Jennifer Downs and Jamie Way will open Sweet Thyme Cafe at the Northern Light Health Center on Union Street in Bangor next month. Credit: Courtesy of Jamie Way

A Bangor-area chef and baker will open her second food business in Bangor next month, in a medical facility on Union Street.

The Sweet Thyme Cafe, owned by Jennifer Downs and her partner, Jamie Way, will open on Jan. 2 in the Northern Light Health Center on Union Street, replacing a cafeteria that had operated there since the facility’s opening in 1997.

Downs and Way also operate the Little Red Snack Shack, a Bangor-based food truck that had its first full season on the Bangor Waterfront last summer.

Downs said that after the food truck season began winding down in the fall, she started to look for a brick-and-mortar space where she could not only operate a cafe, but also consistently produce baked goods for the food truck.

“The cafe space at the health center literally just landed in my lap, almost immediately,” Downs said. “It could not have worked out better, and Northern Light has been amazing to work with.”

Sweet Thyme will offer an array of both made-to-order and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and breakfast items, alongside Downs’ homemade cookies, cakes and muffins. After an initial soft opening period in January and February, Downs also plans to offer online ordering, to better serve the hundreds of employees at the mall who have limited time for lunch breaks.

“It’s really exciting, because there are so many people working there that don’t have easy, fresh lunch options nearby, not to mention patients,” she said.

Downs, 37, has worked as a pastry chef and in kitchens across Maine for over 15 years. She and Way purchased the Little Red Snack Shack in 2021 from its longtime owners in Calais, and continued to offer the truck’s signature item — hand-breaded chicken tenders — alongside a few other new additions to the menu. With the new permanent kitchen space at Sweet Thyme, she also plans to offer desserts at the truck next year.

After an initial year on the Bangor Waterfront, Downs said the Little Red Snack Shack will start going to more one-off events around the state, such as fairs, festivals and concerts. Having a permanent kitchen to offer her favorite treats — sweet stuff and other baked goods — will allow them to diversify further, Downs said.

“It’s really great to be able to do things year-round, and to be able to expand what we do with the food truck,” Downs said.

Avatar photo

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.