On my several week road trip along US Route 1 in Maine and up Canada Route 1 in New Brunswick we stopped off in Calais to check out the International Festival. The Festival itself was a bust, and the "good" restaurants in town all tourist traps, but several locals, when pressed for where they went to eat good Maine eats, mentioned the New Friendly Restaurant in Perry, Maine about 20 minutes south of Calais on Route 1. Perry bills itself as halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, since the town is situated exactly on the 45th parallel.
We stopped by the place for lunch and it was mostly a glorified diner. The service wasn't cordial or great but the food was. Out of all my years trying fried whole belly clams at a myriad of places they were the absolute best ever. Just a light coat of batter and big, fresh, clean and succulent fried clams that burst in your mouth with juice and sweet briny flavor. Finest Kind For Sure. I also had the fish chowder which was a nice if light rendition, not thick or gloppy and full of fish and potatoes. My traveling partners had burgers and raved about them for days afterwards. Nice sized without being overwhelming and juicy and tasty with a meaty, smoky flavor. The Cole Slaw was that tangy, creamy, slightly sweet, Maine style slaw and again the best I've ever had.
If you are ever up this far in Down-East Maine and are looking for some of the best old style New England chow this is the place.
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