Monday, April 03, 2006

People at Work®: Skip Rist of The Coffee Pot

This image is hanging up in the offices of the I. Mylnikov Company in Angarsk, Russia, a city near Lake Baikal in Siberia where Gentle Viewer Ginger (aka Svetlana Khokhriakova Tazhetdinova) works. I thought it was an odd choice then it dawned on me that they thought this might be a typical American Coffee Shop. This closed door is the saddest thing you can see in town.
I mentioned this to Skip, who thought it was funny because you CANNOT get coffee there, only sandwiches as seen here while Skip hams it up (no pun intended) for the Russians. He prides himself in knowing your order. Mine is the Super Deluxe with Ham. According to his website MONTY (Brave Monty) gets a special order. Something I dare not try and I've been eating there for 40 years. As Skip tells the women who make the sandwiches out back: "He ate these in his crib"
People will line up in all weather for these sandwiches. He's open from 10 until he runs out. Closed weekends and the month of September. So it's a crap shoot in the afternoon. Best not to take chances. The Ambulance drivers had ham, the patient was reported to have had salami.
Skip's father started the Coffee Pot in 1930 on Hancock Street as a coffee shop and later added the sandwiches which soon moved coffee out of the way. Years later he moved to the State Street location where it is now. Skip and his sisters ran it for years after that. But now it's just Skip and the women who make the sandwiches.

And THIS...this is the HAPPIEST sight in Bangor, The Coffee Pot still open, late in the afternoon, because it means there are still sandwiches and your night will be scented of onions.

Post made up of previously published and unpublished photos


  1. "those houses are all made of wood...
    and is standalone...

    very cozy and 'local' feel...
    i bet u can see everybody who live in the town in this shop
    lovely green paint work too"

    this is my original post,
    apparently the owner seems to hate my comment.... and deleted it off..
    but i wouldnt give a damn,
    he can delete a 100 times, and i will always post a new comment!!

  2. :)
    We all really think that it looks very "american".

  3. I want a coffee pot so bad right now, they are probably the best sandwiches in the world, and the best uncle in the world should definatly treat is wonderfully humble niece to a coffee pot sometime soon. Or to the Ground Round for hot wings and chili cheese fries. MMMM..... maybe Konnar and Nancyleah would want to go out sometime. Wow, I'm talking alot,I think I'm hungry, what do you think??

  4. I love Yankees. Coming from Yankee stock myself. Just love the, we sell it till we run out attitude.
    So typical.

    This is classic Americana. A tiny slice that's left.

    Your capture of the deco storefront and neon is so much nicer than the one above.

    Thanks for blogrolling me.

  5. zb: I gave up after 57 deletes. :)

    ginger: There is nothing more American than Italian sandwiches.

    sara: Who is this??

    jozee: We'd prefer if our classic Americana would order enough rolls to be open until at leat supper time. :) I only blogrolled one of your dozen blogs. :)

  6. Love the neon. Reminds me of home. Damn! Homesickness again!

  7. Dawn: Why does everything remind you of home??

  8. Great photojournalism-style post. Makes me want to come up there just to have a sandwich.

  9. Love this... I wish we had one!

    The Tart

  10. I've enjoyed Coffee Pots for at least 50 years! I live in NH now, though, and wonder if anyone knows the plans for the Memorial Day weekend? I'm HOPING to be able to get there early enough on Friday to grab sandwiches for the weekend, but I don't know if they'll be open on Friday. Does anyone know?


    Jim C

  11. The Rists are my uncle's in-laws. We visit them in Bangor almost every year and fill up on Coffee Pots. My older brother acts like a crack addict about those sandwiches ;) Nice to see the pics.


  12. Finestkind. Found your page via Google (reminiscing about home (East Millinocket) at Christmastime). _Nothing_ better than a bright June day, a couple of 'regular' Coffee Pots, some salt 'n' vinegar chips, and a can of Moxie (YES!) at Cascade Park.


  13. The Coffee Pot is closing tomorrow........ December 31st 2009.. A very sad day indeed. I grew up in Bangor and one of it's finest institutions is closing:(

    Angela Jonker

  14. They are closing today. New years' eve. it's a very sad day.

  15. BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's not just the end of a decade, it's the end of an era. On Thursday, Skip Rist sold his last Coffee Pot sandwich at his shop on State Street.

    Rist decided to close -- saying he's 72, been working since he was 13 and has bad knees.

    Hundreds of people lined up, down State Street to Boyd Street and then to York street. Most of them were hopeful they would get a sandwich, but when they started to realize that they may not, they got creative with ways to get a coffee pot sandwich.

    Erik Rogers of Bangor told NEWS CENTER he began a bidding war, paying $20 for a sandwich someone had already purchased. Right after, a woman came up to Rogers and offered him $21.

    The final sandwich, a Tuna Fish Coffee Pot, was sold at about 1:30pm.

    People were still lining up outside into the afternoon, though, to give Rist a hug and thank him for his dedication.


  16. It is a sad day for all of us who have enjoyed "Coffee Pots" all of their lives. The sandwiches have always been the same over the years. How could you improve the best sandwich. They were certainly not the same as an italian sandwich.

  17. I was there! In 1983 or so!! Right after The movie the Dead Zone came out! I had a VW van, red, with plates that read: TheDZone. And I ate at the old place. It was not like this one. I came up here because I read about the Coffee Pot in Steven King's book and to go to Oreno College! Unreal!! We lived in a town outside of Bangor, really close! We had 2 Borzoi Hound dogs with us too! I love Bangor!

    M...In a New Zone!