Hot, crispy, salty French fries are a favorite Maine indulgence. Here’s where you can find fries worth every calorie.
43 Middle St., Portland | 207-774-8080 | duckfat.com | $$
When it opened in 2005, Duckfat filled a need Portland didn’t know it had – a desperate longing for Belgian fries fried in duck fat. The menu has maintained its beloved staples (those fries, poutine, paninis, craft sodas and doughnut holes fried in duck fat with caramel and spicy chocolate dipping sauce) while experimenting with a variety of soup, salad and sandwich specials with an honest emphasis on fresh and local ingredients. Reservations are not taken, so plan on long, but well worth it, waits on summer weekends
551 Congress St., Portland | 207-553-2227 | noshkitchenbar.com | $$
Nosh chef-owner Jason Loring uses his culinary training to take sandwiches and other deli-inspired fare to new heights. Meats are butchered, brined and roasted in-house, and everything is over-the-top. Take the Nosh Mac N’ Stack: the “bun” is made of mac and cheese patties, in between are a burger, American cheese, smoked tomato, BBQ sauce, bacon and pickles. You can also get a Slab burger: slices of pizza from Slab, Loring’s other Portland restaurant, replace the bun. The bacon-dusted fries continue the theme; made of Maine potatoes they’re served with ketchup and your choice of 12 sauces.
12 Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach | 207-934-2328 | No website | $
The most celebrated fries in Maine are available for take-out only, at a walkup window just off OOB’s famous pier. For more than 80 years, the opening of Pier Fries in April has been a harbinger of summer: fans line up for hours to get their first-of-the-season, thick-cut fries, sold by the cup, bowl or signature box (the most popular), doused with salt and vinegar. The shop also sells hot dogs, chicken tenders, and poutine in case you want to make it a meal, but for most loyal customers, the fries are the thing. If you haven’t gotten your annual fix yet, you have until Columbus Day.
233 U.S, Route 1, Yarmouth | 207-846-3633 | bistro233.com | $$$
New owners have spiffed up this longtime local favorite, and added the addictive Italian cheese fries to the menu. Hot, thin and crispy, prinkled with asiago cheese, sage, oregano and truffle oil and presented in a cone, they make a perfect bar snack. You’ll also find creative cocktails, a good selection of local beer on tap, a well-curated wine list (1/2 price bottles on Sundays and Mondays) and imaginative takes on comfort food. Tuck into a rich cottage pie, braised beef short ribs or seafood jambalaya; the menu also includes burgers, sandwiches, salads and an excellent French onion soup.
1124 Forest Ave., Portland | 207-518-9735 | poboysandpickles.com | $$
Three words: Sweet potato fries. Sure, the authentic New Orleans-style sandwiches are the primary draw, and you can get regular French fries, chili cheese fries, gravy fries and cajun fries too, but do yourself a favor and go for the sweet potato. Other must-tries: the fried oyster po’ boy, roast beef “debris” po’ boy, muffaletta po’ boy, bayou gumbo, and for dessert, coconut macaroons and sticky toffee pudding. Oh, and the vanilla custard milkshake. Eat in and check out the vintage New Orleans photos on the walls or take your Southern comfort food home.
The approximate cost of two breakfast entrees (not including drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up