Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Red's Eats
Wiscasset, Maine
by Diane Neal
September 5, 2011

Diane waiting in line...she is the last one on the far right side

And I mean it.  Finding Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine was one of the happiest accidents, serendipitous events and surprises I think we may have had in our travels. 

During a work trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mr. Neal and I decided to have him fly up to meet me before the weekend and then do a long weekend visiting Bar Harbor over Labor Day.  Previously we had driven to Bar Harbor from New York City in 1998 for Labor Day weekend. 

On our drive from Portsmouth to Bar Harbor we took highway 1 rather than the I-95.  Highway 1 passes through Wiscasset, Maine near Montsweag Bay.  Cute little town, funky stores.  And Red’s.  At the time we didn’t realize what Red’s Eats was.  Highway 1 goes right by it and here is the impression:  “Hey, why is there a craaazy long line of people in front of that shack on the corner?”  and let me tell you—it was a long line.  My guess was at least an hour long to go get something and then eat it on a patio next to this shack on the street corner we passed on the way out of town.  “Shack” is a little bit of an exaggeration.  Not sure what you call it.  I guess really it is just a roadside kitchen only food stand.  So we drive by completely clueless and thing maybe we will stop and check out whatever they are selling in the way back because whatever it is, it must be awesome.

Three days later we are chugging back on Highway 1 towards the airport in Portland, Maine.  We budgeted time to stop at the food stand and wait in the line to eat whatever it is people are eating there.  At some point we had coincidentally looked up lobster rolls on the Google machine and saw some post somewhere about a place called Red’s Eats.

I should probably also back up a bit and note that I had spent pretty much the entire weekend eating lobster or food with lobster in it.  I love lobster.  Of course I would want a good lobster roll on the way out.  My only concern?  I hate mayo and I think lobster salad which is common to most lobster rolls is fairly nasty business.  It was with great pleasure that I read a review of Red’s and learned they just give you a toasted roll full of lobster and a side of either butter or mayo.  The end.  You don’t want to add anything then don’t.  Perfect. 

By the time we got to Wiscasset we totally lucked out. The line didn’t stretch all the back to the bridge over the highway, but just to the parking lot in front of the bridge. Yay!  We hop out of the car and start our wait. In full noon day sun at about 85 degrees.  Not the worst conditions, but you know, toasty.  An hour later it is our turn to order.  

20 minutes later we have fries and 2 of the biggest, baddest lobster rolls you have ever seen.  I read that you get the equivalent of the meat from a whole 1.5 pound lobster in the roll, but I daresay it might have been more than that.  Lobster was busting out of this thing.  Poured some butter over it all and launch into my roll.   The combo of sweet (and super fresh) lobster meat and crunchy toasted roll with the warm butter—I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Probably one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life.  

I’m sure it helps to have your food stand 20 paces from the bay where the local lobstermen have traps.  And yes, I ate every bite of that roll.  Mystery solved about the long lines as well.  I think we lucked out with an hour wait. But would I wait longer?  Hellz yes I would!  If I ever get anywhere within striking distance of that place again—you know where to find me.  Red’s Eats. Thank you Wiscasset!

Patrick James Neal
July 16, 2012

Photo taken at Primrose School - The Woodlands, TX