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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: September 17, 2014

Dining Guide: 5 noteworthy restaurants in the Kennebunks

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are more than picturesque Maine summertime destinations. Great restaurants are a reason to visit all year long.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

For full listings and more restaurants, see the new searchable Restaurant & Bar Guide.

The casual dining area at White Barn Inn. Press Herald file photo

The casual dining area at White Barn Inn. Press Herald file photo

The White Barn Inn

37 Beach Ave., Kennebunk | 967-2321  | | $$$$
Served in a dining room that blends rustic barn beams with white tablecloths, Jonathan Cartwright’s prix-fixe menu, which changes weekly, gets consistently high marks from reviewers near and far. The White Barn offers a world-class dining experience with prices to match; three courses (plus intermezzo) are $109; the nine-course tasting menu is $165. Beverages, tax and gratuity are additional. In the off season, the restaurant offers a lower-priced “bistro menu.”

50 Local. Press Herald file photo

50 Local. Press Herald file photo

50 Local

50 Main St., Kennebunk | 985-0850 | | $$$$
The menu at Merrilee Paul and David Ross’s contemporary yet cozy bistro changes weekly to take advantage of local suppliers, who are listed on a large chalkboard displayed prominently in the dining room. Located in the heart of downtown Kennebunk, the restaurant is a popular spot with locals. “Tapas Tuesdays” feature a seasonal selection of small plates for $2 each, which pair nicely with one of the bar’s signature cocktails. Paul and Ross also operate Abbondante and Owen’s Farmhouse, both in Kennebunk.

The Wayfarer. Press Herald file photo

The Wayfarer. Press Herald file photo

The Wayfarer

2 Pier Rd., Cape Porpoise, Kennebunkport | 967-8961 | | $$$
For hearty New England-style fare with a Southern touch The Wayfarer aims to please and does with preparations that are well handled by Texas native, chef Brendan Levin. It’s occupied the same location for more than 50 years; new owners have recently spruced the place up, while maintaining its iconic charm. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with standout dishes including fried chicken with waffles, sausage gravy over biscuits, Monday night roasts, homemade pastas and a changing selection of homemade desserts. No liquor license, so BYOB.

Chefs Brian and Shanna O'Hea of Academe with their famous Lobster Pot Pie. Press Herald file photo

Chefs Brian and Shanna O’Hea of Academe with their famous Lobster Pot Pie. Press Herald file photo

Academe at The Kennebunk Inn

45 Main St., Kennebunk | 451-9511  | | $$$$
Chefs and owners Shanna and Brian O’Hea are justifiably proud of their restaurant’s signature dish — lobster pot pie with a towering crust of handmade flaky puff pastry — which been touted on TV food shows and is shipped to fans around the country. But there’s plenty more to like at this historic inn dining room, including excellent cocktails, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and pizza, served in a comfortable and gracious setting.

Bandaloop. Press Herald file photo

Bandaloop. Press Herald file photo


2 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport | 967-4994 | | $$$
Scott and Bridget Lee run this whimsical restaurant where good-for-you food tastes delicious and where many of the locally sourced dishes are vegetarian and vegan. Housed in a renovated barn, the white clapboard exterior belies a freewheeling and funky interior of mismatched styles and unusual accents, including masks and local art. Diners from the old school may be disappointed by an atmosphere that strikes them as too jangly and food that may seem experimental. (It isn’t.) But if you equate a dining experience with lighthearted fun, join the many locals who frequent this happy place.

Key to prices

The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up

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