Months ago, I started following the Lincolnville General Store on Instagram, in much the same way some people follow say, Taylor Swift. I wanted the insider’s view. I wanted to pretend we hung out. And even though I doubted I would ever get to be a regular at the general store, there being many miles – not to mention Wiscasset traffic – between us, I wanted to know what it was serving up every day: the bouquets, the pastries, the wood-oven fired pizzas. It all looked so irresistible, like the dream general store of both bohemian middle-aged ladies and young beer-loving hipsters everywhere.
Although I have been to a Phish concert, the fact that one of the band’s founding members (and drummer) Jon Fishman and his wife, Briar Fishman, own the Lincolnville General Store wasn’t part of the allure for me. It’s more about the central casting structure, painted barn red, with a white colonnaded porch and a wide-planked wooden deck. There’s even a white wicker couch out front.
I pulled up the other day on the way back from a weekend trip up the coast with a half hour to spare before the 7 p.m. closing time. The pizza oven was still going, and from the pies coming out of it, I could see that would be a good option. But then the guy in front of me asked to have his sandwich warmed up and my eye strayed over to the other pre-made sandwiches. I asked the server how the Reubens ($7.95) were and his eyes rolled back in his head with pleasure. “It’s got this fermented beet in it,” he said. “In place of the saukerkraut?” I asked. He nodded. I ordered.
While he heated the hefty sandwich on a griddle, I looked over the salads in the display case. A roasted carrot salad featured full-sized carrots in purple and orange hues and cost $17.99 a pound. This struck me as insanely expensive yet also so alluring I asked for a side, as well as a kale salad ($11.99 a pound) with slivered almonds and diced radishes.
There were many other things I might have bought if I hadn’t been driving – including any number of expensive but intriguing craft beers, a bottle of wine or maybe even some CBD snacks.
I took the paper containers out to the porch to sit, admiring the general store’s location, situated to watch all the passing traffic on Main Street. It was so easy to picture Main Street as a dirt road back in the 19th century, with townspeople toting home the basics from the general store on their horse or by foot.
The corned beef was lean and bright with flavor. So was the fermented beet slaw, a twist on the usual sauerkraut. It was truly an outstanding sandwich. The kale and carrot salads, which together cost more than the Reuben, were also spectacular. I could have happily sat there an hour with a libation and then wandered in to choose from the pastry/cookie/bar situation in the loaded dessert case.
With tax, I’d paid $19.52, far more than I ever pay for a lunch. But it was enough of a bounty that I ended up taking half of it home for a satisfying lunch the next day. If the Lincolnville General Store were in my neighborhood, I’d be there three days a week. Or maybe pulling occasional shifts there to pay for my chichi roasted carrot salad habit.
LINCONVILLE GENERAL STORE
WHERE: 269 Main St., Lincolnville, (207) 763-4411
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
WAIT: About five minutes at non-peak hours
PARKING: Lot or street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes