We’re not big breakfast eaters at home, but until the three-month shutdown, we tried to go out for breakfast once every two weeks or so. Over the years, we had narrowed it down to two favorite places, but no restaurant was ever going to be in the money on our rotational morning trade.

The Arundel Diner at the corner of Campground Road and Route 1 in Arundel was just a small place, but it always felt like a trip back in time.

Jill, our waitress, always remembered our “the regular,” but would bounce it off us to see if there were any changes that morning. It was a traditional country menu. We liked the basics — eggs, hash browns, toast, and occasionally their really outstanding blueberry muffins or a small side of baked beans.

Arundel Diner, Route 1 and Campground Road, Arundel. Dan King photo

There was always a real mix of diners — retirees like us, dealers from the outdoors antiques market catty-corner across the road, and biker couples working their way over to Bentley’s for a day of York County riding. You’d catch snatches of conversation of the construction workers putting away protein before a hard day’s work.

There was always generational chit-chat, as relatives — once here, then for the winter elsewhere in the South or Southwest, and now back, caught up with the relatives who stayed home for the winter. Tables were always being pushed together to handle the communal ebb and flow of friends and neighbors. The restaurant’s background sound was always a harmony of Maine voices and hearty laughter.

The Arundel Diner served oversized meals, but at prices that hadn’t yet made it to the 21st century. When our nephew and his family visited us, we took them out one morning for breakfast. His two young girls, ages 6 and 8, had their sleepy eyes pop wide open when their pancakes, hanging over the rim of a large dinner plate, were delivered. They said it was the first time they ever had to eat a pancake out from the middle.

The Arundel Diner did not reopen this June.

A “For Lease” sign hangs in the window. I’m sure that if and when things improve, another dreamer will make a go of it, but it won’t be the same.

Tom Murphy is a former history teacher and state representative. He is a Kennebunk Landing resident and can be reached at [email protected]

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