Once down-on-its luck Biddeford is gradually being revived, with one of the country’s hottest diners, a handful of new breweries and a $50 million mill-development project in the works. There’s a fresh energy and better dining options than ever.
18 Franklin St., Biddeford | 207-284-0015 | palacedinerme.com | $$
Chefs Chad Conley and Greg Mitchell have turned Maine’s oldest dining car into a destination for the modern Blue Plate Special, winning national acclaim in the process. They take the original homey staples, replacing the run-of-the-mill ingredients and slap-dash plating with quality ingredients — and make it taste and look beautiful. Cash only. No reservations.
25 Alfred St., Biddeford | 207-774-2972 | facebook.com/biscuitsandcompany | $$
Open a little more than a month, Stacy Cooper’s cozy cafe celebrates the biscuit. Hers are made with local flour, butter and buttermilk, and tricked out with a variety of fillings. These range from the classic — sausage and gravy, or eggs, bacon and cheese — Moxie BBQ pulled pork and fried chicken with braised greens and gravy. The menu also includes soup, hand pies and other baked goods.
11 Adams St., Biddeford | 207-602-6284 | No website | $$
Go below street level to find what fans say is some of the area’s best, authentic, homestyle Mexican food. The subterranean space has brick walls and a beamed ceiling; a brightly painted mural and plenty of knick-knacks give it a funky, dive-y vibe. Regulars rave about the guacamole, the freshly made tortilla chips, the enormous portions and the cheap drinks.
265 Main Street, Biddeford | 207-710-2011| elementsbookscoffeebeer.com | $$
Coffee, books and beer are the “elements” that define this cafe/bar, which helped jumpstart Biddeford’s hip new lease on life when it opened 2 years ago. Depending on what time of the day you go, it has the feel of a really cool college library, or a chill bar where all the beers on tap (10) are local and the men sport lumberjack beards and plaid shirts. On the menu: bagels, soup, charcuterie, cheese and hummus plates.
100 Main St., Saco | 207-571-9652 | runofthemill.net | $$
Where textile machinery once whirred and clanked, happy patrons now raise glasses of beer brewed just below this spacious pub. Run of the Mill is housed in one of the 19th century brick buildings on Factory Island in the Saco River, which like the old mills, has been cleaned up and given new life. The 14-barrel brewery turns out 23 different varieties of beer — all only available at the pub. A deck overlooking the river, large enough to hold 100 people, is especially popular in the summer.
The approximate cost of two dinner entrees (not including appetizers, drinks, tax and gratuity).
$ – $15 and under
$$ – $16 to $25
$$$ – $26 to $45
$$$$ – $46 and up