s nice and heavy with fat. The wine has this acidity to it so that it strips all the fat from your tongue and every bite is as vibrant as the first. If you were to just keep eating, with every bite your tongue gets coated and dulls your experience. With the burgundy, your last bite is as good as your first bite.
What is your signature drink?
Right now it is my Cucumber Collins. It’s muddled fresh Maine cucumbers, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and vodka topped with soda water and cucumber garnish.
What are some of the popular drinks this summer?
Pimm’s Cup—fresh cucumber, strawberry, mint. The Raspberry Mule—muddled raspberries, limes, and vodka topped with ginger beer so it’s got this sweet-spicy thing. Really tasty. What’s really popular right now is the French 75 from our classic cocktails list—sparkling wine, lemon juice, and Tanqueray gin.
What epitomizes the classic cocktail?
Something that already exists and you just execute it perfectly.
Favorite classic cocktail?
French 75 or a Dark and Stormy, because it’s so refreshing—Gosling’s rum and we use Maine Root ginger beer—super spicy, super delicious—with a squeeze of lime.
Truth or fiction: People pour out their troubles to bartenders?
I think it’s truth. There’s definitely a lot to be said about the bartender—you have to develop that relationship with the first smile or “how are you” that you give someone. You can’t force a smile—you have to genuinely want to talk to someone. People can have a cocktail anywhere, but they come sit at a bar because they get someone nice to talk to and hopefully other patrons are interesting to talk to. When I go out to eat, I always eat at the bar because you learn so much more about the establishment.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Owning my own bar and restaurant. That’s what I would love to do. That’s why I moved back to Maine. A New York Times article piqued my interest about what you can do in Maine. The financial part is so much more feasible here, and this state and this community has such a good food following.
Restaurant Evangeline | 190 State St. | Portland | restaurantevangeline.com | 207.791.2800