Kittery, York, + South Berwick
By Joe Ricchio
Loco Coco’s Tacos
I’ll be the first to tell you that good Mexican food in Maine is truly a rarity, so you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon some of the state’s best in Kittery, of all places. I don’t think I could have been happier than I was when eating a plate of barbacoa tacos drizzled with one of their several housemade hot sauces, sipping a Bohemia, and listening to the Mexican hip-hop on the stereo. Actually, I could have been a little happier if I didn’t have so much work to do later that day, which would have allowed me to sample the tequila…
36 Walker St. | Kittery | 207.438.9322
Carl’s Meat Market
“Great Beef, No Bull” are the words they live by here, so I went for just that—fatty ground chuck with some sliced deli cheese and a bag of Martin’s brand potato buns. As I began cooking my burgers in a cast-iron skillet, I repeatedly set off the fire alarm and became painfully aware of how weak my hood system is at home. Instead, I recommend you have them grill the burgers for you, grab a big bottle of beer from their extensive selection, and go enjoy them in a pleasant, smoke-free environment. Great locally owned butcher shops are getting harder and harder to come by, so be sure to support them whenever possible—the product is always worth it.
25 U.S. Route 1 | Kittery | 207.439.1557
I have been a loyal customer of the Clown, in its variety of locations, for many years. They are one of the very few wine shops where you will find not only interesting bottles but a range of vintages as well. When you’ve worked in the wine business for a while, it’s rare that you enjoy browsing through a store’s selection simply because you’re excited that you keep finding something unusual. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into what’s on the shelves.
659 U.S. Route 1 | York | 207.351.3063
By far the best Indian food I have ever had in New England, and maybe anywhere, is found in this small restaurant housed in a former post office. We were literally scraping every last bit of the beautiful, delicate sauces from the serving dishes, and we continued to eat well beyond the point of being painfully full. Surprisingly, they also offer several excellent wine and beer selections, which is certainly a rarity for Indian restaurants. Because of its size, reservations are recommended.
2 Government St. | Kittery | 207.451.9511
It took me a good three to four hours to digest the epic amount of food I consumed on my visit to Pepperland, but it was well worth every minute of discomfort—my only actual regret is that I arrived one day too early to sample this season’s whole pig. Everything is made from scratch here, from the buns on the pulled-pork sandwich to the house ketchup, which is unbelievably addictive. Add their selection of hard-to-find beers and you’ve got the perfect place to spend your entire winter working through the menu.
279 Main St. | South Berwick | 207.384.5535
South Berwick is a small rural town. So who would have guessed that it had so many great restaurants? Relish, formerly Margaux, is a modern and intimate dining spot serving a concise, mostly French-influenced menu complemented by a focused wine list. Cocktails are a standout here, featuring classic favorites such as the French 75 (actually made with VSOP cognac, the way it should be). Reservations are strongly recommended.
404 Main St. | South Berwick | 207.384.8249
AJ’s Wood Grill Pizza
Although the pizza is excellent, for some reason I can’t get over how good the Buffalo hot wings are as I smother them in blue cheese and wash them down with cold PBR. The ingredients are all standout here; they make their own sausage and smoke the chicken and bacon in-house. I was officially won over when informed that they use mortadella, one of my very favorite smoked sausages, in their Italian sandwiches.
68 Wallingford Sq. | Kittery | 207.439.9700
Anthony’s Food Shop
There are really several reasons to like Anthony’s: (1) it’s a gas station that serves excellent sandwiches, (2) its pizza is perfect for curing a hangover, and (3) the large selection of wines is perfect for causing a hangover. I think that they should add a dry cleaner, a bank, a car wash, and a pharmacy to truly eliminate the need to go anywhere else.
679 U.S. Route 1 | York | 207.363.2322
Green Leaves Chinese Restaurant
OK, I’ll admit it—I love frozen piña coladas. And the only restaurants I order them in are tiki bars (which I don’t make it to that often) and Chinese restaurants that devote at least an entire page of their menu to ridiculous cocktails. On this particular visit, I ignored the funny look I received after placing my drink order and proceeded to have some of the better Chinese American classics—such as crab rangoon, hot and sour soup, and General Tso’s chicken—that I’ve ever had in Maine.
647 U.S. Route 1 | York | 207.363.2025
Le Creuset Factory Store
I know it’s a little strange that I’ve included an outlet store, but if you’re into food then you should know about Le Creuset. This is the kind of cookware that you’re going to have for a very long time, and it comes in bright colors to complement my rapidly changing moods!
283 U.S. Route 1 | Kittery | 207.439.4811