Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Willard Scoops in South Portland has been having a series of "surprise openings" to celebrate the unusually warm weather we've had in March.
Today, the ice cream shop will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. in honor of President Obama's visit to the hood. It won't open full time for the season until mid-April.
This welcome announcement brings up some delicious feelings of anticipation. April 1 marks not only opening day for baseball season, it's also the time that Maine ice cream stands and lobster shacks start opening up again. It's a great time to get out there and enjoy a lobster roll or creamy cone before the tourists start to descend on the state.
I've put together this quick round-up of places that are already open, or just about to open, in southern Maine. Enjoy!
BITE INTO MAINE, the food truck at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, will open this Sunday, April 1, serving a menu that includes curry lobster rolls, pulled pork with Maine maple chipotle, and whoopie pies. Its hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
RED'S EATS in Wiscasset, aka lobster roll nirvana, will open April 16. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
THE LOBSTER SHACK in Cape Elizabeth opened for the season on March 24. Hours 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sure, it's still kind of chilly to sit outside, but you can still enjoy that magnificent view inside while you eat one of their lobster rolls. Here's what they look like:
BARNACLE BILLY'S in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, plans to open at 11 a.m. April 6.
BAYLEY'S LOBSTER POUND at Pine Point in Scarborough opened March 16. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CAPE PIER CHOWDER HOUSE, 79 Pier Rd. in Cape Porpoise, just opened today! Their hours are limited for now: 11 a.m. to close Friday through Monday, depending on the weather. "Close" is usually around 7 p.m. The owner told me she will close early if the weather is nasty, but will stay open if you are coming from a distance and call ahead and ask. (Isn't that just Maine for you?) The restaurant will be open daily beginning May 1.
And for dessert, there's ice cream!
MAINELY CUSTARD one Route 1 in Freeport says it's shooting to open the second week in April. If you haven't tried this place yet, get to it before the lines start forming.
LIB'S DAIRY TREATS, a soft serve place at 32 Auburn St. in Portland (it's out Washington Ave, across from the Northgate Shopping Plaza) is already open. Flavors available right not are vanilla, chocolate, vanilla & chocolate swirl, and coffee. They also have TONS of toppings and coatings for you to dress up your cone.
GARSIDE'S ICE CREAM, 295 Ferry Rd. in Saco, is "shooting to open mid-April." To tide you over, here's a look at a Garside's cone with pistachio and black raspberry ice cream:
AGGIE'S, 106 Agamenticus Rd in South Berwick, has more than 100 flavors, and if you don't see what you like, they will make it for you. How's that for service? They're opening at noon April 7.
BEAL'S ICE CREAM in the Old Port opened March 23. The Scarborough, South Portland and Gorham locations are also already open.
HODGMAN'S FROZEN CUSTARD in New Gloucester and KETTLE COVE CREAMERY & CAFE in Cape Elizabeth won't open until Mother's Day.
– Meredith Goad
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.