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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: July 12, 2016

Pulled pork and pickle chips flow freely at Bubba Frye’s

Written by: Bob Keyes
A Bubba Frye's take-out meal of a buffalo blue cheese chicken on a flatbread, pulled pork on bulkie roll and lots and lots of pickle chips was a tasty, quick and affordable meal. Above, a view of the lily pond from the picnic table. Photo by Bob Keyes/Staff Writer

A Bubba Frye’s take-out meal of a buffalo blue cheese chicken on a flatbread, pulled pork on bulkie roll and lots and lots of pickle chips was a tasty, quick and affordable meal. Photo by Bob Keyes/Staff Writer

Everything was good until the pickle chips.

Actually, the pickle chips were extraordinarily good, and that’s where things went gastronomically bad. I’m still not sure why, but when the woman asked if I wanted a large or small order of breaded fried pickles, I said large. I had no idea.

When my dining partner opened the bags and cartons of food that I brought home from Bubba Frye’s in North Berwick, she asked incredulously if I had lost my mind. The fried pickles spilled across the kitchen table. We had enough fried pickle chips to feed a proverbial army. And there were two of us.

Bubba Frye's opened a few years ago on North Berwick's main drag. Photo by Bob Keyes

Bubba Frye’s opened a few years ago on North Berwick’s main drag.
Photo by Bob Keyes

Bubba Frye’s opened a few years ago on Elm Street (Routes 4 and 9), which is the main drag through North Berwick. The restaurant is in the bottom floor of a large building that is set off from the road and faces a lily pond. The restaurant offers some dine-in seating, and the picnic tables on the edge of the pond make a great spot for eating an ice cream cone. (Bubba Frye’s sells Shaker Pond ice cream, one of my local favorites.) But this is a take-out place that specializes in traditional and boneless wings, which I’ve picked up a few times on my drive home to Berwick. This time, we opted for sandwiches for our Friday night. We were headed to the theater and wanted something quick, hearty and local.

I ordered the pulled pork ($8.99). It came overflowing on a bulkie roll with a honey barbecue sauce that was sweet and not very hot, which is a perfect combination for my taste. The pork shoulder was slow-roasted, succulent and tender. The meat spilled out the sides of the roll, which required two hands but wasn’t messy at all. It was simple and uncomplicated, which I appreciated.

My partner ordered the buffalo blue cheese on a flatbread ($7.99), which was, in a word, gargantuan. There was no possibility of eating this with one’s hands. It nearly overflowed the to-go container. The chicken chunks were coated and cooked in a very hot sauce and served over flatbread with lettuce, tomato and a generous spread of blue cheese dressing. She ate a small portion of it with a fork and saved the rest as leftovers.

I also ordered a lobster roll, which was advertised as a special near the register. It was totally spontaneous, but, for $6.99, I figured I could take a chance. The lobster roll was small and simple — unadorned with anything but lettuce and served in a grilled hot dog roll. A tub of melted butter and mayo came on the side. The lobster meat was fresh, cold and plentiful.

Generally, I don’t order lobster rolls because I like mine without a lot of fuss, and I find that most place dress them up too much. This was just the opposite. I appreciated the full flavor of the lobster, but wanted something more than mayo swabbed along the roll or butter dripped over the top. Then again, for the price, it was hard to complain.

As for the fried pickles, we ate them for days. They were lightly breaded and crisp, more like a French fry than a chip. The pickle flavor remained prominent even after deep-frying, and the Southwest dipping sauce was heavenly. They reheated very well in the oven and were great with lunch on Saturday and again as a late-night snack. We still had a few left on Sunday, but finally tossed them.

Next time, I’ll get the small order.


WHERE: 22 Elm St., North Berwick; 207-676-2700;
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
WAIT: 10 to 15 minutes
PARKING: Plenty of parking in the lot

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