January 17, 2022
Yesterday I took a ride up to Freeport, Maine for my first visit to the L.L. Bean flagship store. I bought a pair of pants. I also stopped at the tavern across the street, Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern. Linda’s grandfather founded L.L. Bean, and you can see the tavern from the widows of his humble shop, a two story brick building with a big porch on the second floor. We ate in the upstairs dining room which had exposed brick walls, a small area with a couch and some chairs for longing, a long bar with a couple of TVs showing sports, and ten or fifteen tables.
The menu brags that the chowder is the “Freeport chowdah champion.” I don’t know if that is a real thing or if it is a much more humble version of “world’s best” that you see on so many menus. Either way, given the size of Freeport it really isn’t that impressive, nevertheless I thought I would give it a try. It was a good chowder, not too thick but with a heavy amount of clams.
Next I tried the haddock sandwich which claimed to be a melt. I expected bread griddled with my fish and a lot of cheese in between. This was not at all the case. By melt they simply meant that it had melted cheese on it. Despite their poor ability to describe it, the fish sandwich was very good. Served with housemade potato chips, I chose to have the the fish fried and topped with Swiss cheese. To finish the sandwich I gave it a hefty squirt from the provided lemon, a good schmear of tartar sauce, and a few spoons of the side of coleslaw. I really enjoyed the sandwich, but it was definitely not a melt.
This was my first trip to Freeport, and I am sure there are other restaurants in town, but if you want something easy and a thirty second walk from L.L. Bean, head across the street to Linda Bean’s. Just don’t rely on the menu descriptions too much.