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Need restaurant suggestions for budget summer road trip from Buffalo, NY to Maine (Old Orchard Beach/ Portland/ Bangor/ Bar Harbor)

I'm going on a 5 day road-trip to Maine with a couple of my friends. We plan on staying at Old Orchard Beach for two days and then driving up to Acadia National Park and spending three nights near Bangor.
We're all foodies and are really excited to try out the seafood, berries and other local food. But since we're college students, we're on a pretty tight budget so I need some suggestions on inexpensive places that serve great local food. We do plan to splurge on a couple of meals though.

I've researched some places where we could eat at. Reviews or suggestions for other places would be awesome :)

Ogunquit: Barnacle Billy's, MC Perkins Cove

Kennebunkport: The Clam Shack

Portland: Duckfat, Kim's Sandwiches

Rockland: Waterman's Beach Lobster

Bangor: Friars Bakehouse, Bagel Central, Bagaduce Lunch, Anglers Restaurant.

Bar Harbor: ??

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  1. Based on recommendations from both Chowhound and Google Maps, we tried Friars Bakehouse for lunch. Although it was a charming snapshot of local color, I would not recommend it for lunch. I do recommend taking a loaf of their oatmeal bread on the road with you, and stopping in for a whoopie pie or blueberry muffin and a cup of coffee,

    2 Replies
    1. re: scharffenberger

      Just came back from the Bangor area. Who knew that Friar's Bakehouse had lobster rolls on Fridays? Huge and absolutely excellent. We had dinners at Fiddlehead and at Massimo cuccina. THese were wonderful dinners, lovely wait staff and owners, generous and gracious and the food was beatifully made, wonderful sauces, great wine choices and unusual drinks. We were surprised and delighted by the new choices and fantastic food.

      1. re: scharffenberger

        Did you go to the bagel shop in Bangor? Is it better than Friars?

      2. I would not consider some of the places on your list inexpensive (e.g. MC and Duckfat). In that same category of "not inexpensive but worth a splurge" I would add Cleonice in Ellsworth.

        112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

        1. If you're foodies don't spend 3 nights in Bangor. Even Ellsworth would be better

          4 Replies
          1. re: jackattack

            Our original plan was to stay in Ellsworth..but the hotel prices were through the roof...so we had to settle for Bangor. But could you recommend any restaurants in Ellsworth?

            1. re: chaitali

              Two great places for students on a budget are The Riverside Cafe and Sylvia's Diner. Sylvia's has great breakfasts and decent diner-food lunch.

              I've heard ther'es a good Mexican restaurant in Ellsworth but I haven't ever been,

              Jordan's Snack Bar is the good old-fashioned standby .


              Jordan's Snack Bar
              Hancock Rd, Ellsworth, ME 04605

              1. re: chaitali

                These three restaurants are excellent:
                Union River Lobster
                Trenton Bridge Lobster

                112 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605

              2. re: jackattack

                There's one really good restaurant in Ellsworth (Cleonice). There are far more in Bangor. Fiddlehead, Luna, Unbridled Bistro, Bahaar Pakistani, Yoshi in Brewer, Massimo, etc. Have you been to Bangor in the past five years, jackattack?

                Bahaar Restaurant
                23 Hammond St, Bangor, ME 04401

              3. Mike's Clam Shack on Rt 1 in Wells had the best fried clams and scallops we've ever had and prices are pretty reasonable. It's a family style place.
                Definitely agree with Waterman's except I keep forgetting it's not in Rockland but near it.

                If fresh blueberries are still available, they are terrific mixed with vanilla yogurt if you want to put together a picnic lunch or breakfast. You might also visit a farmers market. The one on Friday mornings in Brunswick is terrific. You'll have no problem finding some great baked goods. If you got prepared with some picnic gear you could put together your own salads or sandwiches. Very simple: deli turkey meat, sliced fresh tomato, fresh basil leaves, mayo on your fresh baked bread. We also carry bag chairs for our picnic stops.
                Don't miss MDI ice cream. They have a new shop on Extension St in Portland's Old Port area. Walk a little further uphill and there's a small park where you can sit and enjoy your ice cream. Otherwise, I think Bar Harbor is the only other place you can find it.

                Mike's Clam Shack
                RR 1, Wells, ME 04090

                1 Reply
                1. re: dfrostnh

                  We are actually planning of picking up some fresh blueberries and making blueberry margaritas at night :)
                  Unfortunately we'll be there from Sunday to Thurs...so no farmers market for us but thanks for the suggestion!

                2. Oh and does anyone know if Bagaduce Lunch in Bangor is still open?
                  I just checked the street address on google maps and it said it was permanently closed.
                  Has anyone been there recently?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chaitali

                    Is there 2 Bagaduce Lunches? The only Bagaduce Lunch I've been to is in Brooksville, Me, about 45 minutes south on Rte. 175.

                  2. Just came back from Portland ME.
                    Do not eat anywhere there (not even Kim's Sandwiches & Cafe)) if you're on a budget....unless you are SURE of the menu and prices beforehand.

                    At least not during summer tourist season.

                    I don't think I'm overreacting here; Portland is definitely pricey.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bunnyr

                      Obviously, budget-friendly is in the eye of the beholder - one poster's "inexpensive" may be another's "splurge," depending on personal circumstances, when the poster does not specify price points. That being said, I would recommend The Front Room in Portland as a relatively inexpensive restaurant for good food. When we were there recently for dinner, we noted a an adjacent table of 20-somethings who had ordered sandwiches (price range $8-$10), mac & cheese ($11), and soups ($4 - $6). Here's the link to their menu, http://hardingleesmith.com/index.php?.... Portions are generous so you could easily be sated with a just an entree (and I think you can order soups standing alone for entree, if you are so inclined).

                      Front Room Restaurant & Bar
                      73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

                      1. re: masha

                        There was actually an Indian Place ("Passage to...[ugh, I forget]) which was also not bad. It's just that I have visited lots of good Indian places in Nashua, Boston, ... even Keene ... and thought we didn't need to do that.
                        By the way, I was only saying that you need to check prices beforehand; people have the mistaken impression that because Portland is away from Boston that the prices will be lower than Boston's. That ain't necessarily so!!

                        1. re: masha

                          Ditto. You can spend a lot - or not so much in Portland. On a budget? Love the Front Room. Try a pork belly reuben at Nosh. Grab a "slab" of pizza at Micucci's or a slice at Otto. Duck Fat - get the fries and a $5 milk shake for lunch - to die for (and you just might as you could end up in the cardiac unit). Standard Bakery for... anything. There's a number of very reasonably priced places to eat - you just have to find them.

                          Front Room Restaurant & Bar
                          73 Congress St Ste A, Portland, ME 04101

                          Duck Fat
                          43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

                      2. Bagel central in Bangor is okay if you want a "roll with a hole" instead of a real bagel. Friar's bakehouse (next store) is great for their whoopie pies - in fact, they're a must. Warning, though....don't get more whoopies than you'll eat that day, or, at the latest, the next. There are no preservatives, and they get stale quickly.

                        1. Came back from Maine yesterday..here are all the restaurants we visited:

                          Clam Shack (Kennebunkport) http://theclamshack.net/
                          We got a pint of fried clams and clam cake lunch box. The clam cakes were wonderful and they were served with a generous portion of fries but the fried clams were a total disappointment. Some were burnt dark brown and tasted horrible Also the prices are pretty steep for a 'shack'.
                          We paid a total of $42 for the whole meal. $23 for the clams and $17 for the clamcakes + taxes

                          On a Roll (food truck on the way to Ogunquit beach
                          ) We had the best (and the cheapest!) lobster roll from this truck. The bread roll was toasted with lots of butter and was filled with chunks of fresh lobster meat inside. It was so good that we actually licked the paper box it came in. I couldn't find a website for it so I posted a pic we took of the truck.
                          It was $9.75 for one lobster roll.

                          Duckfat (Portland) http://www.duckfat.com/
                          This is a tiny little place in downtown Portland. We went on a Sunday afternoon and it was completely packed. We waited around for a while waiting for someone to seat us but then gave up and took a seat at the bar.

                          My friends got the house soup (sweet potato, kale and chorizo) and chocolate beignets and I got the original vanilla creme anglaise milkshake and cinnamon sugar beignet. And of course we all got the fries (with the truffle ketchup, garlic aioli and thai chili mayo dipping sauce).

                          Nearly everything we had was amazing. The soup was mild but hearty and had a slight hint of smokiness. The best part of the soup was the perfectly cooked kale. So good!
                          The cinnamon sugar beignets were really good. Crisp on the inside but really soft inside. I didnt really like the chocolate ones though. They were a little soggy and didn't have the textural contrast of the cinnamon beignet.

                          Then the fries...omg the fries. They were so flavorful just on their own, I don't think you really need any kind of dipping sauce for it! Although the garlic aioli and thai chili mayo were excellent, the truffle ketchup tasted just like regular ketchup.
                          We spent approx $15-$20 on the meal with tax+tips. Money well spent!

                          Bagel Central (Bangor) http://www.bagelcentralbangor.com/
                          We were planning on hiking in Acadia and so wanted to pick up some stuff for a picnic lunch. We got a herb, garlic, poppy seed and an onion bagel with green olive, plain, scallion and lox spread cream cheese along with some pasta salad and the vegan cocoa berry bread.
                          The bagels weren't like NY style bagels, more like thick, fluffy rolls. But they were fresh and tasted wonderful.
                          My favorites were the herb bagel with the green olive cream cheese. But even the pasta salad and the bread were incredibly good. We went back the next day to pick up extra stuff to take back home.
                          I think we spent like $15 for everything. Definitely go to this place if you are in Bangor.

                          Friars bakehouse (Bangor
                          ) We really really wanted to go here. But it was closed on all the three days we went despite going there during their 'open' hours.

                          Cleonice (Ellsworth) http://www.cleonice.com/HOME.html
                          Although this was supposed to be one of our fancy-place-where-we-can-splurge kind of restaurant we spent around $25 person for the food.. But that was probably because we chose the tapas menu instead of ordering from the hot kitchen.

                          Amongst all the tapas we ordered, the artichoke pesto bruschetta, grilled octopus with peri peri sauce and the escargot with garlic and parsley sauce were my favorites.
                          My friends got the spiced lemonade and a rose blossom tea while I got a glass of sherry along with the tapas. The tea was pretty good but the lemonade was better. The sherry went very well with the tapas.

                          We ordered a dark chocolate truffle for dessert as we were too full to eat anything else. It was rock hard on the outside and the ganache was way too sweet for a supposedly dark chocolate truffle.
                          We spent approx $30 for two plates of tapas, a glass of sherry and dessert + tax and tips.

                          Ground Round Grill and Bar (Bangor) http://www.groundround.com/
                          This wasn't originally on the list of restaurants we wanted to visit. But we were tired and hungry after a long day of hiking and apparently nothing is open after 9:30pm around Acadia/Bangor. We ordered three lobster rolls which came with two sides each. One was coleslaw and other was any potato side. We all got the mashed potatoes which were decent. The lobster rolls were huge and had lots of lobster. But the roll was cold and the lobster didn't taste very fresh.
                          We didn't really see a lot of people in the restaurant itself but a lot of people ordered takeout while we were waiting for our food, so I'm guessing it's a pretty popular place.
                          We spent $14 on the lobster roll meal.

                          Waterman's Beach Lobster (South Thomaston) http://www.watermansbeachlobster.com/...
                          This was the final meal of the trip and I would be very happy if this was my last meal ever. It was raining really heavily and really windy we went to Watermans and we were like the only customers there for lunch. But I'm pretty sure it gets really busy on a normal sunny day.

                          We all got the 1lb lobster lunch which comes with butter, chips and a roll. Obviously we ignored everything on the tray and focused exclusively on the lobster. It was mind-blowingly good. Even the green stuff inside was so tasty! We spent over an hour there extracting every juicy little morsel of meat from the lobster.

                          Then we got a slice of blueberry pie for dessert. I'm not a big fan of fruit pies, but this was in a league of its own. It was fresh and you could really taste the Maine blueberries in the pie. It wasn't syrupy sweet either and had a beautiful flaky crust. . It was the perfect slice of pie.

                          On the plus side, the two ladies inside we really nice. One of them even gave us a discount on the pie! I guess they were a little surprised that we'd braved the horrible weather just to go eat lobster over there :
                          ) We spent $20 for the lobster and the pie. So totally worth it!

                          And that wraps up my Maine road trip!
                          Thanks for all the suggestions!

                          Clam Shack
                          2 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: chaitali

                            I can't believe no one complimented you on this excellent restaurant tour and review. Very good!!

                            1. re: chaitali

                              Can you be a little more specific about the location of the lobster roll truck in Ogunquit?

                              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                It was on Post Rd, Wells, a little past the intersection of Post Rd and Poplar Park Drive.
                                It's on the ocean side when you're driving towards Footbridge Beach from downtown Wells. The truck itself is quite small, but they have parking in the back and a few picnic tables around the truck. I posted a picture of the truck in my original post too..in case that helps you find.

                            2. Yes...thanks for the report! It's nice to hear the results of our recommendations.....

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                I enjoyed reading your report. Great job eating on a budget.

                                1. re: dfrostnh

                                  If anyone cares, my friends spent approx $70-$90 and I spent an even $100 on the food for the 6 day trip.