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Maine Downdeast and The County

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I'm looking for restaurants both roadfood and chow for a road trip along route 1 between Eastport and Fort Kent. What are the best eateries in this sparsely populated area?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

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  1. Well.... you really picked a challenging route ! Honestly, there is not much at all between those two points..as you will soon find out. Anyway, if i were doing it I would pack along some basic utensils and condiments as the local farm stands usually have unbeatable vegetables and home-baked pies and picled goods...as far as restaurants go, use your chowhound instincts...stick with the small places and order only what you think is locally produced..now, in Eastport you will get really incredible simply prepared fish dishes and Lobster...as far as Fort Kent goes.. a true chowhound test of skill !

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jimmy

      Thanks. This is actually just a small section of my route, and the hardest to find good info on (hence my asking here). I'll be travelling all 734 miles of Maine US Route 1, with a detour across the border to Quebec City, then back to south coastal ME via Skowhegan. Should be an adventure!

      I'll post my findings after the trip, but if there's more advice out there please keep it coming... I won't be leaving for another week.

    2. Another suggestion is to keep your eye out for public church-type suppers. Just ask about such events as you go along. Mainers are good at that sort of thing. "The County" has always been a place of mystery for me. Please come back here and tell us what you found. Pat

      1. OK, I'll bite. What's meant by "The County"? I haven't heard that term and I spend 1-3 months a year in Maine and am moving there this year. As for eats... I have been trying to find my notes from the past few years, if I find them I will post. I found lots of nice local spots between Eastport and Calais, but from that point I went east into New Brunswick, not north.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JMF

          I'm sorry, "The County" is what Mainers refer to Aroostook County (the northernmost county, roughly the size of Conneticut and Rhode Island combined) as.

          Your notes on the trip from Eastport to Calais would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

        2. My family is from Caribou, and still has a place on Long Lake up by St. Agatha, and I'm a hound. Here's a couple of tips:

          Lakeview Rest., St. Agatha. Decent food here, nothing too special, try the "blooming onion", battered, deep fried whole onion. Decent fried seafood. The real treat though is an amazing view of Long Lake and the surrounding fallow farm fields. As well as a very interesting view into life in the St. John River valley. You will here at least half the people speaking French in this establishment.

          Mark's sporting club, between Sinclair and St. Agatha on rte 162. This is the "upscale" joint in the region. Good place to order lobster or steak. Somewhat unique service, as you order then wait at the bar or on the deck, which is right on the lake until your number comes up, then you are escorted into the dining room where your table is set and your meal is served immediately. Be sure to order ployes with dinner, traditional French Canadien fare, thin buckwheat pancakes, served and eaten as bread would be with dinner, commonly accompanied by molasses, maple syrup, or simply butter. Most restaurants in the area serve them.

          If you're in Madawaska, check the Acadien version of the "soup man". Much friendlier than the nyc version. Look for the only "Rainbow" flag on Main st. Only open for lunch, excellent soups and sandwhiches.

          Also in Madawaska: If you get lucky you might find a guy parked along main st. in a dirt parking lot serving bbq from the back of a van, if you do, this is a must try. Only comes for lunch and when the Q is done, so is he. Excellent Q and homemade BBq sauce.

          As for Fort Kent, I've tried and found nothing of note in that town.

          Enjoy the St. John River valley, as it is a beautiful and very unique area of this country. If you find some chowfinds, please post, as I will be heading north in Aug. as I do every year.

          EW

          1. Thanks for all the inside info EW. I'll be sure to post my finds when I return.

            One place I found that sounds fantastic is Canterbury Royale in Fort Fairfield. There's a writeup on it on Yankee Magazine's website. I was unable to get reservations during my stay, but if you called now you might get something for your August trip... If you do go, please let us know what it's like.

            1. I'm back. Thanks for your advice! Long lake is indeed a beautiful place. We tried for Marks Sporting Club, but they were only open for dinner, and it was lunch time... So, we grabbed a bite at Lakeview... nothing exciting, like you said, but decent, very reasonable, and there were indeed some folks speaking Acadian French at the table next to us. I never would have ventured to St Agatha if not for your review... Glad I did!

              We also grabbed a snack at Dolly's in Frenchville. This is sort of a basic diner, but with an Acadien flair. The food was very good and the service was terrific. I tried the ployes here, an interesting cross between a crepe and an American pancake. These are good with butter, but would be excellent with creton, which is on the menu, but was unavailable when I was there. Creton is a French Canadian pork pate that my grandmother used to make. It is very simple and very good. If you haven't tried it, you must... I hope that Dolly's has some when you go.

              Thanks Again! Enjoy your trip!

              1. Well, I am late on this post. I grew up near "Dolly's" which used to be called "Una's" when I lived there, but it is completely the same far. I always get the chicken stew with ployes. Yum. If you get back to Fort Kent, I like a place called "Swampbuck". The food's good, but you gotta go just for the name of this place. There's another place in Fort Kent, that my brother likes and it's only open for lunch. I forget the name though. I think it's a woman's name.
                Another place to go is Rosette's in Frenchville.
                In the summer there is the Tastee Freez in Madawaska.
                I was up to watch the Can-Am dogsled race one year in Fort Kent and the whole family went to the senior citizen's center afterward for a chicken stew dinner which included ployes a softdrink and dessert, all for $3! The ladies were selling their homemade mittens and hats and other little crafts.
                I grew up with all this but an outsider would definitely be impressed.