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

(Continued from page 2)

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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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Honorable Mention: Norm's, Portland

BEST BAGEL

Mister Bagel

Various locations

misterbagel.com

Started in Portland in 1977 by transplanted New Yorkers Rick and Gail Hartglass, Mister Bagel now has locations throughout southern Maine, so it's never too hard to find one.

Second Place: Scratch Baking Co., South Portland

Honorable Mention: The Works Bakery Cafe, Portland 

BEST HOT DOG

Chicago Dogs

285 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough

510-6363; www.chicagodogsofmaine.com

The signature "Chicago Dog" at this place has tomato, pickle, mustard, bright green relish, peppers and celery salt among its ingredients. There are lots of other dog options as well.

Second Place: Mark's Hot Dogs, Portland

Honorable Mention: Wasses, Rockland and Belfast 

BEST BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH

Garofalo's Restaurant at The Higgins Beach Inn

34 Ocean Ave., Scarborough

883-6684; higginsbeachinn.com

Brunch on the beach -- what could be better? Breakfast ranges from the McHiggins Egg Sandwich to a Lobster Benedict and Eggs Chesterfield (poached eggs on English muffin with smoked salmon and dilled hollandaise sauce).

Second Place: Bintliff's, Portland and Ogunquit

Honorable Mention: Becky's Diner, Portland 

BEST BAR

Novare Res Bier Cafe

4 Canal Plaza, Portland

761-2437; ovareresbiercafe.com

This is a beer aficionado's dream, with 25 rotating taps, two hand pumps and hundreds of kinds of bottled beer. It's a little tricky to find: go down lower Exchange Street and look for the alley at the Key Bank sign.

Second Place: The Great Lost Bear, Portland

Honorable Mention (TIE): -- Ri Ra, Portland, and Gritty McDuff's, Portland, Freeport and Auburn 

BEST SPORTS BAR

Rivalries Sports Pub and Grill

10 Cotton St., Portland

774-6044; rivalriesportland.com

This place has a great location for a sports bar -- just a one-minute walk to the Cumberland County Civic Center. It also has 30 HD big-screen TVs.

Second Place: Binga's Stadium, Portland

Honorable Mention: Fore Play, Portland 

BEST HAPPY HOUR

DiMillo's

25 Long Wharf, Portland

772-2216; dimillos.com

A full bar, with a wide selection of beer, wine and cocktails. Add a floating restaurant on the waterfront, and you've got yourself all sorts of happiness.

Second Place: Porthole, Portland

Honorable Mention: Margaritas, Portland, Auburn, Augusta and Orono

BEST BREW PUB

Gritty McDuff's

396 Fore St., Portland (Freeport and Auburn locations as well)

772-2739; grittys.com

This brew pub has been making fine beer since 1988, when most of us had never heard the term "brew pub." Gritty's is also known for its "mug club," where members get their own personal mug for a membership fee.

Second Place: Sebago Brewing Company, various locations

Honorable Mention: Sea Dog Brewing Company, South Portland, Bangor and Topsham 

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE -- INDOOR

State Theatre

609 Congress St., Portland

956-6000; statetheatreportland.com

This 1929 movie palace had been shuttered for more than four years before re-opening last October. Since then, the place has been booking a full schedule of top-name acts, from Elvis Costello and The Pixies to Lily Tomlin and Buddy Guy.

Second Place: Merrill Auditorium, Portland

Honorable Mention: Port City Music Hall, Portland 

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE -- OUTDOOR

L.L. Bean Discovery Park

95 Main St., Freeport

(877) 755-2326; llbean.com/shop/retailStores/summerInThePark

L.L. Bean hosts a great concert series every summer in Discovery Park, and it's free! Rickie Lee Jones and America are among the acts still set to perform this summer.

Second Place: Maine State Pier, Portland

Honorable Mention: Monument Square, Portland 

BEST KARAOKE/OPEN MIC -- TIE

Old Port Tavern

11 Moulton St., Portland

774-0444; oldporttavern.com

(Continued on page 4)

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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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