Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sometimes you just don't want to sit down for lunch. Who needs waiters? Or air conditioning? Or silverware?
Sometimes you just get a craving for the kind of food you can walk with, like a hot dog, a wrap, a slice of pizza or ... a crepe?
We've rounded up an even dozen spots where you can grab and go on the street, in the park or at the beach. And if you bite into that dog as you stroll along and mustard plops right on your dress shirt, who cares? You've got your street eats, and life is good.
Mark's Hot Dogs, Tommy's Park
Mark Gatti is a Portland institution. He's been selling hot dogs, sausages, chips and drinks from his cart for nearly 30 years - pretty much year-round. Locals flock to Mark's for the quick service, great on-the-go food and to chat with the owner/cook.
Perry's Sidewalk Cafe, Commercial Street
This cart has been "almost famous" since 1994 and it's pretty clear the owner loves serving the passersby on the waterfront. He often has a camera set up to take a photo of you at the stand, which is tricked out with American flags and red, white and blue bags, coolers and umbrella. Expect some entertainment with your grilled dogs.
Jen's Hot Dogs, Commercial Street
For the main course, grab a grilled dog to go from Jen's. And to wash it down? The freshest lemonade in the city. You order it, they squeeze it, right in front of you.
Crepe Factory, Commercial Street
Whether you're looking for a sweet treat or a savory lunch you'll find it here. Choose from cheese ($3.75) or smoked salmon ($8), Maine maple syrup ($4.25) or banana and strawberry Nutella ($6.75). Crepes may seem a little off the beaten path for street fare, but customers seem to be responding.
Eric's Pizza Express, Commercial Street
The pizza by the slice (cheese and pepperoni) and the sandwiches come from Anthony's Italian Kitchen but they're served up by Eric Hughes, now in his third year running the cart near Casco Bay Lines. If you're thirsty, you'll find the cheapest water in town here - just $1.
Bite Into Maine, Fort Williams Park
The lobster rolls at this newish cart have already made a few "best of" lists. It's as close to gourmet food as you can get on the go, including sides like corn and blueberry salad and Aroostook County potato salad, desserts like Smiling Hill Farm ice cream and Maine Root sodas to quench your thirst. And then there's the gorgeous view ...
Gorgeous Gelato, Fort Williams Park
Gelato has definitely gained ground on ice cream in greater Portland and the Gorgeous flavors are made fresh by Mariagrazia Zanardi and Donato Giovine, who moved from Milan to Maine to open shop in Portland's Old Port. Cool, creamy and delish.
Mainely Burgers, Scarborough Beach
Gourmet meets beef in this food truck with burger toppings that include macaroni and cheese, maple mayo, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and apple slices. Try "The Coop," a burger topped with bacon, a fried egg, hot chili sauce, cheddar, lettuce and tomato. Owners Jack Barber and Ben Berman also serve hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, sliders, salads, French fries and onion rings.
Danny's Hot Dogs, Maine Street Mall
If you've driven through Brunswick in the past 35 years you've seen Danny's. The steamed hot dogs at this stand are so good there has been little reason to add much to the menu but you can also get a burger or steak and cheese. Locals continue to show up at Danny's for the quick, hot food and for the great lunchtime conversation.
Little Red Wagon, Maine Street Mall
The newest addition to the food options in the park on busy Maine Street opened this year with hot and cold subs, fries and onion rings.
Lola's Taqueria, Maine Street Mall
Owned by Jonathan Holmes, Lola's is in its third season serving up California-style burritos and tacos. Holmes focuses on fresh ingredients and gets food out of the van fast and hot. Make a meal of his black beans or Mexican rice for just $2.
Wrappers, Maine Street Mall
Wrappers has been around for 18 years and is currently being run by David Brown. As the name implies, it specializes in wraps: chicken Caesar, veggie, buffalo chicken and more. Also get a scoop or two of Round Top ice cream for dessert.
Shannon Bryan, content producer for MaineToday Media, likes exploring Maine - from mattress races to cardboard boats, she's into the weird stuff.
Karen Beaudoin, online editor for MaineToday Media, likes knowing the important things - like who's just opened their deck for a sunny afternoon beer and what Portland's eclectic set of street performers are up to.