The Brunswick Diner has been tucked under the trees along Pleasant Street since the end of World War II. My dad, who graduated from Bowdoin College in 1950, told stories about coming here with his frat buddies after all-nighters for much-needed coffee and sustenance.

Since I was a kid, I remember stopping here during our summer trips to Maine. And now that I live in Maine, the Brunswick Diner is still the place I take many of my out-of-state visitors.

The Brunswick Diner – formally known as the New Brunswick Diner – remains the most authentic old-time diner in the state, in style and decor as well as the menu.

Many restaurants up and down the coast call themselves diners, but the Brunswick Diner is a true Worcester dining car. The car itself began its restaurant life in Norway, Maine, and was trucked down to Brunswick in 1946. Jane Davis of Bath has owned it for almost 15 years. In October, she announced her intention to sell the business, and hopes to find a buyer who will keep it running.

Her reason for selling is not financial. The diner does great business still. She has begun another business more to her calling, and does not have the time required to do justice to the diner and its day-to-day needs.

Let’s get back to the food. The diner is known for its friendly and generally fast service, hearty food and reasonable prices.

It’s a tiny place, with just a few booths along one wall and stools at the counter. It’s cramped, and maybe a tad uncomfortable and inconvenient. The front steps are awkward if you’re not nimble on your feet, and the diner accepts only cash.

But its charm abounds. There is nothing pretend about this place. It hasn’t been modernized in a long time, and it makes no apologies for its condition and circumstance. It is what it is. Accept it or move on.

There are jukeboxes at each table programmed with songs from the ’50s and ’60s. The menu is what you would expect: Burgers and fries, soups and chowders, comfort food in general.

The lobster rolls are legendary. A few weeks before she died and while she still had a decent appetite, my mom requested a lobster roll with fries from the diner. I gladly obliged, and bought one for myself as well. It was the last great meal we shared together.

But this write-up is not about the lobster rolls. Many folks have told that story over the years. I am here to write about breakfast.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the diner is open 24 hours. I stopped in late after a Friday-night concert in Portland. I hadn’t eaten dinner, and I wanted to decent meal before going home.

How does this sound for late-night munchies — fried eggs over easy, home fries and wheat toast, with a side of corned-beef hash? On the menu, it’s known as the Sinatra ($7.49), and it is well named for its class and snazz.

Cooked to perfection, the eggs yolks were runny enough to dip my toast but still cooked through. The hash browns were brittle but not greasy. The corned-beef hash was grilled just long enough to be slightly crispy. My coffee was fresh.

I could not have asked for a better breakfast.

It’s sad to think the diner will be going through another transition. No doubt, the next owner will spruce things up a bit, which is probably OK. Davis freely admits the diner is in need of some TLC. Let’s just hope the character of this place doesn’t change too much.

Or the menu.

The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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