June 14, 2012

2012 Audience Readers' Poll: The Winners

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20120530_Poll
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Best Place for Family Entertainment: International Cryptozoology Museum

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Best Take-Out Restaurant: The Buttered Biscuit

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Second place: Lola's Taqueria, Brunswick

Honorable mention: Mark's Hot Dogs, Portland 

BEST PIZZA

Otto

576 Congress St. and 225 Congress St., Portland

773-7099; 358-7870; ottoportland.com

Otto's famed mashed potato, bacon and scallion pie earned the pizzeria lots of national attention and some food TV spots last year. But it's not just the creative toppings that make Otto great -- it's the chewy crust and fresh tomato flavor that you would imagine your grandmother's pizza to have. If your grandmother made pizza, and was Italian, that is.

Second place (tie): Flatbread Company, Portland

Portland Pie Co., Portland, Scarborough and Westbrook 

BEST FRIED CLAMS

Ken's Place

207 Pine Point Road, Scarborough

883-6611; facebook.com/KensPlace1927

Most southern Mainers have their favorite Pine Point seafood place. This year, Ken's wins the clam category. Come to think of it, the building kind of looks like a clam box with the flaps pulled down. Coincidence?

Second place: Susan's Fish-N-Chips, Portland

Honorable mention: The Clambake, Scarborough 

BEST LOBSTER ROLL (TIE)

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

225 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth

799-1677; lobstershacktwolights.com

Red's Eats

41 Water Street, Wiscasset

882-6128; on.fb.me/KwEyMw

Again, the Lobster Shack is worth the trip for the surf and view alone. But the lobster roll is great, sporting simple fresh chunks of meat with a dollop of mayo and a pickle. You can get drawn butter if you ask for it.

Second place: Bite Into Maine, Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth 

BEST BARBECUE

Buck's Naked BBQ

568 Route 1, Freeport and 4 Turning Leaf Drive, Windham

865-0600; 893-0600; bucksnaked-bbq.com

Buck's has three kinds of ribs -- baby back, St. Louis or Wolfe's Neck -- plus barbecue staples such as pulled pork, pit-roasted chicken and brisket. There's live music on the weekends.

Second place: Famous Dave's, Scarborough

Honorable mention: Norm's, Portland 

BEST HOT DOG

Chicago Dogs

285 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough

510-6363; chicagodogsofmaine.com

This hot dog restaurant serves up its signature all-beef Chicago dog, topped with tomatoes, pickles, onions, mustard, homemade green relish, peppers and celery salt. It's also got dogs topped with cheese, chili or kraut, as well as Ruben dogs, corn dogs -- even a non-meat soy dog.

Second place: Flo's, York

Honorable mention: Rapid Ray's, Saco 

BEST BAGEL

Mister Bagel

Various locations

misterbagel.com

These bagel shops were started in Portland in 1977 by transplanted New Yorkers Rick and Gail Hartglass. So maybe after 35 years, we can say bagels are a Maine food.

Second place: Scratch Baking Co., South Portland

Honorable mention: Dunkin' Donuts, various locations 

BEST BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH

Bintliff's American Cafe

98 Portland St., Portland

774-0005; bintliffscafe.com

Bintliff's also has a restaurant in Ogunguit serving brunch, but the Portland location has been brunch central for more than 20 years. When a place has a section on its menu titled "Benedicts," you know it's serious about brunch. The Bistro Steak Benedict sounds particularly brunchy.

Second place (tie): Becky's Diner, Portland

Hot Suppa!, Portland 

BEST BAR

Novare Res Bier Cafe

4 Canal Plaza, Portland

761-2437; novareresbiercafe.com

For people looking for new and different beer experiences, head over to Novare Res off lower Exchange Street. Here's a sample of some of its offerings: Youngs Chocolate Stout; Wurzburger Pilsner; Evil Twin Soft Dookie; Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, and North Coast Red Seal Pale Ale.

Second place: Gritty McDuff's, Portland, Freeport and Auburn

Honorable mention: Brian Boru, Portland  

BEST LOCAL BREWERY

Shipyard Brewing Company

86 Newbury St., Portland

761-0807; shipyard.com

Shipyard seems to be always trying something new. In the past few months, it put out its new Applehead Ale as well as the new Monkey Fist IPA. Plus, it gives free tours of its Old Port brewery.

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Best Live Music Venue: State Theatre

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Best Dine-In Restaurant: Fore Street

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Best Outdoor Dining, Best Lobster Roll: The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

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Best Live Theater: Portland Stage

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Best Bowling Alley: Bayside Bowl

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