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Maine diners/dives

Heading back up to Ellsworth early June. Looking to hit my favorites diners: Moody's, Dysarts, Big G's, Jordan's Snack Bar. Any other diners I should hit on my visit?


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  1. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Jesum crow, bub, don't miss Chester Pike's Galley and The Galley by the Bridge, both in Sullivan, 10 mi north of Ellsworth. Martha's, near Marden's, ain't too shabby either, Cappy. Just Barb's in Searsport (Stockton Springs) and The Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville too.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Passadumkeg

      Passy, how could you overlook Ruth & Wimpy's, or Country Charm (Steuben) or Chase's (Winter Harbor)? Or are you trying to keep these to yourself these days?

      Other possibilities: The Miss Portland Diner (just off I-295 in Portland, take Franklin, then go right at first light and the A-1 Diner in Gardiner.

      1. re: Mainegal

        Ruth & Wimpy's is gettin' too expensive. The lobster special is now $11.95; outrageous. Real dive? North Street Cafe, Cherryfield.

      2. re: Passadumkeg

        I love the Bagaduce Lunch! Eating fried clams and watching Bald Eagles in the River
        is a perfect way to spend an afternoon!!!

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Will definitely try to hit Bagaduce. Saw that it was awarded the James Beard America's Classics. The only other place I've eaten that has won that award - Wille Mae's Scotch House in New Orleans - is one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Does Chester Pike's still have their Friday Fish Fry?
          Or should I look to the Trenton Lighthouse to see if they have theirs?

          1. re: dwharff

            Yup, Pike's fry. Where do you stay?

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  I really love that area. Dad grew up in Winterport and thats where I spent summers as a kid. Including a couple of weeks at Camp Jordan. Shame that since Senior year in High School (at Kent's Hill) I've been allergic to shellfish! :( Miss my lobsters and fried clams

                  1. re: dwharff

                    Yay Camp Jordan! That tidbit of information just makes me have to add to this conversation. Fat Boy's in Brunswick...love their frappes...and you can't beat a drive-in to make greasy food seem, well, cooler.

                    1. re: obraustin

                      I'll second the Fat Boy. Not only is the food good, but they get extra points for calling their signature burger the "Whoper Burger" and also for having carhops. Carhops can make anything taste good.

                      Interestingly, there's another drive-in (specializing in lobsters rolls, maybe?) just down the street that also has carhops.

                      1. re: Bob W

                        You're talking about Morse's, which is associated with a lobster pound of the same name over on Bailey Island. I never noticed the carhops there; it's far less of a scene. For those who travel off-season, Morse's is open year-round, and serves breakfast. They fry things just fine, but their onion rings are not as good as Fat Boys'.

        2. Ken's Drive-In in Skowhegan

          1. Finally got back to Philly and settled down. Had some good eats while in Maine. Brief recap:
            The Haddock sandwich at Bet's in Bath was great,then hit Fat Boy in Brunswick for a blueberry Frappe. Dad liked his lobster roll there and loved the fact that he was across from the airfield where he was first taken after enlisting in WWII. But even Bet's paled with the sandwich at Bagaduce. And those onion rings! Some of the best I've ever had. Then a trip up the coast to Machias. Stopped and got a little chevre from the Painted Pepper to go with a baguette I got from Wild Flour bakery both in Steuben. Stopped at the Maine sea Salt Co.. Got a tour and picked up some wonderful Apple Wood smoked, Hickory smoked, herbed seasoned and garlic sea salt. Grilling will be great this summer! Got to tell ya Passy, thought of you as we saw the signs for Tunk Lake, but my mind was really focused on Chester Pike's Friday Fish Fry. Got there early (4.25) and they were just litting people in. By 4.45 the place was packed. 2 huge fillets of haddock, veggies and potato to start. I had barely finished my first fillet when our server asked if i wanted more. Dad could only get through 1 fillet and had to take the rest home with him! Also hit the Mt. Desert Ice cream Co. - both locations. Fisrt stop, wonderfully creamy Blackstrap Banana ice cream. After a ride around Acadia, stopped at the downtown location and got some Blueberry Basil sorbet which was heavenly. Also hit Dysart's for Sunday Breakfast. Huge, but nothing to write home about. I can't believe I spent a week up in Maine with no whoopie pies, but did get a blueberry muffin from the Brothers in Bangor. Can't wait to go back and eat some more!

            2 Replies
            1. re: dwharff

              nice writeup
              thank you for taking the time to write

              1. re: irwin

                Also got to add, although this has nothing to do with diners, props to the local Hannaford in Brewer. I really like this store and got some nice freshh haddock which we prepare on our grill our first night. They also carry Squire Mountain tub cheese which I simply love. I stock up every time I travel up to Maine, but, unfortunately couldn't do so this trip as I was travelling home by bus and train and didn't know how it would last.

            2. Glad you had a good time. Where's my scrapple? Next time try the breakfast at Chester Pike's. The lobster Benedict outta be illegal. Ruth & Wimpies is fun too. I teach in Sullivan; you probably drove by the school while I was in it. I'm writing this in my son's apt in Seoul. A very different kind of seafood chowhounding.

              1. If you like fried seafood, try a shack called Fonzo's in Norridgewock, about 10 minutes west of the Waterville Walmart exit of I-95. Turn left on Route 8 in Norridgewock and it's about a mile up. Good fresh seafood (we had the shrimp, but the clams looked great)....fresh cut fries, and even a homemade dinner roll in the "basket". Fonzo's is actually a pizza shop, and the pizza is pretty bad........but the sandwiches, on just-baked rolls, are very good. A true dive (we walked in and prepared to walk out...then saw the food being served and decided to stay).... it is built onto someone's garage and kids are swimming in the back yard. The last place I would have expected to find great fried seafood, and worth the drive from I-95.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jackattack

                  Thanks for the great tip. I've passed it along to some chowish friends who work at a camp in Oakland. They'll be trying Fonzo's out as soon as they get up there next month.

                  Sounds like the Korner Store has nothing to fear on the pizza front, though.

                  72 Smithfield Rd, Norridgewock, ME 04957

                  1. re: Bob W

                    I hit Fonzo's the other day, full bellied fried Maine clams were $10,99 with fresh-cut fries! They were sensational.

                    72 Smithfield Rd, Norridgewock, ME 04957

                    1. re: jackattack

                      Thanks jack -- some friends who will be spending the summer at camp in Oakland will be very happy, as will me and the W brothers when we make a short visit in July.

                2. Heading back up to Green lake/Ellsworth for a few days in a couple of weeks. Any newly discovered "dives" I should look into while there?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dwharff

                    Just got back from Tracey's, jist up the rud a pace from Chester Pike's. Had 2 lobber rolls for 19 bucks and a quart of fried clams. Fri night fish fry $9.95. And it's BYOB.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Darn....only gonna be there Sat-Wed.......Tracy's is up the rud from Chester's in which direction?

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Edit: that was 2 lobster rolls for 12 bucks. Sorry.

                    2. If you get off the highway for Fat Boys (well worth it) in Brunswick, you may want to head down to a little place at the end of Harpswell, Dolphin Marina and Restaurant... nice drive, crazy good food, simple and good. Not many know about it.

                      1. If you want a real, honest to goodness dive, go to Judy's on State Street in Bangor in the morning for breakfast. Oh, it's a dive all right. But it's cheap and good. Also try Rosie's in Winterport, or Johnny's in Old Town.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rockblogsterbdn

                          Any more details on the food at Judy's?

                        2. Good diners in Ellsworth: The Riverside Cafe on Main, Martha's in the strip Mall near Reny's.
                          In Sullivan, on RT.1 is the new Sullivan Harbor Cafe.
                          Finn's, an Irish Pub, has taken over the old MaiDee's site on Main and has an great weekend brunch.
                          Duffy's in E. Oreland, on Rt 1 south of Ellsworth, is a great old style Maine diner. I always get the Finan Haddie.

                          Martha's Diner
                          151 High St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

                          Riverside Cafe
                          151 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

                          Duffy's Restaurant
                          1164 Acadia Hwy, Orland, ME 04472

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            Thanks Keg. Will definately try to hit Duffy's. What's the best time to go there? Does Tracey's have a haddock sandwich? How's the weather up that way?

                            1. re: dwharff

                              Duffy's, breakfast or lunch. Tracey's has a haddock sandwich and a $9.95 fish fry on Fri. After a mini heat wave, we are back to cool sunny 70's.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Does Duffy's serve the Finnan Haddie at both meals? Looking forward to relaxing for a couple of days at Green Lake!

                          2. If you're taking the scenic route to Mt. Desert Island from the south (i.e. NOT going through Bangor) by instead taking Rt 3 to Augusta, try the Olde Mill Diner (143 Belfast/Augusta Road; 207-342-2999). Great onion rings, pies and a lobster roll that's right up there

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jackeiferman

                              A-1 Diner in Gardiner is great, but more expensive than you would expect from a diner. However, extremely interesting food options. Very surprising and delish. Becky's in Portland is so mediocre, I wouldn't go. Same with Miss Portland Diner. Like Porthole much better, on the water front.

                              A-1 Diner
                              3 Bridge St, Gardiner, ME 04345

                              1. re: mainehound

                                A-1 is full of "extremely interesting food options" as you say . A bunch of extremely talented, creative types took over an old diner and kept the blue plate special but added incredibly complex and top-flight dishes. We always stop there en route between Portland and Acadia. It is just below Augusta and if you get off at Gardiner (Northbound) there is a diagonal that takes you to route 3 via Gardiner to Belfast. Coming southbound from Belfast on Route 3, take 32 and 17 to Gardiner. Totally worth it. Also some interesting stores right there.

                                1. re: SteveNYC

                                  A-1 is a great little place. Very good food, wide variety of choices. Also, do not miss a trip to the restroom. Trust me on that one.

                                  1. re: Bob W

                                    Absolutely! If you are bringing people along on their first trip to Maine, it qualifies as a perfect "first Maine experience"....... 'nuff said.

                            2. Cleonice has moved into the old Masonic Lodge, Internet cafe w/ super reasonably priced food w/ local ingrediants; from "gourmet" pizza to 'catch of the day" local fish.On the top of Main Street.

                              Don't miss Conte's in Rockland.

                              1. Not a reply, but a question for dwharff and Passadumkeg and anyone else who has an answer.....

                                Rented a house on Flying Point for July...where are the
                                best diners/dives/shacks, etc. in that area (near Freeport)? Thanks a ton for any 'chow info.