Bluesy touch to home-cookin’

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LEWISTON – With its humble decor and appealing home cooking, Nothing But The Blues amassed a small but loyal following over the years, including new owner Keith Morgan and his wife, Cynthia.

The Morgans actually had their fourth date at the College Street cafe nearly six-and-a-half years ago, then started visiting the small eating establishment once a week. When Keith Morgan heard the place was about to close earlier this year, he approached then-owner Jim Murray and asked about continuing the business.

He bought the restaurant April 1.

“Basically, we’re trying to keep all the food and stuff the way it has been,” Morgan said Thursday. He learned many of the familiar Blues recipes from Murray, and the menu this week included staples like the Southwestern-style chicken pie, veggie pasta pie, spinach empanada, and turkey potato moussaka (all $6.50).

Morgan’s efforts will not go unappreciated by the cafe’s former fans. Trying a variety of plates with a group of co-workers Thursday, it was agreed that the food was pretty darn good and worth returning for.

There were mixed reviews of the tomato-basil soup and penne pasta salad served as sides, but a curried chicken salad sandwich ($6.50), with a mild curry flavor and sweet mango chutney, was a definite hit.

The lobster salad sandwich ($7.95) also was popular. One of my co-workers did encounter a few pieces of shell, but said she’d try it again, regardless.

Two diners had the veggie pasta pie. One didn’t like the spices used and said it was lukewarm, but the other really enjoyed it, saying the dish was like “a cross between lasagna and pastistio,” the latter being a type of Greek casserole.

The biggest complaints seemed to center around the wait and the lack of decor.

The walls were bare, all the old, funky art removed.

Hit with a small rush of diners around noon, it took at least 15 minutes for Morgan to bring out our lunch dishes, although this was understandable as he’s serving as order-taker, chef, waiter, cashier and busboy.

One of my co-workers did note that the restaurant bathroom is about the size of one found in an RV, a fact that will not surprise previous cafe patrons.

For those who like home cooking with interesting vegetarian options and aren’t concerned about atmosphere, it’s well worth popping in to try the food and meet Morgan, who’s friendly and accommodating.

Best bets: The curried chicken salad and lobster salad sandwiches were well-liked.

No need for seconds: The tomato-basil soup didn’t garner much positive attention. Some were turned off by a heavy dose of balsamic vinegar used on the pasta salad side.

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