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Jul 26, 2007 11:55 AM

Best Pizza in Mid-Coast Maine?

I'm an ex New Yorker living in mid-coast Maine and have yet to find decent pizza. Everything else is great but so far I have been really disappointed when it comes to pizza. Bricks in Rockland was terrible. Zaddicks in Camden isn't much better. I just came from there and all I can say is that my belly hurts and my taste buds are angry with me. I have no clue how they could have won awards for their pizza. Does anyone know of any really good pizza in the area? I am just sooooo depressed!

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  1. Hi Jonathan,
    Passadumkeg, I know and mainegal, I think, rave about Finelli's in Ellsworth so that's the first place I'd head. He's a couple-a-bricks short of a full load in general but does know his food as does mainegal.


    Finelli Pizzeria
    12 Downeast Hwy, Ellsworth, ME 04605

    8 Replies
    1. re: Harp00n

      Yes, it is a big drive from Camden, but SO worth it...Finelli's is some of the best anywhere, never mind Maine.

      1. re: LJS

        Lol, ya it's a bit of a s-t-r-e-t-c-h, but I'm calling it the northern edge of Mid-Coast as opposed to Down East!

        1. re: Harp00n

          Well, a long drive from Owls Head / Rockland... but I have to head past there sometime soon to do some research for an article, so that isn't too bad.

          1. re: JMF

            To keep on topic, barely, is there any food options at the Owl's Head Museum worth mentioning and is the Museum itself as good as I hear?

            1. re: Harp00n

              You mean the transportation museum? No food options at all, although they just started selling a chocolate from a new business I consult to.

              The Owls Head General Store, which is a 3 miles or so away in the actual town of Owls Head has some decent sandwiches and burgers . Otherwise Rockland is less than 2 miles from the museum with lots of options.

              The museum isn't that big but has some excellent autos and airplanes with the majority prior to 1930.

              1. re: Harp00n

                There is a take out place at the museum that's usually open during weekend events but it's very basic burgers, hot dogs, etc.

                The Keag Store is just a minute further down route 73 in South Thomaston and they have great lobster and crab rolls.

                The museum is great during the weekend events. The big air show is really great but they always have a bit of an air show during the other shows in the summer. We love the truck and tractor show, and the motorcycle show.

                1. re: crawfish

                  Hi JMF & crawfish,
                  Sorry for the late response to all this good info. We'll definitely be acting upon it when we finally get to the museum.

                  All the best,

        2. re: Harp00n

          Finelli's Pizza in Ellsworth is the best pizza in Maine!!! They just opened a take-out joint in Bangor on Ohio street. When my wife & I go, we order several & bring them home & it's all we eat for a week! She lived in NYC & I'm from Philly & we both agree that it's the best we've had since leaving the city. A 2nd choice is the House of Pizza in Unity. It's about an hour from the Mid-Coast & it's in the center of town.

        3. I read somewhere here that McMahon's pizza in the Knox Mill in Camden is good. DH and I tried the "Garden" (roasted veggies, pesto, goat cheese) recently, and it was passable- but nothing like a steamy, cheesy classic pie. We will probably give it another try soon... although I should note that the service was um, strange.

          Also- The Edge supposedly has a Sunday evening gourmet pizza night, with a variety of flavors circling the room. Sounds interesting, although, again- not classic. Not sure what the price range is.

          I haven't been able to bring myself to try Zaddick's. I can't believe that a place serving pizza, pasta, and Mexican all at the same time would be good at any of them.

          1. I really really love the pizza at Sarah's in Wiscasset -- but does this count as "mid coast"?

            6 Replies
              1. re: Harp00n

                'Yes' it's mid-coast or yes, you agree the pizza at Sarah's is wonderful?

                I've just spent a couple hours reading so many of your great postings, Harp00n, chock full of great down east suggestions and tips. Thank you very much!!! I've been idly wondering whether *this* might be the year we haul ourselves up to that border and just maybe, maybe....

                It may be out there on the boards but I didn't notice an excess of commentary on Sarah's. It's actually my favorite restaurant of all time, anywhere at all. Jim Leff speaks of the bread at the Wiscasset Grill, which I haven't had and can't speak to (and can't wait to try!), but I'm pretty sure the local custom of serving fantastic bread is part of a local culture generated originally by Sarah's (which started in Boothbay before migrating from out of the peninsula to the more populous Wiscasset -- and, while we're on the subject of local restaurant location history, seems to have gone back full circle by opening up a place across the Sheepscot downriver 5-islands way. Haven't been yet, but it's a quick whoosh across the river for me and I absolutely can't wait to get there). They serve wonderful, wonderful bread, in a "bar" with soups for the taking. It's just heaven on earth, IMHO.

                We ate at Sarah's recently and I timed the sun-baked line at Red's across the street, from the pleasant refrigeration of our window-side table at Sarah's: 65 minutes to the window, 15 more to receive the lobster rolls. I guess they were picking them "to order". Geesh.

                I doubt many argue with the quality of the lobster in Red's roll, our beef with the place is the overall gestalt, the high price, the ungodly "service", if you can call it that (which you can, because after all, they *could* hire another 20 HS kids to sling those excruciatingly simplistic rolls out the window. What's with this BS about venerating the long lines and millions of lost tourist-hours????), the shameless discomfort of their patrons. It's like management is vesting their customers in liking that roll no matter what, after they've foolishly spent so much of their time in line waiting. I've gone to Red's at 10:15 on a Tuesday and bought one of those rolls, without the long righteous line, and ... it's just a hotdog roll with a coupla lobstahs inside. Without the hoopla there's no gourmanderie.

                Especially not, speaking of gestalt, when there' s that incredibly wonderful chowery smack dab across the street. Sarah's isn't terribly exceptional for the touristy chow; it's the everyday fare that's so wonderful. Their spaghetti sauce is better than what I make -- and I like my cooking very much. That marinara sauce is the best I've ever had anywhere. How on earth does a *restaurant* manage to keep the vegetables -- and so many of them, so fresh, so crisp, in a sauce? It's quite the minor miracle IMO. They serve that sauce alongside of ravioli that my little puppies pant for (but which probably aren't homemade -- it's the sauce that's so yummy). I've already mentioned their pizza -- get it with the whole wheat crust (order whole wheat for all the calzones aka "whaleboats" and "mateys" too).

                As a mark of how well this restaurant does ordinary fare, is their simple "garden" salad. Veggie-kitchen-sink salad is more like it. There are tons of chopped veggies included, sprouts, peppers, beans, peas, onions, mushrooms, and more and more. You get the impression that this salad happens to sport whatever veggies are hanging around the kitchen from yesterday's events. This is precisely what a salad is supposed to be, what it's supposed to do: use up the raw veggies hanging around. A side effect is that it's delicious.

                I'm not sure what Sarah's is doing these days for local produce support, but she used to make a big effort to buy locally fresh, organic stuff when possible. They've gotten pretty mondo though, so I'm not sure how that idealism is faring these days.

                Anyway, this was intended originally as just a post to thank Harp00n for the great local tips from here down east. Sorry for the diversion.

                -another Reds detractor who nevertheless agrees that's some tasty lobster in there.

                1. re: aliris

                  Aliris- I agree with you 100% on everything.

                  I have only had the lobster roll at Sarah's since it is a bit of a drive. That said, the lobster roll is the best I have ever had. I think the home baked roll had a lot to do with it, combined with the several fresh lobsters residing within. I had several, as in 4-5, claws in mine. I liked the look of the dishes others had and after hearing your comments I am going to make the trip down there to try their other items.

                  1. re: aliris

                    The other thing that I've had at Sarah's besides the wonderful lobster roll is this pastry that evidently they only do on Sat and Sun. It's kind of a cross between a gooey cinnamon roll and a cheese Danish. It's pretty damn good. My husband and I dream about them.

                    1. re: aliris

                      I have never seen a line 65 min long at Reds. While not my favorite place, it is what it is.. A small shack to get something quick to eat. Discussing "service" in a traditional sense is foolish. Its like talking about the service at Dairy Queen or Mcdonalds. I have never waited there more then 20 minutes from order to eating. I guess i must go at odd times or something.. Never had a problem with the "service" i give them my order and money, they give me my food, end of service.

                      I typically get the Haddock Sandwich which is huge and tasty.

                      I still need to try Sarahs one of these days.

                      1. re: aliris

                        Heh, heh. aliris,
                        Yes to Mid-Coast! I've only had the lobstah roll at Sarah's. A bit untraditional but still excellent. I'm blushing from you compliments, And may I say, yours is a terrific post! You writing is both concise and well spoken.

                        As I've written elsewhere, lobstah rolls & 'Que both bring with them fiery comments and opinions. My personal preference is the tradition lobstah salad roll sans celery & lettuce on a deep, butter toasted, top-slit Nissen hotdog roll. The meat, ideally, is slightly chilled, not icy cold, as some CT-style devotees would have you believe, The cool briny playing off the hot butter toasted is just Nirvana, IMO. If people want an eviscerated carcass lain across a roll and choose to call it a lobstah roll 'tis their "away" right but you might as well eat Lazy Man's Lobster, IMO.

                        Again,You'll have to excuse me for the abbreviated, shorthand of a response. As DW and I are gorgeing ourselves on seafood & drinking (responsibly, of course) our way around Nova Scotia's SW Coast currently. :-))


                  2. Well I have been trying pizzas everywhere and am tracking down new ones. The best pizza so far is also one of the better pizzas I have ever had, including NY and some of the famous pies there. This one is at In Good Company Cafe in Rockland. This is a wine bar/cafe with lots of small eats to enjoy with some wine and some really good desserts. The wine and beer list is excellent.

                    The chef/owner, Melody Wolfertz was a classmate at the CIA with Mellisa Kelly of Primo's and Melody actually had one of the highest class standings as well as won awards there before she graduated. She makes a great pizza or as she calls it a pizzeta. There is only one type available on the menu and this changes weekly and sometimes daily depending upon her whim and what is seasonal and available. I have had several different ones and highly enjoyed them all. If you are in the area and want some tasty light food and a good glass of wine I recommend In Good Company.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: JMF

                      The best pizza in the area is at a small, non-descript restaurant attached to a motel - The Cedar Crest Restuarant. One of those hidden treasures!

                      1. re: finewineserver

                        I just found out it is in Camden. It sounds good, I'll have to try it.

                        1. re: JMF

                          If you're headed north, It's right on Rt. 1 on the left just before you hit Camden.

                          1. re: finewineserver

                            Cedar Crest pizza is delicious, and some of them are very unique. Also, pizza night on Sunday at the Edge in Lincolville is great too if you feel like heading out.

                            1. re: aynne35

                              Isn't the edge more of a romantic type place?

                              1. re: JMF

                                definitely, but it is way more casual on sunday night, a lot of families bring the kids etc.

                                1. re: aynne35

                                  Is the Sunday night price range similar to the regular menu? Not sure I'm willing to ante up just for pizza... unless it's truly worth it.

                                  1. re: happybellynh

                                    I think it's 16.00 per person, all you can eat. So it's a little pricey, but the pizzas are definitely chowish, if you know what I mean. Every 10 minutes or so they come out of the kitchen with a fresh wood fired pizza and it's all you can eat, all the varities you want.

                              2. re: aynne35

                                Youse midcoasters, I have followed the trail a a pizza place for 20 yrs, just for their white scallop pizza. I can't remember its name and wonder if it still exists. Twenty years ago, it was in the beige Queen Ann leading into Rockport south from Rt. 1. Then it was on Rt. 90 fror years in what is now a wall paper shop, the last we visited, it was in Lincolnville Beach on a side road going uphill away from the beach in the back of a convience store. Is it still around and what is/was its name.
                                Two hidden jewels, if ever in Franklin(Where?), there is Maple Knolls pizza, w/ white scallop pizza, run by an Italian and the Tandoor, run by and Indian; who ever wudda thunk.

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  Twenty years ago there was a pizza place in a general store in Rockport on Pascal Avenue (one block southeast of the intersection of routes 1 and 90) in the Victorian building that became L. E. Leonard's. The general store was called Ingraham's and the pizza part of the business was called Guido's. Guido sold that building and moved the pizza business to route 90 into what is now the wallpaper store. I don't know anything about a Lincolnville version of the business (could it have been in the Lincolnville Center Store?), but Guido passed away several years ago.

                                  1. re: Cassoulet

                                    That's it! We used to come off North Haven w/ our kids and that was the first stop.

                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Had Tandoor meals last week; delish! It's takeout only. Where's Maple Knolls?

                                    1. re: Mainegal

                                      Maple Knolls is on Rt. 182, just north of Franklin "center" on the right, heading out of town. It is a tiny shingled building. They have a web site. We have a camp on Tunk Lake and enjoy this quality pizza in the middle of nowhere.

                        2. Im usually not looking for Pizza while in Maine but hanley's market in Bristol seems to do a huge pizza business.. I have not been.