UPDATE 2011: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.
I think my kids and I are here to eat lunch. My kids know we’re here to eat the roast-on-your-table S’mores that we keep hearing about, and they’re clever enough to placate me with promises of eating a proper meal beforehand. Either way, it’s food and at least they’re eating!
We walk in the door and are greeted by a 5-foot tall stuffed cuddly moose that stands at the entrance. He’s not alone. There are “bear skins” and “deer heads” hanging up everywhere around the place, all of the Teddy Ruxpin variety. The walls are wood paneled and there’s a cute, woodsy feel in here—sort of like visiting Mickey Mouse’s cabin retreat.
The restaurant has counter service, so we place our order and grab a table. Along one wall hang daily newspapers that diners are welcome to read; although for those who are more tech-savvy, free wi-fi is available. There is a gas fireplace that sits in the middle of the dining room and I can envision this being a nice place to warm up during a snowy afternoon.
On The Menu
The kids’ menu offers burgers, grilled cheese, hot dog, mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders and also has a couple of seafood options including fried native shrimp or haddock. The kids’ meals which range from $3.95-$5.95 are served with french fries (except for the mac-n-cheese) and a small drink of fountain soda or juice (yes, they have apple!).
I happened to be doing the “Vegetarian Challenge” that week, so my dining options were a bit limited and unfortunately there’s only one meat-free option on the menu. The rest of the menu offers specialty burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups or fried seafood. The prices seem pretty reasonable with most items hovering between $6-$9, and the seafood or larger plates being around $12.
The food arrives and the kids’ mac-n-cheese appears to be the microwave kind and is served rather simply in a bowl, although my son couldn’t care less and immediately goes to work devouring the entire thing in three minutes flat. Unfortunately, the mac-n-cheese doesn’t come with a side dish (although you can add a hot dog on for an extra $1) and he mentions that he’s still hungry after it’s all gone. My daughter ordered the fried native shrimp with fries and the shrimp taste surprisingly fresh (I thought for sure they’d be the frozen stuff). My veggie wrap is full of crisp vegetables and when I actually get a bite with the “red pepper spread” that comes on it, it’s delicious. The other bites are pretty dry and basically it’s a wrap with veggies in it. Zzzzzz.
Now for dessert, which is really the only thing my kids have been focused on since we arrived. For $2.95, you can order S’mores and cook them right at your table! A full-size Hershey’s chocolate bar, four graham cracker squares and two marshmallows on a stick are served on a wooden tray with a “fire” in the middle (think potted flame ala PuPu Platter). My kids are enthralled with roasting their marshmallows and look blissfully happy as they bite down into this treat normally reserved for the outdoors. Unfortunately, one order comes with only two marshmallows. There are three of us. Rats. Good thing there’s plenty of the chocolate bar left over for mom!
What’s The Damage
For two kids’ meals, one adult sandwich and an order of S’mores, our bill rings in at about $22. To make it really affordable, visit on Sundays when Kids Eat Free or on Mondays and Wednesdays, roll the dice with your check (hit snake eyes and whamo, everyone eats for free!). I thought the food was OK, but the restaurant’s atmosphere (and, uh, the S’mores) is what we enjoyed the most. Mainiax Café also has a large selection of Gifford’s Ice Cream at the front counter (and outside take-out window), so next time we may just stop in for dessert or a rainy mid-day treat. They are also open for breakfast, although not sure how well S’mores go with egg sandwiches. Who cares, S’mores go great with everything!
The Bottom Line (based on a five-star rating):
Distraction Offering: ???? (they have crayons, but who needs ‘em—there’s so much to look at here!)
Atmosphere: ???½ (down-woods feel with plenty of whimsy)
Food: ??½ (would have appreciated the kids’ meals to offer a healthy side alternative to french fries)
Affordability: ??? (pretty middle of the road; Kids Eat Free on Sundays)
Service: ???½ (it’s counter service so there’s not much interaction, but our food was ready quickly)
8 Market Place Drive (right off Route 1), York ME (207) 363-3500
Have you been here before? Tell us about your experience!