To wrap up sharing my recent trip to Maine, I thought I’d collect my experiences eating gluten free in one post. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the amazing places you can find gluten free goodies or other allergy free treats. It’s simply my own guide to gluten free Maine, an overview of where I ate in the places we happened to be in – Portland, Freeport, Yarmouth, and Kennebunkport.
Bam Bam Bakery
267 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine
This wonderful find is heaven for anyone with a gluten free sweet tooth. The entire bakery is gluten free, and there are also items to accommodate most other allergies. Those treats that contain other allergens like dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, or soy are clearly marked in the display cases. I sampled three cookies – the peanut butter chocolate chip, the sugar cookie M&M, and the classic chocolate chip – and all were amazing, perfectly soft and chewy and everything a cookie should be. They also sell unique goodies like Funky Monkey bars and peanut butter parfaits, as well as savory calzones and quiches, and a daily bread loaf.
B. Good Burger
15 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine
We stumbled upon this burger place after dinner on our first night, and decided to return for lunch the next day. It was so good, we went twice in the three days we were in Portland! All ingredients in the mouthwateringly tasty burgers, fries, and veggie sides are organic and grown locally whenever possible. The fries are gluten free, and burgers are available either on a bed of sautéed veggies or a gluten free bun. As it turns out, B. Good is a chain with locations throughout the Northeast, so I’m sure we will head to another location in good time.
288 Fore Street, Portland, Maine
Our planned splurge for the trip, and worth every penny. Fore Street is a popular restaurant, so much so that even before the summer season really begins, you need to call and make a reservation 30-60 days in advance. The menu is based on simply cooked produce and meat and fish, and the restaurant is very accommodating of allergies. I actually ordered off the menu without the need for any adjustments, though they would have made them for different dishes, because there was enough to choose from that was naturally gluten free. It reflected what I always tell people about eating gluten free. If you choose to eat real food, there’s not a lot of need for substitutions to feel satisfied. Or stuffed in this case 🙂
115 Main Street, Freeport, Maine
This tavern is now a cross between a New England casual seafood joint and a sports bar, but it was actually the site of where the papers were signed for Maine to enter the United States as its own state in 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise. Pretty cool if you’re a history nerd like me. I just had a salad here, but Brett liked his lobster roll and fries (unfortunately not gluten free). To be honest, there are probably other places in Freeport with more menu items for allergy folks, but they were very careful to ensure my food was prepared separately and that’s all I needed.
189 Main Street, Yarmouth, Maine
I didn’t review this meal in my recaps of our trip because there was too much to fit in, but finding this gem of a locavore restaurant in Yarmouth on the road from Freeport to Portland saved us from a truly terrible hanger episode. Gather prides itself not only on using ingredients from local farmers, but on being a place for local musicians to gather and share their songs. The band playing while we ate Sunday brunch was a lovely complement to the haddock chowder, grilled salmon salad, and home fried potatoes we shared.
8 Western Avenue, Kennebunk, Maine
Located on the Kennebunk side of the Kennebunk/Kennebunkport bridge, Federal Jack’s has four outposts and is an awesome choice if you’re gluten free but with a crowd that just wants a fried fish sandwich. They have a separate gluten free menu and many of their classic sandwich and burger items can be made with a gluten free bun, and there are separate choices for side dishes as well. The fries aren’t gluten free, but you can have potatoes, rice, or vegetables. I had the haddock sandwich, and Brett got his crab melt on a gluten free bun so I could try that too. Both hit the spot!
Mabel’s Lobster Claw
124 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, Maine
Mabel’s is a Kennebunkport institution. It’s the kind of lobster spot with nautical paraphernalia from eight different decades on the walls, snarky diner signs, and photos of well known customers scattered around. I had the crab salad and Brett had the fish chowder, onion rings, and a lobster roll, and we both had Gifford’s black raspberry chip ice cream to finish. Everything except the onion rings was gluten free, and while you can’t partake in the fried seafood if you’re allergic to gluten, that isn’t why you come here – you come for the crab and lobster, both of which are excellent.
One Dock Prime
One Dock Square, Kennebunkport, Maine
One Dock Prime is the fine dining establishment at the Kennebunkport Inn in the heart of the village. In summer, there’s a beautiful outdoor seating area overlooking the docks (what else?) We enjoyed the best of the ocean on our plates. We split the seafood tower to begin, with a lobster tail, crab meat, oysters, and fresh clams. I enjoyed roast duck with asparagus for my main, and Brett went for the potato crusted cod. They also served us up some fancy sea salt in three varieties with our meals, and the chef sent out an amuse bouche at the beginning and two chocolate truffles to finish. There are lots of lovely, special dinner spots in Kennebunkport, including Hurricane’s and the Boathouse both just a few steps away, and On the Marsh and the White Barn Inn down the road. But we were happy to have tried One Dock as something new.
This post wouldn’t be complete without mention of the ice cream we ate. Three Portland finds included Beal’s, Captain Sam’s, and Mount Desert Island Ice Cream Company. In Kennebunkport, in addition to Mabel’s we had some Shain’s of Maine. Check out my other posts for more information!
If you have allergies, do you research restaurants before traveling?
Which of these restaurants would you most want to eat at?
What’s your best tip for allergy free travel?
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4 thoughts on “My Guide to Gluten Free Maine”
Yum! I love that you show places that don’t necessarily advertise gluten free – it makes it seem more attainable in every day life!
The thing is, I don’t even usually LIKE places that are ostentatious about being GF as much, because I like pretty simple “American” food – eggs, burgers, ice cream – that is easily GF if you skip the toast, bun, or cone! I find no frills places can actually be very accommodating too 🙂
Awesome post! I love Portland–definitely check out Silly’s (http://www.sillys.com/), The Holy Donut (http://theholydonut.com/), and Otto Pizza (http://www.ottoportland.com/) on your next trip 🙂
Wow, this is a great guide for anyone who is gluten free! It can be really difficult to find gluten free options, especially in places you aren’t familiar. All of the dishes you’ve featured above look truly splendid! Nice post! Thanks so much for sharing!