Anne Tessier-Talbot is a second-generation co-owner of Tess’ Market in Brunswick. She runs the business with her sister and husband. John Terhune / The Forecaster

By grabbing a pizza at Tess’ Market on Pleasant Street customers can enjoy a Brunswick tradition that dates back to 1965. But by doing so they’re also participating in a complicated economic ecosystem that extends far beyond the Midcoast.

Anne Tessier-Talbot, co-owner and manager of the take-out spot, announced late last month that the restaurant had no choice but to raise its prices for only the third time in 20 years.

A framed note from the restaurant’s early days shows how prices have changed since the late ’60s. John Terhune / The Forecaster

“We have tried to keep our prices as low as we could, but given the state of the economy and all costs going up we can no longer hold the line,” Tessier-Talbot’s Facebook post read. “The last two months have been a wake-up call, and we need to move forward with this.”

Maine’s consumer price index spiked to 6.8% in February, up from 1.2% in February 2021, according to an update from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

Any restaurant as old as Tess’ Market has seen its share of price increases. When Tessier-Talbot’s father Hervey Tessier started the business nearly 67 years ago, a 10-inch pizza cost only $1.60.

“Inflation,” said Tessier-Talbot, who now runs the business with her husband and sister. “There you go.”


In particular, pandemic-related supply chain problems are to blame for the recent price hikes at Tess’ Market, Tessier-Talbot said. Distributors have reduced supplies of various ingredients, especially cheese and meat, forcing prices up for restaurants and, eventually, customers.

“The bacon was the first one that woke me up when I saw the price,” Tessier-Talbot said. “I think it was almost $90 for 10 pounds. The price was absurd.”

Tess’ Market won’t be the only restaurant to raise prices this year, according to T.J. Siatras, co-owner and operator of Joshua’s Restaurant & Tavern.

“They’re forecasting beef prices to go up another 6% easily during the summer,” Siatras said. “It’s not unreasonable that you’ll see restaurants push 20 and 25% price increases this summer.”

Besides supply chain problems, Siatras noted rising gas prices and labor costs as factors that could force prices up during tourism season. But while restaurants may have no choice but to raise prices, fewer people may choose to eat out as a result, he said.

“Unfortunately, we deal with the fact that there is an alternative three blocks away,” Siatras said. “Namely, a supermarket.”


Siatras predicted that some customers would push back against the region’s coming price increases.

The menu at Tess’ Market shows the restaurant’s new prices, which went into effect Feb. 22. According to co-owner and manager Anne Tessier-Talbot, the high cost of meat and cheese forced the owners to pass increases on to customers. John Terhune / The Forecaster

Yet even though they need to pay $12.99 instead of $10.99 for a large cheese pizza, fans of Tess’ Market are showing their support.

“Totally understandable,” one user responded to Tessier-Talbot’s post. “So much harder for small businesses to absorb all these price increases compared to large franchises.”

“Only three price increases in twenty years?” wrote another customer. “I am going to look into sainthood being bestowed upon you guys.”

For Tessier-Talbot, the thread of over 50 supportive comments was more than enough to validate her decision to publicly announce the changes.

“We thought it was important to tell them,” she said. “We’re family.”

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