July 1, 2012

Dine Out Maine: Maine Diner does down-home and high-end superbly

By Shonna Milliken Humphrey

(Continued from page 1)

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The Maine Diner, known for its Lobster Pie and Lobster Mac and Cheese, also serves hash, boiled dinner and much more.

Jill Brady / Staff Photographer

DINING REVIEW

THE MAINE DINER, 2265 Post Road (Route 1), Wells. 646-4441; mainediner.com

★★★★1/2

HOURS: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

BAR: No, but a limited selection of wine and beer

CREDIT CARDS: All major

PRICE RANGE: $2.50 to $22.50, excluding market-priced seafood items. Most typical diner fare is $5.95 to $9.95

VEGETARIAN: Yes

GLUTEN-FREE: Yes

KIDS: Welcome; separate children's menu

RESERVATIONS: No, and expect a wait during peak dining times. The Maine Diner makes this process easy with a pager to hold and a gift shop to peruse.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

BOTTOM LINE: The Maine Diner is a family-run celebration of good food and community. While offering a range of diner favorites, the diner also combines higher-end ingredients with a down-home sensibility. It's great food, served by happy staff.

Ratings follow this scale and take into consideration food, atmosphere, service and value: ★Poor  ★★Fair  ★★★Good ★★★★Excellent ★★★★★Extraordinary. The Maine Sunday Telegram visits an establishment twice if the first dining experience was unsatisfactory. The reviewer dines anonymously.

If seafood is off-limits, the Pork Roast Dinner (Sunday, $10.95) special provides three thick slices of lean and tender roasted pork and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy -- all homemade, delicious and massively portioned. If you prefer a traditional diner favorite, the Maine Diner kitchen serves up a burger with 6 ounces of char-grilled sirloin for $5.95. For a dollar extra, top the burger with homemade chili -- medium spicy, maximum tasty.

Breakfast fans need not feel slighted, as the Maine Diner menu takes care to offer new twists on old standards. Raise a toast to the late Myles Henry with the Myles Henry Down East Benedict ($8.95) and enjoy two poached eggs on two lightly fried, crisp codfish cakes covered with hollandaise sauce. Served with a substantial portion of hearty home fries, the menu notes this as one of Myles' favorite creations.

For those worried about the crowds because the establishment serves more than 300,000 people each year, the Maine Diner has perfected the waiting process. Tables are first come, first served, but the staff issues you a pager and points you in the direction of the gift shop filled with all manner of trinkets and souvenirs. On a nice day in Maine, with the promise of hearty food, the wait is no problem at all. The service, too, rivals many high-end establishments -- drinks are replenished, special orders accommodated, food arrives quickly -- all from smiling staff who seem to honestly enjoy the process.

 

Shonna Milliken Humphrey is a Maine freelance writer and author of the novel "Show Me Good Land."

 

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