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A blueberry muffin

All About 'Tom's Blueberry Muffin,' Opal's Most-Loved Breakfast Staple

If you’ve ever stayed at an Opal Collection property, you must already know: The blueberry muffin, offered every morning, is one of the best ways to start the day. Satisfyingly crumbly? Check. Perfectly balanced? Check. Fully loaded and topped with that signature crackly surface? Of course.

With a recipe that dates back to the late ‘60s, Opal Collection’s blueberry muffin has been a longtime breakfast staple, loved and devoured daily by guests. Now, this handheld treat will be that much easier to recreate at home, thanks to a new muffin mix available to Opal Collection guests. Whether it’s for friends, family or yourself, the treat – dubbed “Tom’s Blueberry Muffin” – is the perfect way to bring a piece of your vacation back home.


In the late ’60s, after Thomas Walsh built his first hotel – the Plaza Motel – there were certain routines he could depend on. Every morning, before the sun rose over housetops in Brewer, Maine, he would rise and make his way to the hotel’s kitchen. He’d exchange good mornings as his kitchen staff stirred, chopped, and prepared food for the day, and he knew every single one of them by name. Then came what was arguably his favorite part: blueberry muffins, chased down by a carton of milk.

There were non-negotiables, a certain way Walsh had these addictive desserts every morning. For starters, they were always freshly baked, always straight out of the oven. The smell made everyone hungry. Every bite was studded with wild blueberries, grown locally, of course. (Maine, is after all, known for its blueberries – small and dark, with the perfect tang-to-sweetness ratio.) And lastly, the muffin’s high dome was always crowned with crunchy, crystallized sugar. “He would break the top off the muffin,” says Scott Luper, director of food and beverage. “And he would go about the rest of his walk around the property early in the morning before guests began stirring, drinking his carton of milk.”


It might have started as a few dozen treats whipped up in the early morning hours at one property, but Walsh’s signature blueberry muffin has become a year-round staple of every breakfast repertoire at Opal Collection properties. In fact, it’s so popular that kitchens across all resorts and hotels churn out several thousand muffins a day. Guests often ask for the recipe. So, it felt important – if not necessary – to offer fans of this handheld treat a way to recreate it back home. That’s when Luper and regional chef Ryan Phillips had the thought of translating Walsh’s signature muffin into a neatly packaged mix* everyone could scoop up at the gift shop.

A perfect companion to a morning cup of coffee (or milk, a la the founder’s formula), these muffins are easy, sumptuous, a thing of beauty. Brighten them up with a helping of fresh blueberries, mix everything together, and pop them in the oven. Most importantly: Enjoy them warm. 

Note: *A hundred percent of all the money from the sales of the muffin mix will go to local animal shelters in honor of Tom’s love for animals and in memory of his beloved dog Mitzy. Found and adopted while building a hotel in the Southwest, Mitzy would often accompany Tom on his morning blueberry muffin ritual.

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