After a morning at the beach, I never want to get cleaned up for lunch or venture too far from my towel. Just down the road from the Kennebunk beaches, at the intersection of Beach Ave and Route Nine, is Charlie Bennett’s Store. The exterior is unassuming, with a few picnic tables and a pebbled parking lot accessible from both Route Nine and Sea Road. Inside, however, the place is alive with activity – the large kitchen is open to view behind the register and the helpful staff hustles around. A board of simple sandwiches hangs from the ceiling and refrigerated cases with beverages flank the walls. Their small subs run $6.50 and the larges $7.95. For those visitors with children, they offer kid’s four-inch subs for $3.95. My small Italian sub came with all the fixin’s – loaded with a variety of meats, veggies, and pickles. Wrapped up, it was nearly the size of a two-liter soda bottle. My appetite is hearty and just half of the small size was more than enough; for the average person, it would easily feed two. The French fries I ordered followed the same trend – plenty to share and far too much for one to polish off alone. Boy, they were delicious, though! My “small” sundae for dessert was similarly monstrous – I wish they had given me a lid so I could have taken it home. The best part, however, is that they offer pink peppermint stick ice cream. With hot fudge, there’s nothing better! Charlie Bennett’s is a real find and a steal of a meal by local standards. At the Maine Stay we are sure to recommend this hidden gem to our beach-going guests – fill up the family without emptying your wallet!
Dining in Kennebunkport
Well, for the Kennebunks, that is. After much anticipation, Lower Village Kennebunk’s new wine bar, Old Vines, has finally opened! In addition to a wide variety of wines by the glass and bottle, they serve appetizers and small plates. And for our designated drivers they offer a multitude of carbonated fruit flavored sodas by “Fizzy Lizzy.” Truthfully I am not much of a wine drinker, so I sampled the pomegranate variety – boy, was it delicious! My dining companion, Anne Monahan, a friend and integral member of our Guest Services Team, had the Reisling – somebody had to have wine at the Wine bar. I was relieved to hear that she thought it was wonderful. The food was excellent as well – I had the beet and chevre salad, and she got the olive tampenade with toasted baguette rounds. The flavors were superb and presentation inventive for such simple fare, however the plates were definitely “small.” Even after having eaten dinner, I left hungry (their dessert options didn’t include anything for a gluten-free diner). In all, though, I can overlook the skimpy portions for the intimate atmosphere, exquisite wood-work, creative wall covering (all lids from wooden wine cases), and the opportunity for an interesting new place to enjoy friends and food besides Federal Jack’s.
At they Maine Stay, we are delighted to have a new place to recommend to people for an evening snack and glass of wine. Old Vines, new favorite.
Judi the Innkeeper always thought it would be great fun to be a restaurant critic, so now she has deemed herself “restaurant critic of the Maine Stay”. Judi has made a new commitment; she will suggest to her guests and on her web site only restaurants has been to. Since Judi and Walter purchased the Maine Stay in May of 2008, the focus of restaurant visits had initially been limited to Kennebunkport and Kennebunk. The first restaurant that Judi and Walter thoroughly enjoyed that was slightly outside of Kennebunkport was Joshua’s. Monday evening in late February was cold and uninviting, however the evening spent at Joshua’s was completely welcoming. The dining experience was special for two reasons, not only was the food fabulous, but the company unparalleled. Two guests at the inn, who had came to freezing Kennebunkport to get a taste of winter from Belize were truly a delight; it was the first time Judi and Walter had ever dined with guests and the evening will always be remembered as exceptional.
Joshua’s in Wells, Maine is in a 230 year old home that features old brick hearths, wide pine floor boards, and Indian shutters, with accents of contemporary touches making for a comfortable dining experience. The meal obviously reflects Joshua’s commitment to freshness, we ordered appetizers, entrees, and desserts and everything was fabulous. Judi’s only regret was that she had not dined there earlier and that she had deprived her guests of the knowledge of this incredible restaurant.