Tucked away alongside a consignment shop, hotel and Vietnamese restaurant, Flip, Maine Street’s new brunch spot, is open for business.
“What does Brunswick need? What does Brunswick want? It was breakfast!” owner Mike Jerome said. “There was no place to sit down and get a Bloody Mary and breakfast without having to go across the bridge to Topsham.”
The brunch bar opened on Christmas Eve of last year, taking the spot of Benchwarmers, a long-standing sports bar and pub. During the pandemic, Benchwarmers went up for sale, and Jerome bought the space, originally planning to upgrade the bar.
“I scooped up [Benchwarmers] thinking that I might be able to turn it into a bar that was a little nicer than Bench[warmers] was and more attractive to Bowdoin students and some of the other residents around here, but that proved to be a little trickier,” Jerome said. “Then [Brunswick] got a 9 p.m. curfew in place that basically killed our business because all our business is after 9 p.m., so we closed for about a year.”
After reevaluating the local restaurant scene, Jerome settled on a sit-down brunch restaurant model, hoping to fill what he saw as a gap in Maine Street’s offerings. Jerome, who graduated from culinary school in Texas, moved to Maine in 2007. He worked as a manager at Portland Pie before opening the chain’s first franchise in Brunswick. Flip is his fourth restaurant in Maine alongside Fat Boy and Bolos in Brunswick and Kamasouptra in Portland.
Flip’s menu has a wide range of breakfast items, with offerings ranging from classic pancakes and waffles to more Maine-inspired dishes such as the “Lobster Scramble.”
“In general, just having a place that’s so close to [Bowdoin students] to be able to go and get off of campus and eat some different food, try some different things, I think that that’s really the highlight,” Flip’s Director of Human Resources Samantha Moore said. “We are revamping our menu over the next couple of weeks. We’re gonna keep a lot of the things on it, but we’re going to be expanding.”
Students have already been venturing down Maine Street to Flip, taking advantage of the restaurant’s proximity to campus.
“My friends and I needed a breath of fresh air from Bowdoin brunch,” Jimmy Song ’25 said. “There’s nothing like that [in walking distance].”
In addition to serving food, the restaurant functions as a hub for the community. The space is available to be rented for larger events, has a play area for children and a separate dining room. Bowdoin students also receive a 10 percent discount on their order.
“This is just a great community with a huge mix of people … if you want to come in and just get breakfast quickly …if you want to come in with a group of people and celebrate something with pitchers of mimosas and be there for a while,” Jerome said. “There’s something for everyone.”