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Lunch in Portland ME near the train station?

marcreichman Jul 27, 2011 08:20 AM

I will be killing a couple of hours in Portland after arriving via train from Boston before getting picked up to go farther north on a Monday, and then the same in reverse on a Saturday. I will probably have 2 hours on each day to find food.

The only rub may be that I'm going to have no car and be by the train station. Anything useful there? Or do I need to take cabs everywhere.. How much might I be spending for these kinds of rides?

All help appreciated. I was already considering Duckfat but want other recs just in case.

  1. s
    soxlover Jul 28, 2011 09:59 PM

    I'm not sure how fancy or eclectic you want to go, but there's a great pizza place about 10-15 min. walk called Pizza Villa. They also do salads, sandwiches, calzones, wings etc. The pizza is Greek style...family owned business. There is also a restaurant called Dogfish Cafe within that same block.

    Pizza Villa
    940 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

    10 Replies
    1. re: soxlover
      DavidPalmer Jul 29, 2011 08:58 AM

      I never knew it was Greek style pizza, haven't been there in probably 15 years or so, I only remember they sell just 10 inch pies and they were delicious with a crispy crust and great sauce. I hate to sound ignorant, but what makes a Greek style crust?

      1. re: DavidPalmer
        kimfair1 Jul 29, 2011 11:13 AM

        A Greek-style crust (at least in New Bedford, MA where I grew up) is breadier than Italian, with a somewhat greasy, crispy exterior (often with small bubbles of cooked dough on the outside. I couldn't wait to get to Boston when I graduated high school for college, as New Bedford has almost only Greek places, and I much prefer the Italian style pie.

        1. re: kimfair1
          sciencediet Jul 29, 2011 11:20 AM

          Yeah, Greek pizza is what pretty much anyone growing up in New England in the 70s (outside of maybe New Haven and specifically Italian neighborhoods elsewhere) would have known as "pizza"--thick, chewy crust, lots of oil, and (now that I Google it) lots of oregano in the sauce and some cheddar in the cheese. Every pizza place in my town was owned by Greeks too.

      2. re: soxlover
        grittys457 Jul 30, 2011 07:28 PM

        lol, as a lifetime Portlander, I don't want to think of this person taking that scenic walk from the train station to union station. Only homeless people, drunks, and lost Sea Dogs players walk that part of Congress. Dogfish would be a good stop for food though.

        Just take a cab intown. There is no way it's 15 bucks. Runs you right through that first exit and down on commercial street, take three minutes. Plenty of time to walk the exchange street, fore street, commercial street loop and hit up Duckfat if that's what you want. It's seriously such a short cab ride, I'd avoid the walking part unless you wanna wrestle a dude with a shopping cart and a makeshift knife under the bridge.

        1. re: grittys457
          grittys457 Aug 1, 2011 06:54 PM

          I can't believe somebody was shot to death outside on Congress street this morning right in the area I was talking about in this thread. Creepy coincidence. Yeah, better get that cab

          1. re: grittys457
            LeRique Aug 2, 2011 07:04 AM

            let me guess. you dont work for the chamber of commerce.

            1. re: LeRique
              grittys457 Aug 3, 2011 03:12 AM

              I sound like I'm on the city council the way they do things. I lived across from that apartment where it happened before. Nice neighborhood, just a bad apartment where that occured. Just thought it was weird we were just talking about that stretch of road hours before on this thread. It's 100% safe walk from the train station to the union station area, it's just depressing though.

              1. re: grittys457
                LeRique Aug 3, 2011 04:35 AM

                thanks for the explanation.

            2. re: grittys457
              aliris Aug 9, 2011 08:33 PM

              I'm not from Portland or the Chamber of Commerce, but I agree to avoid slogging along that icky stretch near the bus station. Rereading the OP it seems you'll arrive at the bus station but then get picked up by car a couple hours later ... any chance of just asking that car to collect you from intown? That way you could skip the round-trip part and wind up with more time. You certainly *can* walk 15 minutes, but why spend your limited time in that waste land, wind up in a non-memorable part of town and miss out on what's unique about Portland? Every city has a stretch populated with "homeless people, drunks, and lost ... players", but only Portland has its waterfront. G'luck! I sure wish they'd put those transportation hubs closer to the center of things. Maybe someone from the chamber of commerce *will* read this. Free shuttle?

              1. re: aliris
                grittys457 Aug 10, 2011 07:20 AM

                This is why the Forefront at Thompson's Point is going to be such a great project when it's built and completed in a couple years. Turn an entire wasteland near the station into a big new clean area with eating and entertainment. I would also think they'd start providing more shuttle service from there to the old port.

        2. d
          delong99 Jul 27, 2011 09:21 AM


          The Portland Metro bus stops at the train station on the inbound route, then drops at Congress St. From there you could walk to Duckfat or any number of Old Port places.

          Old Port Cafe
          111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

          2 Replies
          1. re: delong99
            bobbert Jul 27, 2011 10:40 AM

            +1. You can get down town (Congress st near Monument Square) for about $8 - 10 cab ride and then walk to many places. The metro is the other good option at $1.50 (exact change please) and runs every 25 minutes except sundays. It will take you to Monument Square and you can walk anywhere from there. What day of the week are you coming? Just got back from a good farmers market at the square - some good street musicians and overall good vibe.

            1. re: bobbert
              bobbert Jul 27, 2011 07:28 PM

              I guess you said you'll be here on a Monday (duh). Farmer's market is on Wednesday. Sorry.

          2. s
            sciencediet Jul 27, 2011 08:32 AM

            There's no walking anywhere from the train station. Duckfat will be about a $15 cab ride, and if you're going to go all the way to the Old Port, there are a million choices (and a quick search here will give you a good list.) However, what I'd do is take a $5 cab ride for a $3 bahn mi at Kim's on St. John. Not the most scenic location, but fast and good. (And yes, I know that Kim's isn't the best bahn mi in town, but Saigon is too far.)

            Old Port Cafe
            111 Main St, Winterport, ME 04496

            3 Replies
            1. re: sciencediet
              mainemal Jul 27, 2011 08:47 AM

              That's my neighborhood, and I agree there's not much nearby. However, a lot depends on how far you might be willing to walk. Train station to Kim's is probably about 15 minutes at most.

              1. re: mainemal
                marcreichman Jul 27, 2011 09:14 AM

                Definitely used to walking, so 15m is no big deal to me. Thanks!

                1. re: marcreichman
                  bobbert Jul 31, 2011 04:49 AM

                  Google says the walk is just about 1 mile to St. John's Street. It's not the most attractive walk and does take you to a part of town where you you be the only tourist. That being said, it's safe and as stated by others, there are some pretty good food options in that area. Seng Thai is very good as is Dogfish. Pizza Villa is not the first, or even third pizza place that usually comes to mind when suggesting Portland pizza but it's actually pretty good. This is not a part of town that anyone from Portland would normally suggest someone from away should visit but if you're just looking for a decent lunch, you could do a lot worse.

                  Pizza Villa
                  940 Congress St, Portland, ME 04102

                  Seng Thai Restaurant
                  RR 1, Belfast, ME 04915

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