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Classic Foods of Maine

New England is blessed with many wonderful regional foods that are rooted in history, like Native Americans' harvesting of maple sap, and in traditional uses of the land, like cheese and chocolate from Vermont dairy farms and lobster from Maine fisheries. Maine is best-known and -loved for lobster (although the sea bug can be found throughout New England) and the wonderful wild Maine blueberry. For some tips on where to find and dine on these regional specialties see below at, see below at Lobster and Seafood, • Blueberries, • Maple, • Historic Yankee Fare,• Localvore Foods, • Diners, and • Odds 'n' Ends.




Lobster and Seafood

A New England lobster dinner is no place for the faint-hearted. It takes effort to bust open the hard-shelled beast, but the delicate taste of the lobster meat, dipped in drawn butter, is worth it. Boiled lobster is served with a bib (it is messy), melted butter, a cracking tool, and a narrow fork. Lobster is served in fancy places, but the classic place to eat lobster is a shack on the shore, with family-style seating butcher's paper for a table cloth. A classic lobster dinner usually includes clams and corn on the cob.

Where to Find Seafood in Maine

South Coast region

Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
Chauncey Creek Road
Kittery Point, ME
207-439-1030
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, tax, tip


If you think lobster should be eaten in Maine, out doors, and within sight, sound and smell of the sea, then Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier is hard to beat. The pier sits on a large deck perched on the bank above Chauncey Creek. It has offering 42 picnic tables, an enclosed area for inclement weather, and a perfect view across the water toward Pepperrell Cove. Picnic hampers and ice chests are part of the scene because guests are welcome to bring any food from home that is not on menu, including beer or wine. This is the quintessential Maine lobster dining experience. Map

Barnacle Billy's
Perkins Cove, Shore Road and Oarweed Road
Ogunquit, ME
207-646-5575


Extensive indoor and sundeck seating where guests can enjoy both the beauty of the harbor and the ocean beyond. For over 40 years Barnacle Billy's restaurant has been known for its luxury lobster, steamed clams, large lusty drinks, barbecued chicken, homemade clam chowder, and of course, the lobster roll and lobster stew. Open April to November. Map

Hebert Brothers Seafood
2 Badgers Island
Kittery, ME
207-03-0431
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Wonderful seafood. The kitchen will sear up some tuna to perfection, serve fried oysters that melt in your mouth, but the top of the heap on the menu is the lobster chimichanga. (Also the fried lobster tail.) If you're looking for crisp, light, and not-too-greasy fried seafood, this restaurant is worth the stop. Plenty of local people are among the clientele (always a good sign). This place has a local-business-done-right kind of feeling. Casual atmosphere; good for children. Map

Greater Portland region

Ken's Place
207 Pine Point Road
Scarborough, ME
207-883-6611
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Ken's Place is a Pine Point landmark since 1927, serving fresh seafood classics. Fried clams are the traditional favorite of the many repeat customers who make Ken's Place a must-stop every season. A raw bar serves oysters and littleneck clams on the half shell. The winterpoint oysters are from West Bath and the littlenecks come from Freeport. The fresh lobster stew is made daily. Open daily for lunch and dinner from the first day of spring to the third week of October. Map

Mid-Coast region

Red's Eats
Main and Water streets
Wiscasset, ME
207-882-6128
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Red's Eats lobster shack is consistently the place to go for Maine's best lobster roll. More than a whole lobster goes on the toasted, buttered bun, with plenty of claw and tail meat. Lunch and dinner are served from the window of a take-out shack. Outdoor seating on a patio only. Very casual. No reservations or credit cards accepted. In the height of the summer, be prepared to wait in line. Open mid-April to mid-October. Map

Cindy's
174 Yarmouth Road (Route 1)
Freeport, ME
207-865-1635
Price Range: $30-$60 for meal, drink, tax, tip


"The best fried clams we've ever tasted are the caramel-colored whole-belly crunchies served at Cindy's, a terrific seafood stand a little south of Freeport," says the Clam master of WeLoveClams.com. Cindy's other specialties include steamers, scrumptious fried mushrooms, lobster rolls, home-made cookies, chowder, onion rings, fried fish, and more. Serious eaters sometimes merit free samples. If you go there hungry, you'll leave there happy. This is a clam shack, with tables outdoors. Open only in the warm seasons. Map

Acadia Bar Harbor region

Helen's Restaurant
28 East Main Street
Machias, ME
207-255-8423
Price Range: $10 or less for meal, tax, tip


This place is a staple in the culinary world of Washington County, Maine. Down home family comfort food, including delicious, fresh seafood. Expect a mean platter of fried seafood goodness. Chowders heavy with shellfish, cream, and diced potatoes. Helen's is revered for its excellent pies. No-frills decor; service is not fast, but you will leave fully fueled for the day. Map

McKays Public House
231 Main Street
Bar Harbor, ME
207-288-2002
Price Range: $30-$50 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Guests rave about the fish and chip, lobster mac and cheese, halibut and other finfish dishes, Good, hearty pub fare. The décor of this restaurant on the town's main street is recaptures the elegance of Bar Harbor's Victorian past. A copper bar accented by stained glass windows on the first floor is a perfect place to enjoy the good selections of ales. There also is a wine bar and a beautifully landscaped garden, a dreamy place to sit in the summer. Map

Uncle Kippy's
County Road (Route 189)
Lubec, ME
207-733-2400
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Uncle Kippy's is a full-service, family restaurant specializing in locally caught fresh seafood, handmade pizza from dough made daily, steak, chicken and a large selection of other dishes. Owned and operated by George and Sonia Olson, Uncle Kippy's has been in business for more than 20 years. Very family oriented. Relax in the raised dining room and savor the views across Johnson Bay Map

Maine Highlands region

Eagles Nest
1016 North Main Street
Brewer, ME
207-989-7635
Price Range: $10 or less for meal, drink, tax, tip


Serving mostly local folks, the Eagles Nest concocts a massive lobster roll that is among the best anywhere. The lobster stew is loaded with large pieces of lobster. Menu covers all the basics of home-cooked foods. The scallops, the burgers, the blueberry pancakes are all terrific, Be sure to end your meal with the delicious strawberry shortcake. Open year-round. Map

Western Lakes and Mountains region

Fish Bones American Grill
70 Lincoln Street
Lewiston, ME
207- 333-3663
Price Range: $30-$60 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Fishbones is a welcoming, sophisticated restaurant located in a beautifully renovated old mill building warmed by exposed brick and pine beams. Outstanding Maine clam chowder, grilled haddock, scallops, and other seafoods along with flatbread and New American dishes. Plenty of perfect Maine touches, like dried blueberries in the butternut squash risotto. Excellent, creative drinks. Perfect for a special occasion. Not for children. Map

Blueberries and Blueberry Pie

The wild blueberry is Maine's official fruit, rivaling the lobster as a symbol of the state's dining delicacies. More than a few Maine towns claim to be the blueberry capital of the universe. The high point of the harvest can run from May to August. In mid-to-late summer, many Maine roads are sprinkled with farm stands selling blueberries. There are many pick-your-own farms. Summer brings lots of blueberry-themed festivals and blueberry-inspired treats, from pie to ice cream to cocktails.

Where to Find Blueberries in Maine

South Coast region

Pie in the Sky Bakery
One River Road
Cape Neddick, ME
800-869-2656 or 207-363-2656


This is the place for pie lovers. Wonderful pies; variety of fillings; beautiful presentation. Almost 100 percent raves from visitors. This family-owned, home-based bakery continues to use AA unsalted butter, no preservatives, no trans fats, and lots of hard labor to bring you an unforgettable product. The handcrafted pies are 10 inches deep and serve at least eight people. Hours: Daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays; also, closed Thursdays, October 15 to November 15 and in February, March, April until mid-May. Map

Greater Portland region

Maine's Pantry
111 Commercial Street
Portland, ME
877-228-2028


This retail store, located just a block from the Casco Bay Ferry in Portland's historic Old Port, sells all kinds of Maine-made products, like wild blueberry jam, maple syrup, stone-ground mustard and dozens of other delights. It also creates and sells bountiful gift baskets. Map

Mid-Coast region

Mae's Café
160 Centre Street
Bath, ME
207-442-8577


Wild Maine blueberry pie shows up promptly on the menu, in season, at Mae's Café, a landmark restaurant and bakery, a Midcoast Maine destination for locals and visitors alike. Besides the queen of Maine pies, Mae's serves a large variety of baked goods, home made soups, and chowders. Sit, order, relax, enjoy. Open year-round, daily. Map

Acadia Bar Harbor region

GM Allen & Son
Route 15
Orland ME
207-469-7060


The Blue Hill Bay Peninsula of Maine is the region that inspired Robert McCloskey's children's book, Blueberries for Sal. The G.M. Allen family is now in its fourth generation of growing and harvesting the wild Maine blueberry, a food that is both delicious and healthful. GM Allen ships blueberries but it also operates the Blueberry Patch retail store, selling all things blueberry: jams, blueberry syrup, honey as well as blueberry pottery, bags and totes, soaps, napkins, tee and sweat shirts, aprons and much m all sporting a blueberry or two. Open May to December; daily in August. Map

Maple

Pure Maine maple syrup has been brightening the flavor of Mainers' food since long before the colonists arrived. In March, when sap is flowing, many sugarhouses around the state welcome the public to watch the syrup-making process. Maine maple syrup and candies are available for dining and purchase year-round at restaurants and retail stores.

Maine Maple Sunday
This statewide celebration, is always held the last Sunday of March. On that day, more than three dozen sugarhouses throughout the state open their doors to the public and offer free maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music, and more. for map of participating sugarhouses, see Maine Maple Sunday website.

Western Lakes and Mountains region

Thurston and Peters Sugarhouse
299 Bond Spring Road
West Newfield, ME
207-793-8040


Thurston and Peters Sugarhouse makes maple syrup with contemporary technology (tubing, vacuum, reverse osmosis, oil-fired evaporator) but offering old-fashioned hospitality. The sugarhouse and property are open all weekends in March, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and year-round by appointment. Two retired teachers tell the story of their land and the process of making maple syrup. Free tours all year long. Map

Katahdin Moosehead region

Bob's Sugarhouse
252 E Main Street
Dover-Foxcroft, ME
207-564-2145


Come see a commercial sugarhouse in full production, year-round. Large selection of maple and maple products: including maple sugar candy, maple walnut fudge, maple popcorn, very popular maple barbecue seasoning, maple butter, maple granulated sugar and sprinkles, old fashioned maple cream, buttermilk pancake mix and more. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9a.m.-5p.m. or by appointment. Map

Historic Yankee Fare

Western Lakes and Mountains region

Washburn Norlands Living History Center
290 Norlands Road
Livermore, ME
207-897-4366
Price: $26 per person


Norlands is the family home of the Washburns, one of the great political and industrial dynasties of the 19th century. Today, Norlands is a museum offering experiences in 18th and 19th century rural life. Here, visitors participate in daily and seasonal farming and housework, and learn about the social, political, and educational activities of the times. During the Norlands's Meal, Laugh & Learn program guests enjoy a delicious country meal and participate in two interactive programs, visiting the 1883 library and the one room school. The Meal, Laugh & Learn programs are scheduled by appointment, year-round except December, January and February. Map

Localvore Foods

Where to Find Localvore Foods in Maine

South Coast region

Stonewall Kitchen Flagship Store
Stonewall Lane
York, ME
800-826-1752


Founded in 1991 as a couple of friends selling home-made jams and vinegars at New England farmer's markets, Stonewall Kitchen has bloomed into a specialty food producer and kitchen store headquartered in York. The owners have a passion for high-quality foods rooted in New England agricultural tradition. Examples of some of the specialty foods are preserves, condiments, sauces, pancakes mixes and syrups. The flagship store in York also offers cookware, cookbooks, supplies and charming decorative features for the garden, and all sorts of gourmet food gifts. A relatively new offering is the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe, a bistro next to the store. Map

Stonyfield Café
The Shops at Falmouth Village
240 US Route 1
Falmouth, Maine
270-781-8889
Price Range: $10-$20 for meal, drink, tax, and tip


Stonyfield Café is an organic and natural quick-serve restaurant. Stonyfield Café's menu includes sandwiches on organic flatbread; salads to order; soups; rice and noodle bowls; Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt and smoothies; natural beverages; crafted organic ales and wine. Don't look for any preservatives, pesticides, additives, hormones, or antibiotics here. This location is a few miles north of Portland. It's easily accessible from the highway with lots of parking. It is smart to stop here and tank up on fresh, natural food if you're headed to Freeport. Map

Greater Portland region

Fore Street
288 Fore Street
Portland, ME
207-75-2717
Price Range: $30-$60 for meal, drink, tax, tip


Fore Street, located one block from the waterfront in Portland's Old Port District, is one of the stars of Portland's growing reputation as a capital of excellent dining for discerning food lovers. The owners believe that good food travels the shortest possible distance between the farm and the table and their menu is founded upon the very best raw materials from Maine farmers, fishermen, foragers, and cheesemakers. Most of these Maine foods are organically grown or harvested wild, each brought to Fore Street at the peak of their season. Cuisine style is New American. Fore Street's interior surrounds a unique brick, and soapstone hearth consisting of a wood-burning oven, grill, and turnspit, visible from most tables. The food and surroundings are lush and welcoming. Map

Nosh Kitchen Bar
551 Congress Street
Portland, ME
207-553-2227
Price Range: $10-$30 for meal, drink, tax, tip


This hip Portland eatery borrows from the tradition of New York delicatessens, serving sandwiches, Noshing Platters, and full meals with an emphasis on local sourced, natural, sustainable foods, e.g., French fries made from Lewiston-grown potatoes and locally caught Maine oysters. Guests have praised the duck confit sandwich the pork belly Reuben, and local cheese curds. Map

Diners

Authentic diners and traditional diner food are alive and sizzling in every corner of New England. From the outside, diners mark their territory with their characteristic barrel roofs, neon lighting, and fringe of cars and trucks with local license tags. Inside, counter stools and booths are packed with families craving hash browns, meat loaf, home made pie and other diner staples. When visiting a diner in Maine, expect blueberries and locally grown French fries. Check out our more comprehensive list of diners in Maine and all of New England.


Mid-Coast region

Moody's Diner
U.S. Route 1
Waldoboro, ME
207-832-7785
Price Range: Under $20 for meal, drink, tax, tip


This is a first-class, All-American diner who reputation for the best diner food travels far beyond state lines. The blueberry muffins won a gold medal from the Culinary Hall of Fame and Gourmet magazine has requested the recipe for the world-famous walnut pie. Map

Augusta Kennebec region

A1 Diner
3 Bridge Street
Gardiner, ME
207-582-5586d


The A1 Diner is a Worcester diner built in 1946. It arrived by truck in Gardiner and has been serving great diner food continuously ever since. Traditional diner fare, vegetarian and gourmet dishes, and wonderful desserts make the A1 a dining adventure. Flaky biscuits, sandwiches and burgers are still favorites. Map

Odds 'n' Ends

South Coast region

Len Libby's Chocolates
419 U.S. Route 1
Scarborough, ME
207-883-4897


The first thing you hear about Len Libby's Chocolates is the notorious Lenny the Moose, a life-size chocolate moose sculpted form 1700 pounds of milk chocolate who stands at the entrance to greet visitors. Lenny has fans and admirers from all over the world, but the story of this business only begins with the giant maitre d'. The store makes fine chocolates by hand in many forms, from candies to ice cream to giant lollipops, and more. Guests are invited to tour the property and watch the chocolate-making in progress. There is a huge selection of tempting chocolate treats in the retail store. Map

Whoopie Pie

Maine is the birthplace of the revered Whoopie Pie (although it must be admitted the Pennsylvania also claims the honor). A Whoopie pie is composed of two circular, mound-shaped pieces of chocolate cake with a white cream filling in between. In autumn, pumpkin cake often is a stand-in for the chocolate cake. Alternate names are a gob, black-and-white, or bob. Mainers love their Whoopie pies, which are home-baked and also made commercially and available for sale everywhere.


Moxie

Maine is also the birthplace of Moxie, a much-loved nonalcoholic soda in a distinctive orange can that tastes something like a cross between root beer, cola, and cough syrup. Moxie entered the work in 1876 at a patent medicine called Moxie Nerve Food, invented by Dr. Augustin Thompson of Union, Maine. In its advertising, Moxie used "Make Mine Moxie!" advertising jingles, the slogan "Just Make It Moxie for Mine," and a Moxie Man logo. The name eventually entered the American lexicon meaning something along the lines of courageous, bold, or daring. Lisbon Falls celebrates this Maine drink with the annual Moxie Festival. Find Moxie at grocery stores throughout Maine.