Some meat-centric restaurants may try to evoke an old-time Western ranch, but chef Harding Lee Smith dubs The Grill Room & Bar an “urban steakhouse.” Although the open, high-ceilinged dining room exudes plenty of rustic charm, Smith is most inspired by his restaurant's own bustling neighborhood and the local farms beyond it. Starring in a cast of fresh, locally grown produce are grass-fed, all-natural meats from New Gloucester's Pineland Farms. These meats—think spice-rubbed skirt steaks, butterflied pork chops, and organic Cornish game hen—are seared on the open kitchen’s wood-fired grill and then plated with modern flourishes such as truffled mash and grilled onion jam. Seafood dishes benefit equally from the wood grills, while a wood pizza oven creates crackly, chewy pies such as a duck and brie pizza with shaved apples and balsamic syrup.
Wines range through France, Italy, and New Zealand, and bartenders kick out cocktails such as hot buttered rum and the Creole Bull, a Twenty-2 vodka concoction with peppers and smoked peppercorns. Desserts tend toward the rich and creamy, with house-made bean crème brulee and New York–style cheesecakes whose flavors vary with the seasons and the Statue of Liberty's moods.
The State Theatre was saved, as its website states, from "the ravages of time." Built in 1921 as a vaudeville and silent-film palace, the venue fell on hard times in the 1970s when disco balls replaced light fixtures and complex hand-slaps were substituted for tickets. In 2003, however, a $3 million renovation restored the State Theatre to much of its original glory, as crews painstakingly rehabbed the ornamental plaster and terracotta exterior. Inside the theater, a stunning chandelier sparkles more brightly than ever below the venue's signature dome.
Amigo's daytime dining and lively bar scene by night provide a fiesta for Mexi-connoisseurs, college kids, and piñata lovers alike. Southwestern trailblazers can get going with the fresh-made guacamole and chips ($7), or dive right in for a sizzling order of fajitas with your choice of sautéed protein (from $11) or the deluxe enchiladas platter, made of two beef-, chicken-, or pork-filled corn tortillas topped with sauce, cheese, and sour cream ($11). Billiards and dartboards provide midmeal diversions, and the vivacious neighborhood atmosphere haunt lends buoyancy to postprandial jocularities and celebrations.
Bonos Pizzeria Grille puts its own gourmet spin on Italian culinary tradition. In an open kitchen, executive chef Anthony Guerriero and his team use local ingredients to craft specialties such as slow-braised short ribs with pappardelle, fingerling potatoes, and peas, and juicy burgers crowned with Boursin cheese and wine-poached pears. They also layer pizzas with specialty toppings such as fig jam and hand-picked lobster before firing the pies over flaming Maine hardwoods. A children’s menu offers kid-friendly options like peanut butter and jelly pizza.
A community-oriented coffeehouse and wine bar, The Local Buzz serves a morning, evening, and kids' menu of pastries, paninis, appetizers, and locally made baked goods. Pair a trio of nuts ($2.50), including organic nori and curry and maple cashews, with the hummus-, pita-, and olive-laden Mediterranean platter ($7.50) for a perfect midafternoon or early mid-dusk snack. Select a sip of tea or java from Coffee by Design or adopt an of-age quaff from diverse drink lists of wines and locally brewed beer. The Local Buzz plays host to a variety of events, making it an ideal destination for a lively family outing, an intimate evening date, or a hair-raising combination of both.