There will be more to eat in Ellsworth this summer with plans for fresh pizza and Mexican fare as well as an expanding doughnut maker.
Imago Dei Cafe, which specializes in sweet potato doughnuts, is expanding at the home of proprietors Alexis and Oliver Prior at 184 State Street.
Alexis Prior said that since she and her husband started making and selling doughnuts from their home in late 2020, they probably have produced a total of 75 to 100 different varieties. Typically 10 or so varieties are available at any one time. Those include standard flavors like chocolate coconut, maple, chocolate glazed and plain sugar, but specialty flavors rotated in every few weeks such as pumpkin spice, cranberry orange, whoopie pie and carrot cake.
They post frequently on the cafe’s Facebook page to let customers know what doughnut flavors are available.
“We’re always coming up with new flavors,” Prior said Monday.
The popularity of the business led them to renovate, transforming their former home kitchen into a commercial facility and building a private kitchen for themselves on the other side of the house. There’s also an expanded parking lot, an outdoor seating deck, and a takeout window — but they still have more equipment to get and more suppliers to line up before they can expand the menu.
Imago Dei Cafe also has added coffee to the menu and may offer ice cream, salads, smoothies and other takeout items in the future.
“We’re still working on a few things,” Alexis said. “There’s a lot we hope to get done in the next few months.”
Imago Dei is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 6 a.m. “until the last doughnut sells,” which is usually around 1 or 2 p.m., she said.
Meanwhile, there’s a new New York-style pizza offering coming to town. Zeppa’s Pizza plans to open on Water Street in the former location of Mike’s Country Store.
The new pizza place plans to be open seven days a week, including Sundays. It will feature New York style thin-crust pizza, other pizza-parlor fare such as calzones and meatball subs, and salads. It will have table seating for roughly 20 people, and also plans to offer takeout and delivery. Zeppa’s is expected to open for business this summer.
“What we’re going to be doing is a traditional New York style pizza slice shop,” said Lisa Palcic, who is opening the shop with her husband and daughter. She said they named the pizzeria after their dog.
Palcic, a pickleball teaching pro by training, said the family moved recently to Mariaville from Oregon, so they could be closer to family on the East Coast. She grew up in New Paltz, New York, where for decades her family owned and operated an Italian restaurant.
“We wanted to try something new,” she said of moving to the Ellsworth area. “Maine reminds us of the East Coast version of Oregon.”
Zeppa customers also will be able to try something new. The pizzeria will make and sell cannolis, using a “family recipe from way back,” Palcic said, and will offer both a white pizza with lobster meat and a blueberry dessert pizza, along with other more traditional pizzas.
The Palcics hope to complete renovations to the former convenience store in time to open for business by June. She said the business might seasonally adjust its hours, but that it intends to stay open through weekends year-round.
“We’ll tweak it as we find out what the need is,” she said.
On High Street, a new Mexican restaurant, Casa Jalisco plans to open where Burger King operated from 2000 through 2020.
Work also is ongoing to convert the space. Owners of the new Mexican restaurant, which include people behind Las Palapas restaurants in Bangor and Brewer and El Agave in Augusta, told the Ellsworth American last month that they hope to open in July.