The Portland & Rochester Railroad once connected Portland to Quebec, the Maritimes, and the rest of New England. While tracks still line some of the city's cobblestone streets, the train stop is now home to Portland & Rochester Public House. Using local ingredients, the pub's cooks draw on the culinary traditions of those provinces once connected by the rail. Lobster cakes with spicy harissa, for instance, pay homage to New England's seafood, and a poutine of house-cut fries, bacon, and ducky gravy honors Quebec. To complement those dishes, bartenders decant local beer from eight taps, serve wine from a 20-bottle collection, and handcraft cocktails, including several house-infused bourbon options.
Old Port Sandwich Shop’s more than 30 varieties of hot sandwiches, wraps, and burgers tempt taste buds along with housemade soups and chowders. Their menu satisfies vegetarians and carnivores alike with options such as hummus and crisp veggies bundled in wheat wraps and hefty meatball-and-provolone subs that test hand strength as much as a sock-puppet rendition of Les Misérables. Custom sandwiches pair more than 11 varieties of bread with just as many fixings, including corned beef, meatloaf, and liverwurst. Dine-in customers are welcome to cruise the shop’s free WiFi while perched beside picture windows that overlook Market Street.
As a child, Jason Litalien watched Cheers with his dad; even then, he knew that in the future he wanted to open a neighborhood sports bar inspired by the hit television show's signature watering hole. Duty came first, though; Jason enlisted in the United States Air Force and served for 13 years, keeping his dream alive all the while. Three years ago, he returned from service and opened The Frosty Pint, a friendly pub decorated with Boston sports memorabilia, including a neon Celtics sign and framed Red Sox and Tom Brady jerseys. Cooks curate a menu of American favorites such as chicken wings drenched in teriyaki or thai honey sauce, jalapeño poppers, and deep-fried baseballs. Bartenders, meanwhile, fill glasses with 20 types of draft beer, pour a handful of wines, and mix spirits into cocktails. The Frosty Pint also has an outdoor seating area with umbrellas to protect them from the elements.
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.