All the new high-rise private dorms/student apartments seem to have some kind of private food enterprise on the ground floor: Domino's, Subway and the like. If you live at The Aberdeen -- the behemoth tower that looms over the bend of University and Gorham -- you're lucky to have the Copper Gable Café as your entry-level food supplier.
Copper Gable is the reincarnation of Baker's Too, a build-your-own sandwich deli formerly located in the now-defunct University Square. It was known for its fast service, economical prices and fresh ingredients, and the line there at noontime could be intense. Back in 2003, I wrote that you'd "be hard pressed to have your meal cost more than $2.30."
Well, times have changed -- somewhat. Copper Gable, named after the most salient feature of The Aberdeen's facade, has much more spacious digs now. You can sit down and enjoy a smoothie or a cappuccino, and still have a good sandwich not run you more than $4.50.
The tradeoff is that Copper Gable is now that much further away from the heart of the south campus, so the noon rush has diminished. On the plus side, it's closer if you work downtown.
Meanwhile the price of a basic build-your-own sandwich has increased, -- not unexpected after the course of four years. A cold sandwich is $4.50; hot is $5.75. There's still a choice of filling (ham, turkey, roast beef, egg salad, tuna salad or chicken salad), bread (including wheat roll, bagel, multi-grain, ciabatta or croissant), cheese (cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, provolone), veggies and condiments.
A roast beef and provolone with sprouts, lettuce, tomato and cucumbers on a croissant, with a chipotle ranch dressing, made a nice take-out picnic on one of the last warm days of October. The croissant was particularly yummy, buttery and a nicely crusty. (Not chewy and not sweet, as I find often happens when crescent rolls are used as sandwich buns.)
Soup of the day was cream of mushroom. A generous cup ($2.75) was incredibly good, super creamy, super mushroomy. It could be argued that it was too creamy -- it felt a little bit like eating gravy -- but the mushroom flavor came through so purely, I can't rightly complain.
I should mention that a pop-in visit earlier this summer, when I grabbed a half a veggie wrap ($4) pre-made from the cooler, was considerably less successful. The wrap was soupy with the vinaigrette and I remember tossing it before I'd finished it. I'd try a wrap again, but I'd ask for it made fresh on the spot.
Copper Gable is also open for breakfast, with a selection of egg dishes and egg sandwiches. Note: parking is catch-as-catch-can on the street or, if you're in a walking mood, an area ramp.