KITTERY — During the best of times, it’s challenging to find a decent place for dinner on a Monday night in November.

During the Great Quit, that prospect appeared even dimmer. But on the first Monday after the end of daylight saving time, on an evening that felt darker than it actually was, the Corner Pub in Kittery offered a little bit of light, and a fine meal. The Corner Pub in Kittery’s Wallingford Square was not only open, it was thriving.

I ordered to go, mostly because the change in time messed with my sleep and my schedule and drew me more to the comforts of home than an uncertain atmosphere of a pub I had never frequented. I instantly regretted that decision.

As I approached the pub on foot from a block away, I noted how dark and quiet the downtown area was, but then I heard festive voices rising in the distance. When I got closer, I was drawn to the glowing light of the Corner Pub’s patio illuminated with a string of lights. Groups of people stood around in clusters, socializing with smokes and beers.

The Corner Pub’s smash burger, with bacon and steak fries. Photo by Bob Keyes

I stepped inside to a chorus of good cheer. By no means was the pub full, but it was busy and buzzing. There were several people seated at the bar and a couple of groups at the table. There were TVs with sports, a pool table that was empty at the moment, and a lot of laughter and animated conversations. My first impression was that I had walked into a neighborhood bar where friends gathered, and my immediate hope was that my order was not ready so I could sit for a beer.

But alas, my meal was ready to go, just as I was told it would be, so I paid my bill and made my way home along Route 236.

I ordered the smash burger, which is served on a potato roll with lettuce, onion and tomato, and added American cheese and bacon ($12.50). Fries were another $3. My wife opted for the hummus pita, with house-made hummus, spinach and veggies in a pita wrap ($10). Her sandwich was supposed to come with chips, but we discovered they were missing when we unpacked the meals at home.

The hummus pita from the Corner Pub in Kittery. Photo by Bob Keyes

I loved my burger. It was cooked medium and still juicy, the cheese was gooey and the bacon crisp. It had the right complement of onions and lettuce, and one thin tomato slice – just as I like it. The potato bun held it all together. The steak fries were crisp and seasoned nicely.

The hummus pita was, in my wife’s estimation, “boring” – and I must admit, it looked kind of boring with more pita than hummus and a small array of veggies.

That’s why I ordered a burger.

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