Since moving to Maine almost six years ago, I've spent a lot of time exploring the state and photographing it. Because my favorite times to photograph are at sunrise and sunset, I often find myself hungry after an outing. Sometimes before, like when sunset is at around 8:30pm in the summer! I'm often on the lookout for a good place to grab a bite when I'm on my way home from sunrise, or on my way to sunset or on my way home if sunset is earlier. Often, people who know me and are visiting Maine for the first time will ask me where I recommend to eat. I don't pretend to be very high brow when it comes to dining, but here are the places I really like to stop after an outing with my camera, especially when I'm with my wife, or with friends like Kristen Wilkinson or Andy Crawford. This list is in no particular order.
My Top 5 Maine Dining Spots After Photographing
Becky's Diner, Portland, Maine
Becky's Diner has been serving the working waterfront of Portland, Maine for over 30 years. When I first moved to Maine, I'd been told about it by people I met. So one morning, after photographing a sunrise at Portland Head Lighthouse, I made my way to Becky's for breakfast. It was awesome. They have a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, but I'm sad to report I've never been there for lunch or dinner. Usually I walk in around 7am after having photographed sunrise.
My favorite Becky's occasion was on New Year's Day, 2018. I wanted to photograph the sea smoke we were getting from some extremely cold days, so I planned to visit Portland Head Light for sunrise. My wife, who was then my girlfriend, asked if I minded if she tagged along. I warned her how cold it would be but she said she'd be fine, so we bundled up and off we went. The temperature that day was -14ºF with a -24ºF wind chill. It was blistering cold. Jess's hair froze, my fingers froze working the camera, and we shivered the entire time. When I was finished photographing, we climbed in the car, blasted the heat, and decided to head to Becky's. It was the perfect spot to warm up. We were still shivering as we walked in! I had their Titanic omelette. It was amazing.
Jordan's Restaurant, Bar Harbor, Maine
Whenever I'm in Bar Harbor to photograph in Acadia National Park, Jordan's is my go-to place for breakfast. I usually photograph sunrise along Ocean Drive on the Park Loop Road, so it's a quick shot back into Bar Harbor to get to Jordan's. I love their blueberry pancakes! The last few times I led workshops in Acadia, Jordan's was a regular stop for breakfast, but I've also had lunch there a few times as well. Nothing fancy, just great home cookin'! They've been around for almost 50 years now, so they sure know what they're doing.
After I moved to Maine in 2016, it took me awhile to visit Acadia again, between working at my job at the time and getting settled. One May night, I was finishing up work and looking forward to the day off I had the next day. I decided I really wanted to see the sunrise in Acadia. So I headed home around 8:30pm and started pulling my stuff together. It was a three hour drive to Acadia, so I left at about midnight and drove up. I arrived just before 3am, in the pitch dark. I thought I might be able to get some night sky landscape photos, but there was a cloud cover obscuring the stars. I climbed down into Monument Cove in the dark, found a nice boulder to sit on and just listened to the ocean, the peepers, and then the seabirds as dawn approached. As the sky began to glow, I started getting my gear ready and started photographing. "Spring Morning in Monument Cove", above, is one of my photos from that day. Once I finished up in the cove, and suddenly feeling very short on sleep, I headed to Jordan's to fuel up before driving home for a good long nap!
Beal's Lobster Pier, Southwest Harbor, Maine
The first time I ate at Beal's Lobster Pier I was assisting on a photo workshop. The lead instructor had been doing this workshop for a while so he knew where we were going. The first evening, we stopped at Beal's for dinner before photographing sunset in Bernard Harbor. What a place! Great views of the harbor, and the lobster roll I had was outstanding! I go for warm lobster meat with drawn butter on my lobster roll, none of that cold mayo stuff! So good! You wait in line and order at the counter, where, if you're so inclined, you can choose your lobster from the tank. Once your order is placed you go find a table and wait for the call. This place is celebrating their 90th anniversary this year, so be sure to congratulate them if you stop in!
My image "Dory in Bernard Harbor" was taken the same evening I had my first Beal's lobster roll.
Shaw's Wharf, New Harbor, Maine
New Harbor, Maine, is just around the corner from Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, which makes Shaw's Wharf the perfect stop for dinner before photographing a summer sunset there. The seafood is fresh- it literally comes in just off the boat. And New Harbor is among the prettiest harbors in Maine. The lobster rolls are outstanding, as are the lobster dinners, and the seafood platters featuring clams, shrimp, scallops, and haddock. It's a great place to stop for lunch or dinner as you explore the Pemaquid Peninsula.
Side Street Cafe, Bar Harbor, Maine
Lest you think I only eat at lobster piers and diners, I feel compelled to include the Side Street Cafe on the list of my favorites. This is a fun place tucked away on Rodick Street in Bar Harbor, and a popular spot among the locals. Yes they have great lobster rolls, but the story here is their award-winning Mac and cheese. They have six Mac and cheese options. Get a lobster Mac and cheese and get the best of both worlds! They also have great burgers and sandwiches, and some delicious desserts too!
I ate at Side Street Cafe the night I photographed this stunning sunset at Bass Harbor Marsh.
Moody's Diner, Waldoboro, Maine
Moody's Diner has been a fixture on Maine's midcoast since 1927. I've stopped here for breakfast after a sunrise outing, lunch before an afternoon outing, and dinner before a summer sunset outing. The food is outstanding, and service is always friendly. Make sure you save room for their blueberry pie à la mode! My favorite!
Congdon's Donuts, Wells, Maine
For those of you visiting southern Maine, or for the times I'm down there photographing, Congdon's Doughnuts is always a good stop. Their donuts are amazing, and have contributed mightily to my portly physique! They also have an amazing breakfast menu complete with omelettes and pancakes and more. Well worth the stop, as I did the morning I photographed "December Sunrise in Ogunquit".
So there you have it, my five favorite pre- or post-photo outing eateries in Maine. Nothing fancy, just good food. What are some of your favorites, in Maine or anywhere else?