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Everything in Farmington, ME is horrible.

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Just a little warning in case you should find yourself passing through. Keep right on driving...

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  1. Everything? There's not a diner with a good hamburger or slice of pie or a cafe with an interesting chicken salad? Someplace with a good clam chowder? I'm not familiar with the area, but I wonder if while there may not be a gourmet bistro there, maybe there's a nice little mom and pop shop. Just wondering.

    1. Obviously you missed Soup for You, which usually has six homemade soups including vegan, vegie, and gluten-free options. Many are quite creative. I've never had a bad soup or, for that matter, a thin one; they're always thick with ingredients. There's also a new gelato shop downtown that's quite good.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Mainegal

        We ate at Java Joe's Corner Cafe, which was pretty good.

        Is that Gelato Fiasco's stuff shipped up from Brunswick??

        -----
        The Gelato Fiasco
        74 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

        Java Joe's Corner Cafe
        42 N Main St, Farmington, ME 04938

        1. re: bewley

          Nope, they're making their own, and it's mighty tasty. Glad I'm not in town more often, or it could be dangerous.

        2. re: Mainegal

          Soup For You is pretty horrible. Since it has almost no competition for takeout lunch I guess it can afford to be. At our office we call it "Sucks to Be You."

          -----
          Soup For You
          222 Broadway, Farmington, ME 04938

          1. re: tamerlanenj

            Is Farmington your ex-lover or something? You sound a bit jilted.

            1. re: tamerlanenj

              Guess we have different tastes. I've been purchasing soups there off and on for years, and I've yet to come across a bad one. Most are excellent. I appreciate the opportunity to sample first. And you're the first person I've come across who doesn't like it. What exactly don't you like?

              1. re: Mainegal

                Every single soup, with the exception of the bbq chicken which I enjoy, is totally overpowered with garlic. It's like it's the only way of seasoning they know. I find that to be both clumsy and unpleasant.

                The sandwiches are mediocre, but better than Java Joe's I guess.

                The service is also the epitome of "glacial."

                -----
                Java Joe's Cafe
                98 Central St, Bangor, ME 04401

                1. re: tamerlanenj

                  Haven't had that experience at all. And for as small, order-at-the-counter joint, I have no complaints about service. Never ordered a sandwich, I'm too smitten by the soups. I frequently have one soup for lunch and pick up another to bring home. Like I said, different tastes.

                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                    Absolutely not true. I have never had a soup there that had overwhelming, or even noticeable, garlic. The servers are delightful people, and the sandwiches are real and tasty.

            2. I am sure that the dining scene in Farmington has nosedived since the closing of the (Miss?) Farmington Diner. Now the other restaurants have no standard to try to match. How about Giffords Ice Cream? I could have their coffee shake for three meals a day.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mainahs

                Gifford's is solid, but only open a third of the year!

                There's a new Gelato Place--Wicked Gelato--which I believe is a Franchise partner of Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick. It's also pretty good.

                A new Martini Bar is being built on Front Street next to Nina's....who knows, could be a nice change of pace from beers and Big Buck Hunter at the Front Street Tavern.

                -----
                The Gelato Fiasco
                74 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

              2. I grew up there and the choice there is weak at best. I worked at Fiddlehead's (now gone) and they had a great menu with really fresh and unique items. My mother also worked at FL Butler's, now the Homestead Bakery, for many years and they also had a pretty solid menu. Did you try the Homestead Bakery? They used to be pretty consistent and my mom worked there for years after FL Butler's was disbanded.

                -----
                Homestead Bakery Restaurant
                186 Broadway, Farmington, ME 04938

                1. " Everything in Farmington, ME is horrible....Just a little warning in case you should find yourself passing through. Keep right on driving..."

                  Driving where?? :-)
                  I guess it's a nice fall foliage are being besides a bunch of beautiful lakes and at the foothills of the mountains.

                  Maybe you should eat at Waterville or Augusta on the way up?

                  As a Chowhound, I must admit that the Homestead Bakery sounds like something I'd definitely try, but then again I've had no reason to visit Farmington!! (Maybe if I get a college job there...)
                  RSW

                  -----
                  Homestead Bakery Restaurant
                  186 Broadway, Farmington, ME 04938

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bunnyr

                    Don't be fooled, unless you like food shipped in on a MAC truck and microwaved. Obviously, if that's the case, then you'd make a point to stop in.

                  2. I used to travel Rt 2 through Farmington taking one of the kids to and fro college. The Irving's gas station gave us red snappers for a wicked good breakfast or late dinner.

                    1. Come to think of it, I don't think college towns attract a lot of quality eateries. I'm thinking Durham, NH . . well, Brunswick, ME maybe?? I

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: bewley

                        Orono is nothing to rave about either, but you are correct about Brunswick.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Passadumkeg, you have a great handle on the Maine dining scene -- why is Brunswick such a better chowhounding town than Waterville, which also has a fine liberal arts college, Colby? Or Lewiston, home of Bates?

                          jackattack, same question!

                          1. re: Bob W

                            We callI-95 The Volvo Line. Volvos to the south (read coast) and F-150's to the north.
                            Brunswick is by the shore and w/ a former "upscale" Navy base (read well traveled pilots). Waterville is an old school manufacturing/ railroading town.
                            My students are arriving from lunch.....

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              LOL I like the Volvo Line! One exception, of course -- Visiting Day at camp!

                              1. re: Bob W

                                I'd give a decent reason: Brunswick is an intown campus, Colby isn't. You can walk from Bowdoin's campus downtown for a quick bite or a leisurely meal. At Colby, you need a car. Big difference that has nothing to do with what kind of car one drives (Suburu for the record).

                                1. re: Mainegal

                                  Sorry, I have walked from the Clby campus to down town more than a few time. I don't drink and drive even that mile.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Okay, maybe you don't need a car, but downtown isn't at your fingertips as it is in Brunswick. One campus is downtown, the other isn't.

                                    1. re: Mainegal

                                      You are absolutely correct. And there ain't much worth walking to in Waterville except beer. A lot of Colby kids jump in their Beemers and drive across the river to Big G's sandwich shop; a unique institution.

                                      -----
                                      Big G's
                                      581 Benton Ave, Winslow, ME

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        As for Bates and Lewiston...forget it. I've never seen a college that wasn't walking distance from at least one drinking establishment! Where do professors go to complain about their students?

                                        Though Lewiston/auburn does have some nice options: Fuel, Thai Dish, the Bread Company, etc.

                                        -----
                                        Thai Dish
                                        220 Court St, Auburn, ME 04210

                                        1. re: tamerlanenj

                                          And a great Somali place.

                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                          You just flunked, Pass !! LOL

                                          Big G is big but the quality is low / mediocre -- sorry

                                          Maybe I just wasn;t that hungry - but for college kids its probably fabulous !

                        2. I was at the Farmington Diner once when there were two chickens walking on the front lawn. At the very same moment I was looking out the window, I heard a customer ask "how fresh is the chicken?"

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jackattack

                            There was not 1 blade of grass on the Farmington Diner property much less a live chicken

                          2. I think we need to define "college town". If you base it upon a general notion that a college town is a town where the majority (i.e. 50.1%) of it's residents are college students, than Brunswick, Waterville, and Lewiston don't apply. They are simply towns/cities with a college. Orono WOULD be applicable. If you are simply defining it as any town/city with a college, than I don't think you can say college towns (or even the majority of college towns) don't have good food (Portland for example).

                            Maybe we're digging too deep into something that doesn't need digging.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                              Yes, you're correct, I mean the former definition where over half the population attends or works for a college.

                              1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                While Waterville and Lewiston may not be college towns under that general notion, they nevertheless have colleges similar -- in size and student makeup -- to Brunswick's Bowdoin, yet even right near the Colby campus in W'ville, there is not much good to eat.

                              2. Regardless of state funding, I think we can say Farmington IS indeed a college town, and as such, students are not as demanding for good food. Pizza and pizza and ice cream and big breakfasts and pizza are pretty much staples for students, regardless of economic background. I live near Durham, NH which IS a college town and this same rule applies there. I once looked at Northampton, MA to open a restaurant and, though I was was impressed with the ethnic diversity, I was underwhelmed by the quality of that town's eateries. I guess what I am trying to get at is that American students are not that picky when it comes to food. Not so, however, when we talk about places like Brown U. or Columbia U. (places that place emphasis on having multiculturalism in their student body).

                                I also agree that Maine, being one of the highest taxed states in the nation is also one of the most mismanaged.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: bewley

                                  every state's residents like to make that claim. :)

                                  1. re: bbqboy

                                    so true, Maine actually ranks 15th.

                                  2. re: bewley

                                    Well, the rest of Franklin County, ME that ISN'T college town is even worse than Farmington. I don't think there is a single good thing to eat from Coburn Gore in the north to New Sharon in the south to all points in between...I guess Rangeley has a couple diamonds in the rought...

                                  3. It comes down to expectations I suppose. The local Franklin county mountain folk might be happy with dreck like the granary or frozen sysco burgers at the homestead. It's not for me. The dugout is fine as absolute dives go...they have their place, after all. But if they are going to offer hand cut fries they should at least learn how to make them correctly. You have to double fry, folks.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                      What about that new place called The Company?

                                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                                        guess we don't have to worry about you coming back to roost

                                      2. Stopped in at the homestead and they seem to be making a real effort to improve. Nice redesigned menu with a lot of fresh small plates options for the bar. I had a nice ham and Brie on toasted baguette. Keep it up homestead. Burgers still terrible though.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: tamerlanenj

                                          The Homestead is really pretty good, especially for breakfast. The Granary is not all together bad.

                                          1. re: lola22

                                            The Granary is ok for pub food in the bar. The dining room and the "dinner entrees" are universally terrible.

                                            1. re: tamerlanenj

                                              We have a place nearby Farmington but we live in Mass. We don't go to Farmington for food. Why do you? You really can't bring high expectations to such a place.

                                              1. re: lola22

                                                Because, unfortunately, I live here. ;) And if people don't insist on better, they'll never get it. The Homestead is making an effort. The Company is trying to be something better than the usual. I'm willing to support the effort. I do miss good ethnic food, though! I'd kill for something like Fu Loon, Dok Bua, or India Quality.

                                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                  agreed. but to have such a restaurant survive it would have to appeal to more than a handful of foodies from Mass.

                                        2. So the rumors are true: The Company does become a Thai restaurant in September. Fantastic news. I'm guessing it will be run by the proprietors of one of the nearby Thai places Rangeley or Waterville, as I can't imagine who else would be doing it.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                                            We don't know if it's fantastic news until we taste the food, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that there could be a Thai family in the area opening a restaurant - there are, thank God on many levels - VERY many Cambodian immigrants in Franklin County.

                                            1. re: lifeasbinge

                                              The Co could be replaced by a high school cafeteria and it would be good news.

                                            2. re: tamerlanenj

                                              Pad Thai Too in Waterville is really good.

                                              -----
                                              Pad Thai Too
                                              400 Kennedy Memorial Dr, Waterville, ME 04901

                                              1. re: lola22

                                                last I heard is that the family runs a Thai place in L/A, but I don't know which one. My favorite is thai dish in Auburn...but I doubt it's them.

                                                1. re: lola22

                                                  it is indeed!

                                                  1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                    awesome, looking forward to the switch, when is it to happen?

                                                    btw, dinners at the homestead have been fabulous lately.

                                              2. Hey, you managed to get Farmington on the list of the 10 worst college towns for food. Great job!

                                                http://www.chow.com/food-news/91148/t...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: DavidPalmer

                                                  Gotta say, that seems pretty silly. I doubt much research went into the list other than including some generic search on Chowhound for "college town" and "horrible food".

                                                  To see a small town like Farmington make the list is pretty laughable. Are you telling me the dining scene in Farmington is worse than Fort Kent? Presque Isle? Machias?

                                                  Oops, look for Fort Kent in the next edition.

                                                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac

                                                    I 100% agree.

                                                2. Well, the new Thai Smile and Sushi is open and I've been three times now. I have mostly good things to say.

                                                  1.The Thai food is mostly good to very good. At least comparable with nearest competitors in Auburn, Rangeley, and Waterville. The Mango curry was delicious, and the pad thai has to be one of my favorite renditions. Drunken Noodle, a favorite of mine, was ok but a bit mushy. Good spring rolls.

                                                  2.The Sushi is pretty mediocre. Probably to be expected, as this is really a Thai-focused restaurant. OK maki, but a very limited and uninteresting selection of fish. Prices are also ridiculously high ($17 for a shrimp tempura roll?).

                                                  3.Servers are clueless, most of them clearly never having eaten or served Thai or Japense food. However, I expect this to improve. Bartenders are friendly and can now whip up a pretty good mai tai.

                                                  In all, a good addition to the town.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                    Service is slow

                                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                      "very good" food? really? more than adequate? I don't think so. The pad thai was OK, no better, and crab rangoons just weird. Service incredibly slow and while cheerful, extremely inept - entree dishes were plopped in the middle of the table and we waited expectantly for individual plates, had to actually ask for them. Beer selection is interesting, but the whole experience is just bizarre. Not much of an "addition" to an admittedly poor town for chow. I'll just hie myself over to Calzolaio.

                                                      1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                        You're judging a Thai restaurant by its crab rangoons? That's odd. You should order some thai food next time.

                                                        1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                          Um, I'm judging a restaurant on food (and service). I had Thai food as well. It was quite indifferent at best. Are you saying that you prefer Thai smile to Calzolaio? While i'm on the subject, how do you explain the fact that I've never even noticed garlic at Soup for You? Your statement that there isn't a decent bite of food between Coburn Gore and Farmington is frankly laughable.

                                                          1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                            Well, before the Porter House in Eustis burned down, I would have agreed with you. Now?

                                                            1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                              oh hell, I'll bite. One Stanley Avenue.

                                                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                little roadside stand - Country Delight? - just north of Strong?

                                                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                  nothing worthwhile in Rangeley either, I gather?

                                                                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                    Tim Pond Camps

                                                          2. I will have to completely disagree with this one. For one, Try Calzolaio's in Wilton (town over from farmington). Amazing italian food for the area and great portions at reasonable prices. Also, Thai Smile has improved significantly since its opening - everyone should give it another go (service hasnt improved much, but food is fresher and better prepared). Homestead is another option if you are looking for something a little more formal. The food scene in Farmington is making a solid effort to improve, but it's misleading to say that everything in Farmington Maine is horrible.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: Farmingtoner

                                                              The best thing going in Farmignton right now is the snack shack down at Prescott Field. They have a damned legit wood fired oven and they are turning out the best pizza in Franklin county BY FAR. It's about fifty times better than Calzalaio, home of the worst red sauce this side of pizza hut.

                                                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                If I wanted to go to a Snack Shack. I would go to Farmington Fair.

                                                                1. re: Hickorysmoked

                                                                  well, yes, there's that, but "discussion" in this thread seems pretty pointless. thanks for trying.

                                                                  1. re: lifeasbinge

                                                                    eggsactly, if it was that bad all the restaurants wouldn't still be in business? Now would they?

                                                                    1. re: Hickorysmoked

                                                                      You underestimate the human capacity for tolerating mediocrity in service of predictability. :)

                                                                  2. re: Hickorysmoked

                                                                    Maybe you should try reading what I wrote about WHY the Snack Shack is good.

                                                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                      I have been watching this post ever since it was put up. I pretty much agree there isn't much good to eat in Farmington. It is very disappointing. We run errands in Farmington and when we go into "town" we like to have lunch while we are there. Unfortunately there isn't really any place that we like. (I used to like the french dip at the Granary, now closed). We were pretty excited to see the good comments about the Snack Shack and wanted to try it. This past Friday we went into Farmington and on the way to the hairdresser we went to locate the Snack Shack. Anyway, we pull up and start reading the menu board from the car and then unfortunately notice it did not open until 2:30 p.m. So disappointed. We were all ready to come back at noon and try their pizza and sit outside on their picnic tables. It would have been a nice day for it. We are rarely in Farmington in the evening. For a short time there was a restaurant called Peter's Seafood and Steak on Fairbanks Rd. We really liked it. The chef and owner did a really good job with his seafood chowder and other seafood items. It was a cute place for a quick lunch. Unfortunately he was killed in a car accident and the restaurant closed not long after. I still miss his chowders in the winter. We have been to Thai Smile a few times but the last two times when we were there at noon we were told the person that knows how to make the sushi wasn't at work yet. I was only going there for the sushi, since it is something I get incredibly hungry for, so we left. We haven't been back because of it. We did have a last Gifford's ice cream cone though before they close soon for winter. It is the best fresh. And picked up some apple cider from the apple lady in the parking lot at Gifford's. She has really good cider as well as apples.

                                                                      1. re: Buttercupmaine

                                                                        Yes, I always was flummoxed that the Snack Shack isn't open for lunch. Seems a no brainer. Agree, too, with how frustrating is that Thai Smile's "sushi person" is so often AWOL.