June 29, 2019
Marcy's Diner 47 Oak Street Portland, Maine 04101
Well, it’s been a while. Lots of “stuff” going on that had my attention for a while. Things are starting to find their new normal now. I also came across an absolutely wonderful hole in the wall, so I though it time to start sharing again.
I discovered this gem last Saturday morning during a stroll in Portland, Maine. I’d never been before, and heard a bunch about it from other pilots.
The regional jet gang I used to share a crashpad with a few years ago had mentioned this airport and layover several times. They all seemed to love flying the visual approach that lands to the west. The constantly changing flight path comes in over some gorgeous terrain and shoreline. Unfortunately for me, it was dark and overcast when we arrived, so we flew a straigh-in instrument approach almost to minimums.
The next morning, I finally got to appreciate the area, when I left the hotel. It was as scenic as they said, AND this diner was a huge find along the way.
The place was hopping–a dozen or so folks standing outside as I walked up. Fortunately for me, I was solo, so I was quickly seated at the breakfast bar, with a perfect view of the cook and griddle. I was about to get a front row seat to food excellent in Marcy’s Diner.
I got several evil looks as I was escorted to my seat, but as soon as I tasted the food, those glances became very easy to ignore.
The restaurant had a good mix of locals and visitors. The staff also payed special attention to the kiddos. The atmosphere was classic diner with great tunes on the sound system. A very relaxed vibe as artists like Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac filled the air.
As I sat hovering behind the cook, I watch a good cross-section of breakfasts prepared and plated. French toast, pancakes, burritos, eggs of all kinds, and muffins…OH, THE HOMEMADE MUFFINS!
I settled in on the Hobo Hashbrowns with two eggs, sunny side up on top — a huge pile of freshly cooked hash browns were blended with an array of peppers, onions jalapeños, and cheese. I was hungry, but it was a challenge. I probably should have ordered a half-order. But then again, it was soo good I didn’t care.
It wouldn’t have been so bad, had I not seen one of the giant homemade muffins being prepared for someone else. They looked so good! They were pulled from the oven, cut in half, had some butter spread on, and then warmed on the griddle next to the good lookin’ (and great smelling) pancakes & French toast. (See Pictures!!)
All will power was lost, and I ordered the last “special of the day;” a caramel-apple piece of heaven. OOOOOOOHHHHH!!!
Mandy, seemed to be expediting and directing traffic behind the counter as she prepared the muffins, pancakes, and French toast. The cook, Julian, was grooving to the tunes, and pumping out plate after plate of good looking dishes.
Both were extremely friendly and willing to talk to the guy who obviously wasn’t from around this parts. My Chicago accent still pops out from time to time, and it was easy to tell I wasn’t from Maine (or anywhere near New England).
As I watched in amazement, I started to notice the care and attention both were giving to the prep. Most dive diners I’ve been in are good, but tend to be on the greasy-spoon (literally) side, when it comes to preparation. Not here. Both were constantly tidying up, wiping down, and changing gloves. My family used to be in the meat market business, and I recognized some of their solid practices to make sure there wasn’t any cross-contamination, and insure quality control.
The food all came off of the two griddles, and yet the tastes were distinct and fresh. It was some of the best diner grub I’ve ever had, and I let them know that.
I sat there for just over and hour cleaning my plate, and wasn’t once pressured to hurry up and make room for the next customer. Customer service was A+. The overall experience was A++. Mandy and Julian both invited me back, and I guarantee I will go again when I get this layover. Heck, I’d even go there on a day or two off to see more the sights in the greater-Portland area, and just to eat there again. Marcy’s is that good!
I encourage you all to get to Marcy’s Diner. Bring a huge appetite, and cash. No plastic accepted. The prices are reasonable, and well worth the ATM fees.