Best Barbeque: Buck’s Naked BBQ & Steakhouse
The folks at Buck’s will tell you that barbeque is the only authentic American cuisine — one they strive to get just right. By paying close attention to time (meats slow-smoke for between 4 and 13 hours), temperature, and seasonings, they put out plate after plate of bib-worthy ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken; with classic Southern apps and sides (fried pickles, coleslaw, cheesy grits) and “Fooze” offerings — cocktails with a little food on the side, like the “Buckito,” basically a mojito served with an apricot-glazed baby back rib — the menu is fun and satisfying. Us Americans get our hankerings. Thank goodness that with locations in Portland, Freeport, and Windham, there’s always a Buck’s nearby.
50 Wharf St, Portland | 207.899.0610 | 568 US Route 1, Freeport | 207.865.0600 | 4 Turning Leaf Dr, Windham | 207.893.0600 | bucksnaked-bbq.com
Best Beer Selection: Novare Res
If any place holds a monopoly on a Food & Drink category, it’s Novare for beer selection. Quantitatively speaking, there just isn’t another spot that can hold a candle to the vast arsenal of suds this Old Port stronghold keeps in its armory. And it only helps their cause to consider how diligent, well-researched, and truly excited they are about beer, offering special menus of regional brews (even those dwarf the selection of most bars) and hosting a club with incentives for members to try everything they’ve got. Drinking beer is fun on its own, but Novare takes it to a whole new level.
4 Canal Plaza, Portland | 207.761.2437 | novareresbiercafe.com
Best Brewpub: Gritty McDuff’s
The old-fashioned alehouse is a cultural staple for many reasons. Mostly it has to do with fresh beer and pleasant company in a shared space. Gritty’s gets this mix exactly right, with a range of brews both year-round and seasonal, and seating on benches at long tables, where you can gather a big group of pals, or join patrons already there and make new friends over a drink. There are a few TVs to occupy your eyes when they’re not watching the door to see who else is about to join your crew, but not so many screens that you can’t look away and have a nice chat. A comfortable, easygoing place is what you’ll find.
396 Fore St, Portland | 207.772.2739 | grittys.com
Best Brunch: Hot Suppa!
Listen, we’re sorry. Hot Suppa winning this award yet again only tacks minutes onto the time you’ll have to wait for a table when you hit them up for their magical, totally gratifying brunch. (We’ve seen them mysteriously packed at like, 7:15 in the morning — it’s insane.) Luckily, it’s summer, which means they’ll be opening the back patio again, and let’s be honest, if you haven’t crushed a Bloody Mary over some fried green tomatoes on a late Sunday morning in 90 degree weather, you’re not a Mainer. Southern-influenced and cooked to perfection, Hot Suppa is amazing.
703 Congress St, Portland | 207.871.5005 | hotsuppa.com