The roommate and I headed to Duffy’s Tavern & Grill in Kennebunk on a recent afternoon before our Christmas tree hunting adventure.

Located near the newly rebuilt bridge crossing the Mousam River, Duffy’s is tucked in a large brick building that once housed the Kesslen Shoe Co. Its exposed brick walls give it that historic flair that’s popular today in repurposed buildings.

We walked through the front dining area to the bar, tucked in the far corner overlooking the river. We had our pick of seats, so we positioned ourselves with the perfect view of the flat-screen televisions just in time to see the kickoff of a recent Patriots football game.

Distracted by the game, we had a hard time focusing on the two-sided drink menu, let alone the four-page food menu. With that many offerings, there’s definitely something for everyone at Duffy’s, even those, who like me, are following a gluten-free diet.

Lured in by the promise of Champagne, I ordered a Mrs. Shirley Temple. It’s a twist on the suitable-for-underage-consumption classic I used to love ordering.

And it was a pretty, tasty twist. Served in a tall Champagne flute, the drink had the bright red coloring of a Shirley Temple and a cherry floating on top. The grenadine was a sweet complement to the dry Champagne, and it made the perfect drink for a Sunday afternoon.

I only regretted my decision when a friend who is a waitress there took a break to say hello. She said I should have ordered the Oatmeal Cookie because, well, it tastes just like an oatmeal cookie and that sounded really tasty.

As we waited for our lunch, the bar filled up and I noticed the owner, David “Duffy” Cluff, come out from the back to chat with regular customers and help the wait staff clear tables. Kennebunk native Cluff is well known not only for the restaurant that opened in 2008, but his 20-year career as a member of Kennebunk Fire & Rescue.

Part of Duffy’s claim to fame its affordability.

My bubbly beverage was $8, and other cocktails on the menu ranged from $7 to $10. Bottled brews start at $3 and range up to $4.75 for drafts. Wine by the glass is between $5 and $7. Even the Mocha Frost, a dessert drink my roommate had, was only $6.99 for frothy, chocolatey deliciousness. Food prices have a wide range, but most of the menu is priced under $20 and servings are hearty.

After I indulged in a cheeseburger, which was great on homemade gluten-free bread, I contemplated ordering that Oatmeal Cookie drink, but decided I couldn’t be trusted to pick out the perfect pine with more than one cocktail.

Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.

 

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