158 & Hilltop

The new edition of Mainer includes articles about the longtime owners of 158 Cafe and Bread & Butter Catering, Josh Potocki and Katie Schier-Potocki.

It’s fitting that 158 became a local favorite by feeding people sourdough bagels. That’s the type of bread you get when dough is leavened with the wild yeast floating in the air around us, not the lab-cultured, mass-manufactured baker’s yeast sold in stores. Sourdough also has local flavor, which is why San Francisco’s is famous; the yeast there has a distinctly strong sourness. Wild yeast is free yeast, funky yeast, freaky yeast. The sourdough starter still used to make 158’s bagels is almost old enough to legally drink. “It started as Luis and now has morphed into Luisa,” Josh said of this primordial dough. “She is all natural South Portland hybrid.”

Like Luisa, 158 must be kept alive. “If nothing else, keeping [158] open for the community as a safe haven, as a free-thinking space to come in this world, I think is very important,” Josh said, “because those spaces are becoming less and less, where it’s not controlled by some bullshit.”

and the new owners of the Hilltop Superette, Radhika Shah Patel and Sam Patel.

Because Sam’s vision is of what Hilltop can become once he and the team fully enhance and expand the store’s selection of groceries and prepared food, remodel the interior, redo the exterior, and add outdoor seating, among many other, smaller projects. His goal is to have everything done in time for a grand reopening party next spring. He’s already set the date, of course: May 21, 2022.