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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: November 26, 2015

Dining Guide: 5 places for holiday shoppers to stop for lunch

If you’re one of the many, many people who will spend at least part of this weekend kick-starting your holiday shopping, we have some advice: Take a break for lunch — and we don’t mean fast food. These five restaurants — one in each of Maine’s most popular shopping hubs — are relaxed and comfortable, places where you can put your bags down and refuel both body and spirit.

Written by: Susan Axelrod

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

Robert’s Maine Grill

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

326 U.S. Hwy 1, Kittery | 207-439-0300 | | $$$
Don’t let the faux lighthouse outside — left over from a previous restaurant — trick you into thinking that Robert’s Maine Grill is a a place of gimmicks and assembly-line fare. Bright, open and airy, it’s a more sophisticated, yet still casual, version of the traditional Maine seafood restaurant With a locally-sourced menu, rotating list of Maine beers on tap and plenty of parking, it’s an ideal choice for a break from the outlets.

Salt & Honey

The dining room at Salt & Honey. Press Herald file photo

The dining room at Salt & Honey. Press Herald file photo

24 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport | 207-204-0195 | | $$
Kennebunkport is not short on good restaurants, but if you haven’t yet tried Salt & Honey, this newcomer is worth checking out. If you stop in for lunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., you’ll have a choice of both the breakfast and lunch menus, so you could go for the wild Maine blueberry pancakes with lemon curd, while your shopping companion orders the steak sandwich.

Bull Feeney’s

Sydney Robinson serves crabmeat sliders at Bull Feeney's in Portland. Press Herald file photo

Sydney Robinson serves crabmeat sliders at Bull Feeney’s in Portland. Press Herald file photo

375 Fore St., Portland | 207-773-7210 | | $$
You’ve got to love a restaurant that uses as its logo a lobster swigging a Guinness. Bull Feeney’s is the antithesis of the Old Port’s hip eateries: a dark and cozy Irish pub, with a large menu focused on comfort food. The window tables are great for people watching while you warm up with a bowl of potato leek soup or haddock sandwich.

Azure Cafe

Azure Cafe in Freeport. Press Herald file photo

Azure Cafe in Freeport. Press Herald file photo

123 Main St, Freeport | 207-865-1237 | | $$$
Classic seafood dishes and Italian specialities are on the menu at this serene Freeport mainstay, just a few steps from the central shopping district. Try the Azure Burger – a Pineland Farms patty topped with smoked bacon and crumbled gorgonzola, or if you’re craving lobster after all that turkey, you’ll find it in a lobster roll, in mac and cheese, and a number of other dishes.

Cafe Miranda

Lunch customers at Cafe Miranda in Rockland. Press Herald file photo

Lunch customers at Cafe Miranda in Rockland. Press Herald file photo

15 Oak St, Rockland | 207-594-2034  | | $$$$
For more than 22 years, iconoclast chef Kerry Altiero has wowed and humored diners with his big personality and very good food. Yes, the decor is funky, even wacky, there’s a bathroom dedicated to Elvis Presley, and the menu dishes like “Fabulous Bowl of Meat” and “Lamb Wowie,” but the cooking is serious. The 2012 Lobster Chef of the Year, a recent cookbook author and peripatetic traveler, Altiero is also owner of Headacre Farm, which supplies much of his restaurant’s produce in season.

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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