Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
Jul 14, 2010 10:06 AM

Lunch between Portland and Bar Harbor

Looking for something north of Portland, where i never am, but we'll be driving from Boston and hungry (on a Thurs. mid afternoon) so not too far north. Have gone to Red's before (and am tempted by Sea Witch or whatever it's called down the road). I'm thinking something in Brunswick or Augusta but that's open. Fairly easy off the highway, probably in the clam/lobster roll/hot dog vein. Thoughts? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That's a tough one. Your fastest route to BH would be I-95 through Augusta to Rt. 3, and over to Belfast. That would avoid Rt. 1 in the Wiscasset area (Red's, the Sea Basket, which is definitely the better of the two), which if you did it would cost you at least 30-40 minutes extra travel time. Without getting TOO far off the highway, best I can suggest is Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster in S. Freeport, which is probably 10 minutes off I-95. There's nothing in Augusta.

    Sea Basket
    303 Bath Rd, Wiscasset, ME

    Harraseeket Lunch
    PO Box 218, Freeport, ME 04032

    1 Reply
    1. re: mainemal

      We can debate whether there is *nothing* in Augusta ;-)

      In the fried seafood/lobster/dogs vein there is the Red Barn (not far off Rte 3). More upscale clams/raw bar/lobster is Cloud Nine, inside the Senator Inn (just off Exit 109/Western Ave).

      The same ten minutes off I-95 from Augusta will get you to Hallowell, a charming, historic riverfront town with lots of good eating choices. The clams/lobster/dog itch can be scratched at Hattie's Chowder House among others,

      Hattie's Chowder House
      103 Water St, Hallowell, ME 04347

    2. If you are traveling up 95 and make it to Winslow try Big G's for a sandwich Get the hole and you will truley be amazed. It's aout 10 15 minutes off 95 and you should get a map...but just few turns needed.

      Belfast route I would suggest Darbeys in down town Belfast.

      Big G's
      581 Benton Ave, Winslow, ME

      1. DON'T TAKE RT. 3 IN THE SUMMER! Your frickin' Garperson may say it is shorter, but it ain't.
        Ron's Famous Dogs in Disgusta or there is a great dog shack in Winthrop, where they rip 'em.
        Brunswick: a hot dog wagon on the commons or head toward the air field for Morse seafood, a drive in or the iconic Fat Boy's Drive for the original Whoper (sic) or a small but cheap 6 buck lobber roll.
        Go I-95 to 395 to 1-A to Rt. 3. Wave as you go by.
        The Keg

        Fat Boy Drive In
        111 Bath Rd, Brunswick, ME

        20 Replies
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Ooh thanks, I was hoping for a Brunswick rec. I'm gonna be starving (will be up by 6:30 AM in Boston and not have eaten much) so Winslow is too far. The mapquest directions I have are below, they sound right albeit fairly boring highway driving. We may take our time on the way back from St. Andrew's, I've got a bunch of notes on places in Ellsworth and these random places that I've read about. Oh I see I had Fat Boy down too, will have to check it out. Do they butter and grill their hot dog bun for the lobster roll?

          Bagaduce Lunch: 19 Bridge Rd/Rt 176, Brooksville, ME, fish/onion rings, reversing falls on river
          Chester Pike's:
          Dolphin Marina: Harpswell
          Duffy's: 1164 Acadia Hwy, Orland, ME
          Fat Boy: Brunswick
          Mt Desert Ice Cream Co:
          Ruth and Wimpy's:
          Sullivan Harbor Café:
          Tracy's: fried seafood
          Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound: 1237 Bar Harbor Rd,/Rt 3 Trenton,; in rough

          9. Merge onto I-95 N toward N.H./MAINE (Portions toll) 92.0 mi
          10. Take EXIT 52 toward I-295 N/FALMOUTH/US-1/FREEPORT. 0.3 mi Map |
          11. Merge onto FALMOUTH SPUR (Portions toll). 3.7 mi
          12. Merge onto I-295 N toward FREEPORT/BRUNSWICK (Portions toll). 41.9 mi
          13. I-295 N becomes I-95 N (Portions toll). 79.3 mi
          14. Merge onto I-395 E via EXIT 182A toward US-1A/ME-9/BANGOR-BREWER. 4.7 mi
          15. Merge onto US-1A E via EXIT 6A toward COASTAL ROUTE/US-1/ELLSWORTH/BAR HARBOR. 23.2 mi
          16. US-1A E becomes ME-3 E. 19.5 mi

          Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
          515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079

          Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound
          1237 Bar Harbor Rd, Trenton, ME 04605

          1. re: Joanie

            Looks good, w/ one exception in my opinion, Trenton Bridge Lobber Pound. A tourist trap w/ no view and a lot of traffic. On MDI, I'd rec. either Beale's in SW Hbr. or Thurston's in Benard; both are traps as well, but right next to the water and w/ quaint views.
            I just don't get the Trenton Bridge L.P. and it has nothing to do w/ their kid beating up my kid. Lobber by a busy road has no appeal to me. The last time I was there was 1969 as a tourist and I live just a couple of miles away. Locals do not go there. Across the street has more choice and lower prices. and is further away from the road.
            The best deal on cooked lobster remains Tracey's, but no view, but BYOB.
            Lobster Pound is short for lobster impoundment, a wall bulit across an inlet, I've included a photo of a real one and one of a Tracey's jumbo lobster from last summer; it alone was 10 bucks. If it is a beautiful day, get lobber rolls or cooked a lobster dinner to go at Galley by the bridge, go back over the bridge and eat at Tidal Falls.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              So I'm narrowing down my food choices and would like to hit both Fat Boy Drive and
              Morse's for the drive In aspect of things. Am wondering if the detour (I assume) to Block and Tackle or Holbrook Snack Bar on Cundy’s Harbor Rd is worth it. Capt Mike's looked good too but there's only so much we can eat in one town.

              Then should we stop for a quick bite in Ellsworth before landing in Bar Harbor or save that for the meandering ride back from Canada? Last thing, I see two recs for BH, actually Southwest Harbor and Bernard, Beal's Lobster Pound and Thurston's. Is it worth it to get in the car again to drive since so much of the vacation will be spent that way? What would you recommend for Bar Harbor proper where we can walk? I've got Maggie's, McKay's an Poor Boy's Gourmet as possibilities. Thanks.

              Poor Boy's Gourmet Restaurant
              300 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

              1. re: Joanie

                I have lived in SW Hbr. & Ellsworth. I work summers as a kayak guide out of Bar Harbor. I find it a zoo in summer (Sorry). All in BH will be crowded. Maggie's will need a reservation, McKays ais a good pub. I'd favor Poor Boys or even Mache Bistro or Gaylyn's, avoid Testa's. I don't know where you're staying, but BH is definitely walkable.
                In Ellsworth, Cloenice should be easy for an early meal and the lunches are super. I hate arriving at my destination hungry.

                Poor Boys
                136 Rockingham Rd, Londonderry, NH 03053

                1. re: Joanie

                  In Brunswick there's really no need to go to both Fat Boy and Morse's. If you're looking for the drive-in ambiance, it's Fat Boy, hands down. Don't think Fat Boy has a lobster pound though. Never seen carhops at Morse's, though they have the architecture for it. They also own what used to be Cook's Lobster Pound in Harpswell, I think, but I've never been.

                  Capt. Mike's is actually between the two of them on Bath Rd, practically next door to Morse's. (they're all within a mile or so of each other) and is a very very old school "family" restaurant.

                  1. re: the_MU

                    Thanks. And any thoughts on Block and Tackle or Holbrook Snack Bar on Cundy’s Harbor Rd?

                    1. re: Joanie

                      Anyone have comments on Block & Tackle or Holbrook Snack Bar? Also, the Boston Globe food section did a bit on Brunswick last Wed. and mentioned Dolphin Chowder House and Allen's Seafood in Harpswell. Are those on the way?

                      1. re: Joanie

                        Dolphin Chowder House is great but Harpswell will add 40 minutes (RT) driving time south out a peninsula.

                        Chowder House
                        RR 16, North Conway, NH 03860

                        1. re: HDinCentralME

                          Thanks, don't want to do that.

                          Folks, no one's been to Block & Tackle or Holbrook Snack Bar?

              2. re: Joanie

                I wouldn't let my dog eat at FAT BOYS in Brunswick....
                Their $6 Lobster Roll is all roll and a few sprinkles of lobster. I would rather pay $12 and get a real one elsewhere. Our party of 5 hated the joint, left hungry, cold food, tasteless, greasy hack chef...

                1. re: irwin

                  Lot's of debate about Fat Boy's, my dog loves it, but she's a Lab.
                  A few hundred yds. toward Bruns. is Morse Drive-In, but is over priced for this downeast boy.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    What do you consider overpriced? I think your and my ideas might differ. I definitely want a roll that has a good amount of lobster and will pay the money for it (and for the mandatory grilled/buttered hot dog roll). $12 is not overpriced for a lobster roll unless you can really get good ones in the area for less (you sure can't in Boston).

                    1. re: Joanie

                      I'm so spoiled w/ the 2 lobber rolls for 12 bucks at Tracey's, but you are on vacation so WTF!

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Don't get me wrong, I'm a bargain hunter supreme and if the $6 roll is as good as the $12, that's where I'll go. The other person made it sound like the drive-in was terrible, but I may go just cuz it's a drive in and stick with a dog.

                        And you still haven't answered if these places to the hot dog bun properly , grilled and buttered. Yes? Not a fan of an undone bun. Thanks.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          Fat Boy's isn't terrible, it's just typical. The onion rings and milkshakes are really great, and if you get them on a good day, the clams are pretty darn good. Coleslaw there sucks. In fact, apart from KFC, of all places, I haven't come across anyone in Brunswick that makes decent coleslaw, which is weird.

                          Conversely, don't bother with the onion rings at Morse's. Meh. Other stuff there is reasonably ok.

                          1. re: the_MU

                            How is Capn Mikes in Brunswick, any good? And does Cote's Ice Cream still have a shop in Brunswick?

                            1. re: jackattack

                              Cap'n Mikes is a throwback. It has big portions of fried seafood with well-done veggie sides, blue plate specials, etc. It is what it is, if you know what I mean. It is the sort of place that Weathervane models itself on.

                              Cote's still has a stand on Maine St. across from the gazebo.

                2. re: Joanie

                  Months after dining there, I still have dreams about the blueberry pie I had at Dolphin Marina in Harpswell. (yeah yeah the fried seafood was really really good too.) But I remember it being at the tippy toe end of Harpswell Islands so sort of out of the way enroute from anything to anything.

                3. re: Passadumkeg

                  Gotta take Route 3, gotta stop at Johns' Handmade ice Cream in Liberty, near Lake St. George.
                  However, if you're mapquested freeway route is the ticket....I'd agree with Days in Yarmouth or Haraseeket Lunch, and then a stop an hour up the highway for ice cream at North Street Dairy in Waterville. Grapenut, Homemade Cookie Dough, Fresh Banana, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip or Ginger are some of their best flavors....

                  1. re: jackattack

                    To send a chow tourist on Rt. 3 in July is pure sadism. Instead go to MDI Ice Cream or Ben and Bill's in BH and get there 1.4568 hrs earlier.

                4. Loop off I-95 north at the second Yarmouth exit, signed YArmouth/Freeport, I think, possibly Exit 17. Head north on 1 for about a half mile to Day's. Lobster or crab rolls, fried seafood, etc. Order at the window, take to a picnic table on the grassy lawn behind, overlooking the tidal estuary. Two minutes off the highway, so easy. Sure Harraseeket has more character, but it's a bit more involved to get there. Or go into Brunswick and eat your way through the food carts on the town mall (green), downtown. And if you do go to Fat Boy's, their renown is for the the Canadian BLT and a frappe and onion rings.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Mainegal

                    Exit 17 is correct for Day's. Also, if you live in the area, their fresh haddock at the 'store' is really, really good and they are such nice people.

                    1. re: hitpas

                      And their crabmeat cannot be beat,great steamers as well.

                  2. Figured I'd do a quick report here of the in between lunch and short stay in Bar Harbor. Thanks to those of you who helped with recommendations.

                    This vacation was supposed to be relaxing but all the driving (throughout Canada) and many stops nixed that. Started in Brunswick ME with two drive-in places, Fat Boy and Morse's Seafood. Both were okay but I couldn't resist the drive-in spots. Ate on the porch of Morse's and split a "large" lobster roll (which is actually normal-sized on a grilled/buttered hot dog bun) and a small order of clams and fries. Clams didn't have the sweetness I like but fine otherwise. Then down the road to sit in the car and get Fat Boy's cheeseburger, onion rings and split a coffee shake. This was all fine too, onion rings are quite good, burger is super flat, frappe fine. We spent the nite in Bar Harbor where we had a nice cocktail on the porch of the Bar Harbor Inn then tried to go to the Thirsty Whale which had gotten good reviews, where the locals go and all that. But even on a Thurs. nite, they only serve til 9PM and coming in at 9:04 wasn't close enough. We ended up at Finback Ale House which the inn's waiter had suggested but it wasn't great. Steamers were the tiniest things with lots of broken shells, crab cake sandwich was okay. Prices were normal for a nice looking bar resto. Nice enough place but maybe more for a beer. Morning Glory Bakery had good stuff and got a $1 ice cream cone (!?) from a gift shop type place on Main St. that was quite decent. I also liked the old drug store with a lunch counter (but didn't eat there). My first time in Bar Harbor, very cute.

                    Tried to hit Dysart's Truck Stop on the return trip but my iPhone map just wasn't getting us there so we waited until we hit Wiscasset for the Sea Basket. Very good clams (with that sweetness I wanted), good crab salad roll (on ciabatta bread I think; fine but I definitely prefer the grilled/buttered hot dog bun), subbed onion rings for fries which was nice and those were good. About $30 for that and two drinks so not too bad a price and there were only 4 people in line.

                    Sea Basket
                    303 Bath Rd, Wiscasset, ME

                    Thirsty Whale
                    40 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Joanie

                      Great info, Joanie, as we may head up north this fall....(As an aside, I miss your presence on the Boston board. Happy eating!)

                      1. re: digga

                        Hey, thanks for the comment (and surprised anyone would notice), couldn't take some people on that board anymore for various reasons.

                        Will be writing up the eastern Canada portion of the trip soon in case your travels take you there. Food (and drinks) got better as the trip went on (thankfully).