In 1977, Robert Benedict bought a red barn and quickly fashioned it into a local landmark that dishes out 100 gallons of seafood stew a day, alongside lobster rolls, steamed clams, chicken, and burgers. Robert included everyone in the family endeavor—even his 11-year-old sister, Laura, who had to stand on a milk crate to reach the counter and keep the half-and-half from escaping. She eventually took over the eatery in 1986, and the business has continued to grow in scope, size, and stature ever since. These days, the menu highlights Maine scallops, shrimp, and clams, all still dished out by Laura and her brothers Peter and Ronnie.
Bowlers descend upon 20 prepped and polished lanes to partake in the New England tradition of candlepin bowling at 1-7-10 Bowling & Entertainment Center or Good Times Lanes. Candlepin bowling ups the ante on normal alley games, arming competitors with three smaller balls sans holes and mercy to hurl at thinner pins standing in the place of their curvy counterparts. After the devious pins are toppled, they are left lying in the pin deck for additional pummeling until the end of each player's turn before being swept off and reset. As bowlers glide their way through multiple challenging rounds in slick-bottomed footwear, arcade games jingle and flash in the background to distract pins that have developed human intelligence. Free bumpers help tykes eliminate discouraging gutter balls, and groups of six refuel by slurping from an included pitcher or 2-liter bottle of soda. Five TVs glow on the walls of 1-7-10, reflecting the pizzas served at Splitters Sports Bar and Grille.
As the tanning bed's lid closes, a cool breeze starts to blow, a gentle mist cools your skin, and the scents of aromatherapy transform a 12-minute tanning session into a miniature vacation. This S-Class bed is just one of the approximately 10 tanning options that fill each of City Sun Tanning's locations. Staffers help clients select the right bed, leading them down hallways to an iBed sunbed—which features rotating facial lights—or a X-2 High Pressure bronzing stand-up, which can bronze pallid skin in ten minutes. Alternatively, visitors step onto the AutoBronzer's open-air platform, which evenly sprays UV-free tanning solution and candy sprinkles. In June of 2009, this sunless system caught the eye of New York Magazine, which lauded City Sun Tanning for having one of the "top five spray tans." The tanning salon has also garnered accolades from Citysearchers, who for several years, named it "Best of Citysearch".
The dough-slinging doyens at Gerard’s Pizza have populated their expansive menu with homemade pies and sides since 1964. Eschewing the popular practice of using frozen or hand-me-down pizza crusts, Gerard’s makes its own dough from scratch before bringing it to floury fruition inside of a deck oven. Then it bedecks the large 16-inch sphere with sauce and cheese, customizing it with the customer's choice of two toppings, such as italian sausage, pineapple, chicken, and banana peppers. Gerard's also regales dine-in guests with a small side of wings, a two-liter bottle of soda, and a bottomless supply of oxygen molecules free for the breathing.
Hand-painted tables depicting colorful images of dogs, mustaches, and maps sit beneath lustrous, polished hubcaps in the dining room of Lisa's Legit Burritos, where founder Lisa Liberatore dishes up casual Mexican cuisine with finesse that earned her profiles in USA Today and the Morning Sentinel. Amid the eatery's diverse décor, the chef and her staff slow-roast chicken, beef, and pork with an eclectic potpourri of traditional Mexican spices such as chipotle peppers and chilies. The flavorful meats join salsa and cheese to mosey across tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and unadorned cowboy hats. A smattering of quarter-pound hot dogs topped with chili and fritos bolster the south-of-the-border selection, and sweets such as chocolate-covered jalapeños and a dessert burrito cradling cheesecake and berry preserves wrap up meals.
Lisa's Legit Burritos is also home to Book It, a bookstore of lightly used books whose proceeds benefit the Gardiner Public Library's renovation efforts. Guests can settle into a rocking chair to read the collection of tomes, which includes popular genres and flavors.
Frothy mugs of nine different draft beers and a belief that you can never use too many peppers complement chef Jon Russell's surfeit of steak, seafood, and pasta. He tosses hot peppers into his Peppers chicken dish and sprinkles peppercorns onto his signature steak, which is then flambéed in brandy. When taste buds are craving the saltiness of seafood and licking snowplow trails won't suffice, he grills Atlantic salmon, rubs sesame onto sushi-grade tuna steak, and weaves fettuccine around bits of lobster, shrimp, and scallops. He rounds out his menu with a selection of burgers, Mexican fare, and homemade desserts that guests can enjoy on the restaurant's patio or in the casual dining room with exposed brick and tropical stained-glass artwork.
Hope General Store's historic building's roots stretch back as early as 1832, and its rustic interior greets guests with imported goods, up to 140 varieties of beer, and a menu of sandwiches, salads, and pizzas. Graze on gourmet bites such as the Pinchy shaved-steak sandwich, a toasted sub stuffed with mushrooms, peppers, and swiss ($6.25) and the blue spinach salad, which hosts an army of creamy blue cheese and avocado as well as apples and mushrooms ($4.25). Adorn a customizable pizza ($4.50+) with an array of toppings, or opt for a predressed pie such as the France pizza, which delights diverse appetites with a quarter border of pineapple and ham, a quarter pepperoni, a quarter veggie, and a quarter cheese, united with a fried-egg centerpiece ($10 for a small 12” pizza; $15 for a large 16” pizza). Hope General Store's cozy interior is peppered with modern touches such as solar panels and WiFi, although the certified post office within the store allows guests to easily send a care package via mail instead of shoving it through a computer screen.