Pickett Street Cafe Inspired Breakfast Bagels with Smoked Salmon

The 158 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland, Maine, offers a terrific breakfast and lunch menu centered around homemade bagel sandwiches, running the gamut from the classic New England bacon, egg, and cheddar to the “Hippie” with hummus, cucumbers, carrots, greens, and seeds. All are served in a wonderfully clever yet basic Maine fashion—artfully arranged in a pie tin rather than on a regular plate. My husband’s favorite breakfast has long been a toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, so it is no surprise that this is our favorite combination to order at the Pickett Street Cafe, no matter what the time of day.

Pickett Street Cafe gussies up its bagel and smoked salmon presentation with thinly sliced cucumbers, red onion, capers, and sprigs of fresh dill, garnishes we now love to use at home as well. I have even gone so far as to buy a couple of old pie tins so we can totally relive the Pickett Street Cafe experience when in our Cape Cod kitchen. Plain or whipped Philadelphia cream cheese is absolutely fine to spread on the bagels, but if you are feeling extra energetic you may want to stir up a batch of my Preppy Cream Cheese, a family favorite. Needless to say, high-quality smoked salmon is a must to serve with the bagels and the hardwood-smoked salmon from Sullivan Harbor Farm in Hancock Village, Maine, is an excellent choice to use here.

Written by Sarah Leah Chase

Sarah Leah Chase moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts, as a year-round resident in 1980 and opened a specialty food shop and catering business called Que Sera Sarah, which soon became an island institution.

Sarah develops recipes and concepts for her husband Nigel’s specialty food company, Coastal Goods. She lives with her family on Cape Cod, where she enjoys oystering and gardening as much as cooking.

Pickett Cafe Breakfast Bagel


  • 2 top-quality sesame, poppy, or everything bagels, cut in half crosswise
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons Preppy Cream Cheese (recipe follows) or plain or whipped Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced top-quality smoked salmon
  • 4 thinly sliced rounds of cucumber, peeled if waxed, slices cut in half
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled red onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons drained brined capers
  • 12 small sprigs fresh dill
  • Coarsely cracked black peppercorns


  1. Toast the bagels to your desired degree of brownness. Immediately spread the cut side of each toasted bagel half with a thin smear of Preppy Cream Cheese or plain cream cheese (I tend to use far less cream cheese than traditional Jewish delis).
  2. Top each bagel half with a slice or a bit more of the smoked salmon. Place 1 cucumber round (i.e., two halved slices) on top of each salmon-topped bagel half. Scatter the red onion and capers evenly over the bagels, then top each with 3 dill sprigs. Season the bagels with coarsely cracked peppercorns to taste. Serve 1 or 2 bagel halves per person in a pie tin, if desired, for a memorable Pickett Street Cafe–style breakfast or brunch.

Serves 2 to 4

Preppy Cream Cheese

Bagel shops often sell a variety of flavored cream cheese spreads or “schmears” to pair with their bagels, but it is a cinch to make your own cream cheese spread and I always find homemade spreads taste superior to purchased ones. I dub this particular spread “preppy” because the pink and green flecks from the radishes and scallions make the cream cheese look like something Lilly Pulitzer would have invented.

  • 1 package (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup finely minced scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red radishes

Place the cream cheese, scallions, and radishes in a mixing bowl and beat them with a hand-held electric mixer until the cream cheese is fluffy and the scallions and radishes are evenly distributed. Refrigerate the cream cheese mixture, covered, until ready to use. The cream cheese will keep for at least 1 week.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

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