In the span of a few years, as the Foreside neighborhood has come into its own, Kittery has evolved from a bastion of traditional lobster pounds and fried seafood joints into one of New England’s most diverse and happening food towns. There’s terrific Indian food at Tulsi (20 Walker St., tel. 207/451-9511) and outstanding sandwiches, breads, and pastries at the Beach Pea Baking Co. (53 State Rd., tel. 207/439-3555)—eat at one of the tables outside or on the front porch, if you can find an open one. If you want to go the traditional Down Easter route, Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier (16 Chauncey Creek Rd., tel. 207/439-1030] is the real deal, with lobsters fresh off the boat, brightly painted picnic tables, and a raw bar for clams and oysters. BYOB.
Tap Into the Coast
In 2011, a rewrite of Maine state law allowed the brewers of Maine’s nascent craft beer scene to operate tasting rooms very much like bars, with unlimited pours of up to a pint. It’s led to a craft-beer explosion in the Pine Tree State, and no region outside of Portland has benefited from the proliferation of tap rooms as much as the southern coast. A few of the standouts include Kittery’s Tributary Brewing Co. (tel. 207/351-8162), founded by venerable master brewer Tod Mott. The former post office full of picnic tables takes on a party vibe on the weekends—try the Mott the Lesser Russian Imperial Stout, a legendary brew among beer geeks, based on a recipe Mott cooked up in a previous gig. The tap room at York’s SoMe Brewing Company (tel. 207/703-0093) has a sports bar feel, with a flat-screen usually tuned in to some New England team. The best pours at Hidden Cove Brewing Company (tel. 207/646-0228) in Wells are the crisp, super quaffable, lower-alcohol brews like Castoff Session IPA and the Summer Ale with lemon peel and honey. Aging barrels line a no-frills tap room that feels like a basement rec room you hung out in as a teenager.
York Village harbors Fazio’s, 38 Woodbridge Rd. (turn just before the town library; tel. 207/363-7019), a good Italian family restaurant with atmosphere. Directly on Long Sands in York Beach, Sun & Surf (tel. 207/363-2961) has a takeout window proffering fried seafood and ice cream—but also a dining room with standout ocean views and an increasingly sophisticated menu that now incorporates steaks, salads, pastas, tuna, and lamb. For a quick bite, I like the Long Sands General Store (tel. 206/363-5383), near the northern end of Long Sands beach, with pizzas, sandwiches, and other essential picnicking supplies.
Jam Sessions in York
Need a souvenir but too weak with hunger to shop another minute? At Stonewall Kitchen’s flagship store, on Stonewall Lane (tel. 207/351-2712)—just behind the huge tourist information complex at the corner of Route 1 and the access road leading to and from I-95 and the Maine Turnpike—you can sample from among the company’s delicious jams and spreads before tucking into a soup-and-sandwich special from the on-site deli. Then, hunger and birthday lists both satisfied in one fell swoop, keep browsing through a good selection of handy kitchen accessories: knives, lobster bibs, graters, and the like. Staff is friendly and helpful. It’s open daily until 8pm; the cafe, though, closes at 3pm.
One thing you’ll notice as you traverse the Maine coast is a preponderance of diners.
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