Each month Joe Ricchio gives local insight into his favorite places to eat and drink. He recommends that you pace yourself as you Eat Maine.
Get the fried-haddock sandwich and a side of onion rings. That’s all I need to say. I honestly can’t tell you what else was on the menu because I simply can’t imagine ordering anything but the giant piece of crispy, flaky haddock wedged between two comparatively tiny buns. I guess I could mention that many people find dining on the water pleasing, but all I have to say is get the fish burger. And the onion rings.
145 Franks Flat | Penobscot 207.326.4197
Blue Hill Wine Shop
Imagine a gorgeous Maine farmhouse that happens to be home to one of the hands-down best wine shops in the state, and you’ll be imagining the Blue Hill Wine Shop. A careful and well- considered selection, including many hard-to-find bottles, has made shop owner Max Treitler an invaluable resource for loyal locals and those who stop in to stock the cellars of their summer homes.
123 Main St. | Blue Hill 207.374.2161
From the outside, it might quite possibly be the quaintest “cave” in the world. Things get a hell of a lot more serious when you step inside—the copious selection of artisanal cheese and knowledgeable, enthusiastic service announces that you’ve stumbled upon a rare find. Excellent Maine chocolatiers, such as Isle au Haut’s Black Dinah, are prominently featured here as well.
123 Reach Rd. | Brooklin 207.359.8008
Tinder Hearth Wood-Fired Bread
This is mind-numbingly good bread, and it’s available at the Tinder Hearth bakery on Tuesdays and Fridays and throughout the week at select local retailers. They also host a weekly open mic, where you can perform your brilliantly composed masterwork about how horrible your life would be without the enlivening, healthful addition of their delightful croissants.
1452 Coastal Rd. | Brooksville 207.326.9266
Buck's Harbor Market
In a land where everything seems to be located at least an hour away from everything else, it’s comforting to know you can satisfy all of your needs (within reason) under one roof. Buck’s broad collection of local produce and specialty meats are offered alongside a beer and wine compilation designed to keep one buzzing happily through even the roughest Maine winter.
6 Cornfield Rd. | Brooksville 207.326.8683
Four Season Farm Stand
Owner/operators Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch are two of the most respected figures in the modern farming world, and yet they continue to operate this classic farm stand. A dizzying array of vegetables, fruits, and flowers awaits you here, all of which I like to drape like a spilling cornucopia about my generously sized self while impersonating Gaia, goddess of the Earth.
609 Weir Cove Rd. | Harborside
The Brooklin Inn Irish Pub
When I walked into what appears to be a firewood shed with a small sign reading “pub,” I certainly wasn’t expecting a cozy little bar in which I could enjoy a pint of Guinness while shoveling down plates of oysters Rockefeller. A local favorite, the Brooklin Inn keeps it real by sourcing ingredients from surrounding farms for their pub-style menu.
22 Reach Rd. | Brooklin | 207.359.2777
David's Folly Farm Stand
With access to so many outstanding farm stands, it's no wonder that many locals prefer to host dinner at home rather than go out. One of the hallmarks of the Blue Hill community is its awareness of where food comes from. David's Folly not only features a diverse crop of vegetables, but it hosts outstanding farm dinners in season.
1390 Coastal Rd. | Brooksville | 207.326. 4445
Were I in the market for the “quintessential Maine bed-and- breakfast experience with the missus,” this would be my go-to destination. I would be infinitely delighted by their fresh, seasonal menu, and I would snap many pictures of their mismatched antique china for my vacation scrapbook. Each night, after dinner, there would be long, dreamy walks involving extended hand holding, and a vow-renewing interlude during which I present the old lady with a glittering stone from Jared: The Galleria of Jewelry.
26 Main St. | Castine | 207.326.8616
El El Frijoles
Billing itself as “Sargentville’s best (actually, only) choice for delicious Mexican food,” El El Frijoles is the preferred venue for al-fresco debauchery among the locals. If you have to bring the kids, they serve up a PB&J quesadilla that will keep them suitably satiated and sticky while mommy and daddy enjoy multiple well-deserved rounds of frosty cold margaritas.
41 Caterpillar Hill Rd. | Sargentville 207.359.2486
After a long day of eating in fish shacks and hanging out on farms, you’ll be ready to indulge in an evening of decadence at Blue Hill’s renowned upscale restaurant. Drain bottle after bottle from big-name winemakers such as Kistler while enjoying cuisine prepared with ingredients procured only a short moped ride away. Missing out on Arborvine, as many people will tell you, would be a “serious omission.”
Main St., Tenney Hill | Blue Hill 207.374.2119