Pretend you’re in a camp mess hall and brave the crowds at the bustling Maine Diner, which is regionally famous for serving well-loved New England comfort food like seafood chowder ($6), lobster pie (market price), and crab cake sandwiches ($6.95). Though it may look like a tourist trap with its adjacent gift shop, its 30-year history, loyal clientele of locals, and vegetable garden set it apart from the average roadside spot.
Grab a seat on the outdoor patio at Pedros, a Kennebunk newcomer from the owners of local favorites Pier 77 and the Ramp. Take advantage of the daily happy hour specials (3–6 p.m.) like $5 margaritas and $3 fish tacos, but also try the more unusual braised mussels with grilled chorizo.
Sip the area’s best handcrafted cocktails at 50 Local, a causal bistro that manages to be farm-focused without feeling pretentious. The lineup changes daily (you’ll find a list of the day’s ingredients and their provenances on a floor-to-ceiling blackboard), but you can count on truffle-oil-laced macaroni and cheese ($10) and the burger topped with aged Cheddar ($10).