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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: October 21, 2015

Derosier’s in Freeport is a very local place – but it’s friendly food at low prices attracts locals and tourists

Written by: Ray Routhier
Half of a chicken Parmigiana sandwich from Derosier’s in Freeport. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Half of a chicken Parmigiana sandwich from Derosier’s in Freeport. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

I like eateries with fun menus, menus where somebody has put a little thought into being quirky or amusing, or just bringing a smile to the customer’s face.

Consider the line Derosier’s in Freeport uses for its spicy “Chicken of Doom” sandwich, with sriracha sauce and hot pepper relish: “Your stomach is evil. And must be punished.” For a sandwich called “Farmer Jones’ Revenge,” with five kinds of meat, the tag line is “All animals are equal.”

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These lines found on the menu of an old-fashioned sandwich shop, in an old building with a faded Budweiser beer sign out front, were an unexpected and cheery addition to my lunch hour on a recent Tuesday. Just like Derosier’s itself.

Derosier’s, founded in 1904 and still run by the same family, reminds us that Freeport was not always filled with retail outlets and chain eateries. Derosier’s is a very local place, but with the kind of friendly food at low prices that probably attracts both locals and tourists.

When I went on a recent rainy Tuesday, the place was packed. The three or four tables were full and the line at the counter stretched about 15 feet, nearly to the front door. I had ordered by phone 15 minutes earlier but still had to wait five minutes or so to get my food.

I sampled two sandwiches, a large bacon “toasty” ($6.49) and a large chicken Parmigiana ($6.99). Both were wrapped in a paper-lined foil that kept them hot without sticking to the melted cheese on top. Both were a foot long or so and packed with stuff. I ate half of each, which filled me completely, and saved the other two halves for the next day’s lunch. So I got two lunches for about $13.50.

Customers order at Derosier's sandwich shop Friday, October 9, 2015 in Freeport, Maine. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Customers order at Derosier’s sandwich shop Friday, October 9, 2015 in Freeport, Maine. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

The chicken Parmigiana featured breaded chunks of white meat in a tangy red sauce and a thick slab of melted cheese on top. The roll was toasted, crusty and firm enough to hold the saucy sandwich without getting soggy or leaking onto my clothes. The breading was especially nice, almost fluffy, around the chicken.

The bacon “toasty” was one of a half-dozen or so “toasty” sandwiches on the menu, all of them toasted and topped with cheese.

My sandwich featured Canadian bacon, tomato slices, mayonnaise and cheese. It came with pepperoni too, but I chose to have the Canadian bacon alone. And I’m glad I did. When I’ve sampled Canadian bacon in the past, I found it to be sort of flavorless, more like boiled ham than bacon. But at Derosier’s, the Canadian bacon was wonderfully smoky, enough so that the flavor came through under all the cheese.

Other “toasty” sandwiches on the menu include ham, turkey, tuna, roast beef, salami, bacon, veggie and the aforementioned “Farmer Jones’ Revenge.” Most range from $5.99 to $7.99 for a large, though the five-meat “revenge” is $8.99.

Other hot sandwiches on the menu include Buffalo chicken, steak and cheese, meatball, pastrami with cheese, chicken teriyaki, chicken fajita and a General Tso’s sub.

The latter, $7.99 for a large, includes chicken, sautéed onions, peppers, broccoli, sweet and spicy General Tso’s sauce and cheese. It’s sort of like Chinese takeout on a sub roll.

Derosier's sandwich shop. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Derosier’s sandwich shop. Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer

Cold sandwiches on the menu include about 10 Maine Italians. What makes them Maine Italians? Well, most Maine Italians feature a soft roll, American cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, black olives and green peppers. These fit the bill.

There are also eight salads on the menu, including one that is a pleasure to read about. It’s called “The Salad Salad Salad Salad.” Why? Because it is a garden salad topped with scoops of chicken salad, tuna salad and egg salad. Count the salads in that description, as I did, and you’ll find they do indeed add up.

Derosier’s also has a substantial pizza menu. While I was there, several folks were grabbing the “Slice-O-Rama” lunch. Unlike some places, where pizza by the slice are an afterthought, at Derosier’s slices are available all day, with your pick of toppings. Slices are $2.79 for cheese, plus 35 cents per topping.

But the menu says you can’t get hamburger on a slice “due to cooking times and the fact that we are big meanies.”

Maybe so, but their menu and their food sure are fun.


120 Main St., Freeport | 207-865-6290 |
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: About five minutes after ordering by phone
PARKING: On street.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. One step up from sidewalk.

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