Mid-Coast Maine 2021

I hope everyone will add updates!

Some earlier threads: Round Pond / Damariscotta area 2020 and 2021.

Mid-Coast Maine 2020 and 2019.

Openings:

  • Owl’s Head General Store reopened last fall under new ownership. They have the 7 Napkin Burger on the menu, claiming it is made the same as in the old days. I would say not quite as good but that may well be either nostalgia or the effect of eating it in my car, as I did last winter. It is a mighty fine burger.
  • Maine Kabob opened last summer in Waldoboro (location has been on hiatus for months) and recently in Rockland.
  • Dickie Steels BBQ pop-up weekends at Wolf Peach in Camden.

Closings:

  • Station 118 in Thomaston, as already noted by @digga.
  • Salty Owl Café in the airport in Owl’s Head, which makes me very sad indeed. Their FB says they will be back somewhere, some day.
  • Market Basket, the grab and go place at the intersection of Rts 1 and 90 on the Rockport/Camden border.

ETA: restaurants in Maine face hiring issues as they do most places. Definitely call ahead for anywhere you have your heart set on. Home Kitchen Café in Rockland is closed Mondays now as well as Tuesdays and I suspect plenty of other places which depend on plenty of FOH help will also limit hours or continue as takeout only.

3 Likes

Some Damariscotta eats:

Larson’s Lunch Box (seasonal). Not destination dining by any means but one of my two favorite places to grab something quick and tasty when I have Other Stuff To Do. Or you can grab a lobster, crab or chicken salad roll to go for a picnic.


The Barn Door Bakery Café next to the bookstore (year round). (This is separate from the cake/bread/cooked food pick-up location up the hill in the old Crissy’s space.) It has no web presence that I can find. Excellent lattes, breakfast sandwiches and toasts (aka open-face sandwiches). Cookies and other sweet stuff as well. Very good housemade English muffins which you can sometimes buy by the half dozen.

Que Rico. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Small place down an alley. I could find you dozens of better tacos in the Southwest, let alone Mexico, but pretty good for Maine.

Farmers Market is Friday morning near Round Top ice cream. It is small but very high quality.

Head Tide Oven (seasonal). Fabulous slow ferment bread. I got a caraway rye sourdough that I have been enjoying very much. They also have sweet stuff, including pies on Fridays.

image

Couple of other sandwich-to-go places: S. Fernald Country Store and Metcalfs.

2 Likes

Bristol.

Broad Arrow Farm fed me exceedingly well over the winter. They sell their own pastured meats, charcuterie from their own meats, some prepared foods from their own kitchens, locally-made pasta (both fresh and dried) and a wonderfully curated selection of other local products, including produce, cheeses, breads, crackers and all manner of pantry stuff. Fridays and Saturdays at lunchtime they have made to order butcher counter sandwiches (check their FB page for what’s on offer). They also have other stuff randomly: one time it was hand pies warm from the oven, another time a tray of stuffed peppers, and so on. There are picnic tables but not shade.

Bristol seems a very happening place with a well-used swimming hole (right on Rt 130 in the little town center between Benner Road and Upper Round Pond Road) and frequent events like “beach” yoga and ukulele sessions, posted on an electronic board. There is a little diner (Deb’s Bristol Diner) but I haven’t tried it yet.

3 Likes

I finally tried the fries at Larson’s Lunch Box. Very good and mercifully not a ginormous portion - just right for me. The burger is of the smash genre and perfectly threads the needle: lovely chargrilled flavor plus a hint of pink in the middle. Vidalia (or sweet anyway) onion which is a nice touch.


4 Likes

We just traveled down Rte 1 from MDI and wish I had seen this when we were thinking about lunch!
Ended up in Booth Bay looking for an old favorite that did not survive the pandemic. Second choice was
adequate.
Oh well-next time!

2 Likes

Round Pond Coffee, Round Pond (Bristol)

Funky coffee shop in the middle of the little village of Round Pond. It’s the first floor of this old house with most of the walls taken out to make one big room, furnished eclectically but not stylishly. Lots of art from local artists displayed, as well as flyers from upcoming events. They sell a nice range of baked goods from Barn Door Bakery (including their fabulous quiche) as well as a short list of sandwiches and good coffee. The college student staff could not be nicer or friendlier. Paper straws.

3 Likes

I have some catching up to do!

Damariscotta wrap-up

Village Grill. After driving past it 137 times I finally went in and was glad I did! It’s a stationary food truck with porches for ordering and pickup and a wood-burning pizza oven out back. Loads of well-spaced picnic tables, almost all with umbrellas. Big menu.

I had been craving a good fried chicken sandwich for over a year without encountering one so when their daily special was a fried chicken bacon ranch sandwich it seemed destined. Obviously made to order with very fresh chicken - delicious! But the deep fried mushrooms were even better and definitely what I think about returning for.

Bagels from Oysterhead Pizza. You have to pre-order by Wednesday lunch and pick up on Friday, details on FB. Excellent bagels and fun cream cheese offerings which vary weekly.

Barn Door Baking Café’s excellent English muffins.

Borealis Bread (store-front on Route 1 at light with Moody’s Diner, available at Hannafords - delivery seems to be on Friday). Amazing sandwich/toast bread, made partly or wholly with Maine-grown grains.

5 Likes

Rockland

The jerk chicken, beans and coleslaw are as wonderful as always at Up In Smoke BBQ. (Only plated some of it.)

Maine Kebab has now permanently closed its Waldoboro location and is focusing on the Rockland location. I got a small (!!) portion of their fried chicken which has a genius falafel coating. So good! And reheats well…

I have several times encountered random closures on days normally open or early closures or outages due to staffing and/or supply chain issues. Sad, handwritten signs on doors. Postings on FB. Is this true elsewhere or a (mid-coast) Maine phenomenon?

Owls Head General Store, as I mentioned earlier, is under new ownership and wow!! It used to have a very sad collection of merchandise along with a staggering number of beverage coolers and their amazing burger. Now it is a true general store, with basics of food and non-food items for renters (including a small area with single-dose OTC meds like at the airport, sunscreen and first aid items) but also very cool, often Maine-made, gift items, books, toys, kitchen stuff and so on. Plenty to look at while you wait for your burger! Of course that means no more indoor seating, just a few picnic tables. Oh and the new owner’s mom makes fudge (bottom of picture).

6 Likes

Beth’s Farm, Warren

Amazing fresh produce as always. Serving their bigger-than-your head strawberry shortcakes and when I was there for the weekend-only jerk chicken (delicious! easily enough for two! served with rice and peas, festivales (hush puppies but better) and a bottle of water) it seemed to me there were other varieties of fruit shortcake (maybe blueberry?) being consumed but I didn’t investigate. About that chicken: from observation it seems that Dennis doesn’t want to serve dried-out chicken so he partially cooks it and then finishes it when you order but since he is cooking low and slow it is not a fast process. Totally worth the wait though! And excellent reggae music on the playlist.


image

ETA: I had heard for many summers that Beth has the best corn ever but until a couple of years ago was not here late enough in the summer to verify that. But it is totally true. Verified.

7 Likes

Great reports and pictures throughout the thread @GretchenS. My experience of Maine consists of one visit to Ogunquit around 25 years ago, but I feel I know it through you and when I go back I’ll certainly know where to eat. Thanks.

3 Likes

We spent the long 4th of July weekend in what I believe is the southernmost part of Midcoast Maine: Brunswick, Bath, Harpswell, and vicinity. (Please correct me if I’m geographically challenged.)

With rain, rain, rain in the forecast we knew this would not be the ideal experience.

We are also trying to stick to outdoor dining so there’s that. But we had the holiday weekend free to roam because we had long ago secured a coveted boarding reservation for our dog. So we hit the road with our expectations in check.

Saturday afternoon we visited Moderation Brewing Company in the center of Brunswick. This small taproom has reopened and offers outdoor seating behind the building.

I tried a Grog Shop beer that my husband and I agreed was our favorite there. Flights of beer are temporarily not available, which has also been true at other taprooms we have visited so far in 2021.

No food or food truck onsite at Moderation, but you can bring in food or buy these ridiculously tasty Mill Cove crackers and a little tub of Maine-made goat cheese spread to snack on.

Next we drove onward to Bath, because my husband wanted to check out the Bath Brewing Company. Imagine a neighborhood brewpub in a historic New England town and you’d be right. We thought we would sit outdoors on their small upstairs deck. The wet windy, raw afternoon had a different plan. We bowed to Mother Nature and moved inside to their airy second floor space for a burger and beer. Proved to be an agreeable local spot for a simple early-bird meal—we found ourselves quite hungry after the drive up from MA.

Sunday was the 4th so we knew our food options would be limited. More rain was in the forecast. I had seen that Frosty’s doughnuts in the center of Brunswick had reopened (on limited days) as of July 1. Off we went to get doughnuts for breakfast!

We took away our Frosty’s doughnut haul for an in-car picnic in a park by the Androscoggin river. Take a look at the best blueberry fritter we have ever had, which we shared alongside cups of the shop’s very good coffee.

image

This was our first visit to Frosty’s. Impressed with their traditional-style doughnuts. We bought a Boston cream, a coconut-covered chocolate, and a maple glazed to stow in the hotel’s mini-fridge for the next day’s breakfast. Even day-old these were still a treat.

With the very soggy weather, trail walks and exploring on foot were largely out. So we planned to catch a late lunch at the scenic Five Islands Lobster Company in Georgetown.

Alas, we had to take the long way around to get there. Because peninsulas. And by the time we arrived a little past 2 PM, Five Islands had closed early for the day. Darn.

I’ll share the scenery anyway so you can see the beautiful setting where we almost had our July 4 lobster roll.

image

image

Hungry after our day of day-tripping, we wound our way back to Brunswick to Flight Deck Brewing which I knew would be open. Lots of outdoor seating, friendly folks, and a guest food truck and wood-fired pizza oven onsite. Sold!

Brews were agreeable at Flight Deck, if not my favorites, and it was really useful to have the food options available on the holiday.

My quibble Is that the pizza (not pictured), made with high quality ingredients, was fully blackened on the bottom instead of lightly charred. I have to imagine that their pizza making will improve with practice because Flight Deck clearly has put care into offering a pleasant experience.

We woke up to glorious sunshine on Monday because it was time to drive home.

So we decided to get our lobster roll before heading back. My husband wanted to drive out to Harpswell to check out Dolphin Marina & Restaurant. We decided to get there as they opened because we needed to be back in time to collect our dog from boarding.

Excellent call because we were able to have these simple, perfect lobster rolls with a side of handmade chips.

image

Blueberry pie with Gifford’s vanilla ice cream for dessert.

image

And a what a view of Casco Bay!

image

All’s well that ends well, right?

7 Likes

Et tu TT? Does every one live so well, besides me?

2 Likes

Those darn peninsulas! They’ll get you every time!

Great report, sounds like you had fun despite the weather and plenty of good eats. That is a part of the mid-coast I have not yet explored.

2 Likes

And we want to make it a little further north to your locale, when we can stay for a longer time!

2 Likes

LOL, after being in the house with just ourselves and the dog to look at for more than a year we are finally getting out a little.

Hmmm, I’m thinking that Maine might be calling your name again. Do I hear Portland whispering “Fooddabbler, Fooddabbler…” Keep in mind that I have a vivid imagination though, so there’s that.

Hope that you and yours are well and eating well!

2 Likes

wow, I haven’t been to Maine in years and this all sure makes it look like I’m missing out. thanks for the cool reports.

3 Likes

Wonderful !!! Really beautiful shellfish salad … And The Prosecco !!!

2 Likes

They offered bagels every week except for the one when we recently visited. I’d been following their social media very closely because our timing would’ve been perfect…but “no bagels for you!” that week. :frowning:

3 Likes

As Robert Smith once sang, “why can’t I be you?” Do they board small human beings? I’m telling B about all these places, none of which we’ve visited.

2 Likes

@GretchenS @tomatotomato et al. HO down in Maine?

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold