BETHEL — When you meet Alpine skiers excited about their end-of-day meal, you know wherever they’re going is going to be good. And the tip from many coming off the slopes at Sunday River this winter was Butcher Burger.

It’s located at the end of Main Street next to the railroad tracks – or, if you’re coming from Portland, it greets you as you roll into town.

The original Butcher Burger opened in Old Orchard Beach in 2014, featuring Maine craft beer and seafood, as well as juicy burgers. The second location opened in Bethel in the fall of 2018 with the same focus on gourmet burgers, Maine fish and local breweries. In fact, it only carries Maine beer. Food at both locations is made from scratch.

And those burgers. The Butcher Burger cheeseburger reminded me of the first time I had a specialty burger in a restaurant as a kid – a creation slathered with some crazy-good sauce, fresh vegetables, pickles and more juicy flavor than I thought burgers off the grill could have.

Butcher Burger delivers a similar “oh wow” experience.

There are several creative offerings on the menu. After a planned fishing trip in the area next fall, I will try the Surf and Turf burger, just to say I did. It’s got the house patty, plus Maine lobster, lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayo ($19). Who is not intrigued by that combination?


Another tempting option is the Dirty Bird, with crispy chicken, barbecue sauce, lettuce, bacon, jalapenos and cheese sauce ($13).

During a recent Nordic ski trip, my husband and I stuck with the basics. The cheeseburger was a treat ($11), with the house patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheddar and house block sauce – a creamy, slightly spicy ketchup-mayo blend that complements the burger nicely without being overpowering. All house patties are made with a blend of beef and bacon, which I worried would cause heartburn, but it did not. Just pure juice.

It’s worth adding that this takeaway meal traveled 30 minutes back to a ski house before being consumed and enjoyed. Imagine how good it would be post-pandemic, eaten in-house. Ditto on the fries, which are made from Maine potatoes.

Fish tacos from Butcher Burger in Bethel are ample. Deirdre Fleming photo

As a shameless spud-eating fiend, french fries for me have to be really special to draw praise. The sea-salt fries, which are hand-cut and triple cooked, were that ($5 for a half pound, $8 for a pound). They come in salt-and-vinegar flavor, as well, and are served with block sauce.

We also tried the fish tacos ($15), because we always do. The portion was generous, with three corn tortillas filled with crispy haddock, citrus slaw, pico de gallo, avocado crema and spicy mayo. Neither my husband nor I are fans of breaded or coated fish, but the haddock was ample, the veggies tasted fresh, and the tortillas were loaded. We cleaned our plates.

A section called For the Wee Ones (kids age 10 and under) also  had several great choices, like mac-and-cheese nuggets and fish and chips. All are $8 and come with a juice box and a choice of fries or apple slices.

Given all the choices on the menu, it’s no wonder skier reports indicate Butcher Burger has been a take-out favorite in town this winter.

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