January 3, 2012

Readers' Choice

Mainers pick favorites in more categories than ever in our annual poll.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Let the fun begin.

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Nemo Burian hoists a freshly baked potato, bacon and scallion pizza at Otto Pizza on Congress Street in Portland, the Readers Choice winner for best pizza.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Stylist Jessica Parzych, right, takes care of Krista Wood of South Portland at Head Games Salon for Hair & Body in Portland, the readers favorite for best hair and nail salon.

Additional Photos Below

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Not that your summer hasn't been fun already. But your Maine fun quotient is about to go way up, now that the results of our expanded Readers' Choice poll are in.

The 25th annual edition of the poll asked people to pick their favorites in 50 wide-ranging categories pertaining to fun, food and frolic in Maine: From ice cream, coffee shops, fried clams and lobster rolls, to amusement parks, beaches, record stores and historic sites.

People from all over Maine responded, filling out ballots in print and online. We counted the votes and compiled the results, listing the top three vote-getters in each category.

These results can serve as a great resource for summer fun. It's basically a summer guide written by Mainers, a reference for advice on what to do and where to go.

And many of the categories -- such as best date night restaurant, best pizza or best brew pub -- can provide you with helpful information all year long.

The results might steer you to places you've never thought about before. The winner for best ice cream, for instance, was The Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick. Maybe you've never thought about gelato when looking for an ice cream fix. But maybe you should.

Or maybe you didn't know you could get a quick slice of pizza from a cart down by the Maine State Pier in Portland. But now that Eric's Pizza Express has won the best food cart category, you know where to go.

Or perhaps you didn't know there were restaurants that specialized in hot dogs around here. But now you know, because Chicago Dogs in Scarborough won for best hot dog.

To get the full list of results, including contact information for each winner, turn to Page C8.

And have fun.

2011 READERS' CHOICE POLL RESULTS 

BEST TAKE-OUT RESTAURANT

Portland Pie Co.

51 York St., Portland (Scarborough and Westbrook locations as well)

772-1231; portlandpie.com

There's something about the crust at Portland Pie Co. that makes it the perfect take-out pizza. It just doesn't get soggy. Stays nice and firm. Try the beer crust if you dare.

Second Place: Buttered Biscuit, South Portland

Honorable Mention (TIE): -- Amato's, various locations; Silly's, Portland 

BEST DINE-IN RESTAURANT

Fore Street

288 Fore St., Portland

775-2717; forestreet.biz

For the past 15 years, Fore Street has been gaining national accolades and lots of customers for its cuisine and emphasis on local foods. The wood-burning oven visible from the tables and the funky brick decor are attractions as well.

Second Place: Portland Pie Co., Portland, Scarborough and Westbrook

Honorable Mention: Silly's, Portland 

BEST DATE NIGHT RESTAURANT

Fore Street

288 Fore St., Portland

775-2717; forestreet.biz

Read the description above. Plus, you can take a short walk to the waterfront after dinner for a romantic moonlight stroll.

Second Place: DiMillo's, Portland

Honorable Mention: Five Fifty-Five, Portland 

BEST OUTDOOR DINING

The Lobster Shack at Two Lights

225 Two Lights Road, Cape Elizabeth

799-1677; lobstershacktwolights.com

You sit at a picnic table just feet from some of the most picturesque rocky shoreline in the whole state. One word of caution about the seagulls -- never, ever, leave your food unattended.

Second Place: Silly's, Portland

Honorable Mention: Flatbread, Portland 

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP

The Gelato Fiasco

74 Maine St., Brunswick

607-4002; gelatofiasco.com

A gelato place wins best ice cream? It makes sense, though, because it tastes like ice cream and cools like ice cream. If you've never tried it, Gelato Fiasco also sells its sweet treats at many local stores, including many Hannaford supermarkets.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Bayside Bowl in Portland is the Readers Choice winner for best bowling alley. It also has a bar, pub food and a performance space.

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The Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth wins the most votes from readers for the best lobster roll and for best outdoor dining.

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Novare Res Bier Cafe in Portland is the top vote-getter for best bar.

Staff file photo

20110430_DriveIn
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University of Southern Maine students Ry Russell, left, Tyler Wells and Patric Brophy run the Saco Drive-In, awinner with readers.

Staff file photo

  


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