Like most national parks, Acadia’s draw revolves more around its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and unique landscape than its culinary options. But unlike some of the more remote parks west of the Mississippi, the towns surrounding the park offer plenty of local restaurants, breweries, and, of course, seafood shacks and lobster pounds — those casual eateries to enjoy Maine lobster.
While the Jordan Pond House is the only place to eat within park boundaries, nearby Bar Harbor has a number of options, making it the perfect place to base yourself if you don’t mind the summer crowds.
Jordan Pond House — Located on Park Loop Road on the south shore of Jordan Pond, the Jordan Pond House opened as a farmhouse in 1847. Before the turn of the century, the owners were serving tea and popovers to vacationers who came to enjoy the pond — a tradition maintained to this day. Now, visitors enjoy the restaurant’s outdoor seating, which boasts views of North and South Bubble Mountains from across the pond, worthy of a stop in itself.
Where: 2928 Park Loop Rd, Seal Harbor, ME 04675
Side Street Cafe — Focused on traditional comfort food, Side Street Cafe is conveniently situated in the center of Bar Harbor. A true locals’ favorite, you can find seasonal and full-time residents enjoying their renowned lobster mac n’ cheese, build-your-own burgers, and margaritas, making it the perfect place to meet people and experience the local vacation-town culture.
Where: 49 Rodick St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Atlantic Brewing Company — Maine has become a hotspot for craft beer connoisseurs in recent years, and Mount Desert Island is no exception. With its locations in Town Hill and Bar Harbor, Atlantic Brewing Company is the island’s only brewery, offering a wide variety of styles, from blueberry ales to malted porters. The tasting room in Town Hill has daily tours from May to mid-October on a first-come-first-serve basis. Their “Midtown” location in Bar Harbor was designed to experiment with small-batch beers but also has a full bar menu with burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and other easy-to-pick-at eats.
Where: 52 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Beal’s Lobster Pier — Many would say a trip to Maine isn’t complete without boiled lobster dipped in butter (or a lobster roll, for those who prefer the delicacy in sandwich form). At Beal’s Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor, guests pick through freshly caught lobster, steamed and fried clams, and fries while sitting at a picnic table overlooking the harbor. Lobster boats come and go throughout the day as local fishermen unload their catch, creating about as authentic an environment as you could possibly ask for. Beal’s might not be the spot for those looking for a fine-dining atmosphere, but if fresh seafood and a taste of downeast Maine is what you’re after, Beal’s has to be on the itinerary.
Where: 182 Clark Point Rd, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
Cafe This Way — Located on a small side street in downtown Bar Harbor, Cafe This Way is one of the most popular brunch spots on the island. The restaurant’s interior has an artistic and hip feel, with bookshelves and art lining the walls and retro-themed furniture filling the open-air dining area, reminiscent of a cafe you might find in Portland, Oregon. The menu features traditional options like omelets, benedicts, and breakfast burritos (including vegan options), as well as creative takes on traditional meals, like the Cafe Monte Cristo — a breakfast sandwich consisting of fried egg, ham, and cheese served on french toast with syrup. And while it is a popular breakfast stop, Cafe This Way offers a just-as-impressive dinner menu nightly.
Where: 14 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609