As much as we all love a great restaurant meal, it’s no secret that some of today’s greatest food is being served through a window. There is no place where this is more true than in midcoast Maine, where lobster shacks have long been a huge draw for visitors and a way of life for locals. There’s more than just lobster to be had at these casual spots, though. Nowadays, visitors to the midcoast of Maine can find every type of cuisine from Thai to tacos being sold outside. For visitors who want to enjoy the weather, or who are on a budget, or who just can’t stand barking at their kids through one more seated meal, a lobster shack or a food truck can be a godsend.
Here’s the thing, though…how do you locate these little gems? So often, the informal addresses or teeny tiny nooks where these great places are located make them tough for the visitor to find. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate looking like an idiot, driving around and thinking “Is this that pier? Is that the alley?” It has taken us a couple of years to scout out all the good pass-through-window food in Rockland and we still have some places to check out.
I’m going to make this easy for you.
What follows is a list (by town) of the midcoast Maine food trucks and shacks I’ve been able to find out about in the areas around Rockland, Camden, Rockport, and South Thomaston. Then, to make your life less awkward, I’ve plotted all these elusive little gems on a map, which you can use to find them without embarrassing your From Away visiting self. I hope this gives you the courage to patronize some of these delicious establishments. Eat like you’re in-the-know and enjoy!
In order to fully take advantage of the food truck and food shack offerings, though, you need to understand a few unwritten rules. The main one is that these hardworking folks have basic hours, but those may change day to day due to weather or other random circumstances. This is what they need to do to stay in business, so just take advantage of their social media postings and, when in doubt, call them! The hours I’ve listed below are probably correct, but I cannot guarantee them.
The other plea I would make to you is to be nice. Sometimes they’re mobbed and sometimes they’re not. I’ve seen visitors get super crabby about waiting a little extra time for their order or not getting their straw. Every one of these people behind the window is working in a hot, small space and churning out the best food they can at the fastest rate they can manage. If your order is a little long in coming, enjoy the view and be cool. It’ll be worth the wait. If you want to get a feel for the enormous challenges of managing a place like this, I highly recommend 16 Lessons I Learned After My First Year of Owning a Food Truck by Malcolm Bedell, owner of ‘Wich, Please and blogger at From Away.
Or you can just take my word for it.
Please note that most of these food trucks and food shacks judge opening and closing by the prevailing weather each year. Wherever I have noted “seasonal” you can assume that means roughly late May to early October, but during those times you may want to double-check to see if they are open.
Disclaimer: I realize this doesn’t cover all midcoast towns and cities. Just covering this area was a good initial challenge! Coverage south of Damariscotta is a work in progress.
With that said, let’s start at home base, shall we? Read more →