When people travel, they often like to sample the authentic flavors of the places they visit. Well, you can’t find a more authentic Maine establishment than Karen’s Hideaway on Rte. 27 in Boothbay.
Conveniently located for tourists right on a main artery to the ocean and all the coast has to offer, don’t blink or you might miss it! After Shore Hills Campground, keep watch on the left. Karen’s food trailer is across the road from Adams Pond and parked next to the Maineiac Fresh Seafood shop. This is where she gets the ingredients for many of her delicious offerings.
We found Karen’s a couple years ago when we were hungry after a long walk on the ocean-side trails that abound on Cape Newagen, also called the Boothbay, Peninsula. Being an epicurean adventurer, I’m always ready to try a new place to eat. My husband Tim’s motto is “I can get a hamburger anywhere.” We were both very pleasantly surprised at the amazing food served up by this humble kitchen.
You know the seafood is going to be super fresh. It is caught daily and brought over to the lunch wagon from next door. I ordered the crab melt basket and Tim got the burger basket. If you ever go to Karen’s don’t make this same mistake unless you are extremely hungry–lost in the woods for a week hungry. The baskets are served with an overflowing heap of the best french fries around. They are thick, crispy outside, and soft inside with no trace of oiliness. I can’t believe we managed to eat all those fries except once you start, you just can’t stop.
Tim’s cheeseburger was comprised of 12 oz of fresh ground beef on a big, soft bun. He put it all away! My crab melt was made with two pieces of Texas toast from the grill, stuffed with an obscenely generous amount of fresh crab barely held together with mayo, and topped with melted swiss and American cheese. When I’m feeling really adventuresome I get the crab melt with bacon, lettuce and tomato, so yummy! The fries in the photo below are just a small portion of the total provided.
On the side are served a choice of Karen’s pineapple coleslaw ( I usually skip the coleslaw, but not this one, it’s divine!) or her loaded baked potato salad. I can’t find enough descriptors to do justice to the deliciousness of the spud salad! It is filled with cheddar cheese and bits of bacon with hints of real baked potato in the skin and sour cream. Since Tim doesn’t like anything with mayo on it, I get both the sides, yay for me!
You place the order at the window with Karen, a gregarious lady with a ready laugh and sharp Maine wit. When we told Karen our trip to Boothbay was an anniversary celebration, she confided that she and her husband had been married even longer than our 35 years. I suspect her husband runs the seafood shop. Ordering is done from a laminated menu. Be careful to specify whether or not you want a basket or you will be inundated with fries! One basket meal provides plenty of fries for two.
While the food cooks, patrons enjoy the authentic Maine atmosphere up back behind the trailer where several tables with umbrellas are arranged in a small clearing in the woods. A resident chipmunk will keep you company. Note the proximity of one table to the portable outhouse, dining at its finest for the tough Maine natives who happen by. The wall of a nearby shed has been painted with a scene from the Boothbay coast, it’s almost like eating right at the shore. When your number is called, your meals are presented on a tray for ease of transport back to the picnic table.
After such a satisfying repast, we are usually ready to hit one final hike before heading home. On our last visit we enjoyed a stroll on the Cross River Preserve trails and were rewarded with this view of the Cross River.