Bob's Clam Hut, a longtime Kittery favorite, has just debuted a Portland outpost.
Every summer my husband and I drive from Brooklyn to Mid-coast Maine, where we rent a house for a week. Somewhere along the way, we get hungry. Over the years, we’ve tried to solve this problem with everything from Starbucks cheese plates (insubstantial), to pizza in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (lackluster), to leftovers that we pack ourselves (efficient and thrifty but no fun). Last year, dinnertime came just as we were crossing the Maine border, and the Internet directed us to Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery. It had the feel of a local institution. It was packed — always a good sign — and there was a numbering system that kept things running smoothly. The menu was a thorough catalog of Maine coastal classics: fried clams and scallops, lobster rolls, clam chowder. There was outdoor seating, so our dog could loll on the grass under our picnic table while we ate. When our food arrived, I thought about how the state couldn’t have provided a better welcome. In a region with some tough competition, their lobster rolls were fat and perfect.
More than 60 years after opening, Bob’s has opened a second location, in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. The spare stand-alone building, located at the intersection of five streets, is decidedly more modern than Kittery’s roadside-retro vibe. But there are picnic tables here, too, in a brightly painted courtyard. And despite a few contemporary additions — fried lobster tails, fish tacos topped with smoked paprika aioli, a selection of local craft beers — the menu hasn’t varied from the tried-and-true roster of chowders, rolls, and baskets full of crispy seafood.
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