Before "local" and "organic" had reputations as words which could mean anything, "meatloaf" might have been the most nebulous term in the culinary canon. Any kind of animal flesh molded into a loaf shape qualifies, with no rules regarding taste or texture. Ground turkey slathered with barbecue sauce? Yeah, sure, OK. Venison layered with cheese? Whatever.
At Bakeman's, the meatloaf is fairly rudimentary: The beef is pressed until smooth, and seasoned with a mix of spices that taste something like onion soup mix. Made fresh each morning, the meatloaf has a slightly sour flavor that calls out for ketchup. Seated on housemade white bread with a plug of lettuce shreds, the meatloaf has a blue-collar appeal that helps the basement cafeteria sell hundreds of sandwiches every weekday.
Because while the meatloaf is good, Bakeman's is great: Like an ad hoc sports team for home schoolers, the institution functions as an office canteen for downtown workers from firms too hip to keep traditional cafeterias. Bakeman's is where graphic designers and social media specialists get their tuna fish fix.
Bakeman's has been around for decades, and is likely to be around for many more. The good news is Bakeman's version of meatloaf is awfully soft, a sandwich with which to grow toothless and old.