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15 Reasons to Love Biddeford and Saco's Growing Restaurant Scene

But don't call it the new Brooklyn.

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Many a Portlander has heard friends to the south extol the virtues of neighboring Biddeford and Saco, and they're not wrong: rent's cheaper, space is abundant, and excellent food and drink are returning to these once depressed mill towns, due in part to spillover from Portland's competitive restaurant scene. Between newcomers and downtown classics, Biddeford and Saco are now on the map for proper dining and drinking opportunities. Here are 15 spots to convince you of that.

Pro tip: while not a restaurant, Rabelais Books now calls Biddeford home, and it's a crucial stop for any culinary bibliophile. Note: map points are listed north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Barreled Souls Brewing

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Barreled Souls brews unique beers, tapping lesser-known styles with oddball ingredients like apples, cinnamon, cucumbers, dried hibiscus flowers, or even bacon. Settle into the cozy tasting room, a respite from busy Route One, and prepare to expand your beer horizons.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Up & Up

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This dark, vintage-themed bar gets its name from the two flights of stairs you traverse on your way in, but also the phrase "on the up and up." The owners are winning customers over with cheap cocktails and welcoming "living room" environs replete with books, video games, and an outdoor porch.

Rapid Ray's

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Rapid Ray's, a staple on Saco's Main Street since the 1950s, delivers fast food the way you want it: with a side of nostalgia and none of the icky politics of multinational corporations. The menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, and onion rings is simple, just the way you imagine life in the good ol' days.

Quiero Cafe

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This newly-opened café in Saco offers Latin American cuisine like empanadas, burritos, and tamales. Smoothies and tropical juices contribute to the warm-weather vibe. Plans to open a second location in Portland are underway.

Rover Bagel

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Rover Bagel returns to Biddeford after the owners briefly moved to greater Boston. Making wood-fired bagels with flavored cream cheese spreads, Rover Bagel has been enthusiastically welcomed by the locals.

Night Moves Bread

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Baker Kerry Hanney set up shop in a mill building baking sourdough bread using locally-grown grains. The bakery also produces a few sweets like brownies with rye sourdough starter and Mexican chocolate. Preorder online and pick up on Saturdays at the bakery’s takeout window (items available without preordering too).

Elements

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The tagline of this friendly shop tells you everything you need to know: "books, coffee, beer." Browse new and used books while you sip on a house-roasted coffee or one of the eight local beers on tap.

Round Turn Distilling

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This craft distillery is home to Bimini gin, a lighter style gin that works well in tropical cocktails. Enjoy one on the weekends in the tasting room, sparsely laid out with communal tables and a record player housed in a retro cabinet.

Banded Brewing Company

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Located in the Pepperell Mill building, this brewery's open-concept tasting room has an industrial feel, a good view of the production equipment, and games like foosball and ping pong. Open daily for growler fills and samples of beers, which are a mix of classic and cutting-edge styles.

Palace Diner

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Envy Biddeford, home to the breakfast and lunch experts at Palace Diner, where pillowy pancakes, crispy hash, crunchy chicken, and a decadent burger have captured the hearts of diners. If you haven't been, go.

Lorne Wine

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This wine bar/bottle shop has a serious selection of wines, and owners Carson James and Erin Sheehan keep it accessible with a fun and approachable attitude. Wines by the glass, beer, and a small menu of quirky pub snacks (like cheeseballs) are available.

Time & Tide Coffee

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Owned by New York transplants, one of whom is a 20-year coffee industry alum, this coffee shop and roastery offers single-origin coffees and blends. With a bright interior lit by floor-to-ceiling windows on Main Street, the shop offers another great option for high-quality coffee in Biddeford.

Chemex coffee, mug, and coffee bag on wooden counter in front of white tile backsplash Time & Tide/FB

Magnus on Water

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After undergoing the ambitious renovation of a gift shop and the adjacent public park, this Biddeford cocktail bar and restaurant opened to crowds in late January 2020. Chef Ben Jackson, formerly of Drifters Wife serves up a menu of small plates, while former Elda bartender Brian Catapang crafts inventive cocktails.

Pizza by Alex

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This Biddeford institution has been serving pizza and only pizza for over 50 years. The 10-inch pies are Greek-style, meaning a thicker crust with cheese to the edges, creating a crunchy topping on the crust. Cash only.

small pepperoni pizza with Coke cups in the background Pizza by Alex/FB

Coletti's Pizza Factory

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Serving Neapolitan-style pizza, Coletti's is unassuming in a rennovated house on Route One in Biddeford. The no-frills "dining room" (it's take out only) sports a few bar stools, a drink cooler, and a TV tuned to Italian news. The cheese and sauce laden pies have a chewy, blackened crust, with toppings like salami and eggplant in addition to the standards.

Barreled Souls Brewing

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Barreled Souls brews unique beers, tapping lesser-known styles with oddball ingredients like apples, cinnamon, cucumbers, dried hibiscus flowers, or even bacon. Settle into the cozy tasting room, a respite from busy Route One, and prepare to expand your beer horizons.

Adam H. Callaghan/Eater

Up & Up

This dark, vintage-themed bar gets its name from the two flights of stairs you traverse on your way in, but also the phrase "on the up and up." The owners are winning customers over with cheap cocktails and welcoming "living room" environs replete with books, video games, and an outdoor porch.

Rapid Ray's

Rapid Ray's, a staple on Saco's Main Street since the 1950s, delivers fast food the way you want it: with a side of nostalgia and none of the icky politics of multinational corporations. The menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, and onion rings is simple, just the way you imagine life in the good ol' days.

Quiero Cafe

This newly-opened café in Saco offers Latin American cuisine like empanadas, burritos, and tamales. Smoothies and tropical juices contribute to the warm-weather vibe. Plans to open a second location in Portland are underway.

Rover Bagel

Rover Bagel returns to Biddeford after the owners briefly moved to greater Boston. Making wood-fired bagels with flavored cream cheese spreads, Rover Bagel has been enthusiastically welcomed by the locals.

Night Moves Bread

Baker Kerry Hanney set up shop in a mill building baking sourdough bread using locally-grown grains. The bakery also produces a few sweets like brownies with rye sourdough starter and Mexican chocolate. Preorder online and pick up on Saturdays at the bakery’s takeout window (items available without preordering too).

Elements

The tagline of this friendly shop tells you everything you need to know: "books, coffee, beer." Browse new and used books while you sip on a house-roasted coffee or one of the eight local beers on tap.

Round Turn Distilling

This craft distillery is home to Bimini gin, a lighter style gin that works well in tropical cocktails. Enjoy one on the weekends in the tasting room, sparsely laid out with communal tables and a record player housed in a retro cabinet.

Banded Brewing Company

Located in the Pepperell Mill building, this brewery's open-concept tasting room has an industrial feel, a good view of the production equipment, and games like foosball and ping pong. Open daily for growler fills and samples of beers, which are a mix of classic and cutting-edge styles.

Palace Diner

Envy Biddeford, home to the breakfast and lunch experts at Palace Diner, where pillowy pancakes, crispy hash, crunchy chicken, and a decadent burger have captured the hearts of diners. If you haven't been, go.

Lorne Wine

This wine bar/bottle shop has a serious selection of wines, and owners Carson James and Erin Sheehan keep it accessible with a fun and approachable attitude. Wines by the glass, beer, and a small menu of quirky pub snacks (like cheeseballs) are available.

Time & Tide Coffee

Chemex coffee, mug, and coffee bag on wooden counter in front of white tile backsplash Time & Tide/FB

Owned by New York transplants, one of whom is a 20-year coffee industry alum, this coffee shop and roastery offers single-origin coffees and blends. With a bright interior lit by floor-to-ceiling windows on Main Street, the shop offers another great option for high-quality coffee in Biddeford.

Chemex coffee, mug, and coffee bag on wooden counter in front of white tile backsplash Time & Tide/FB

Magnus on Water

After undergoing the ambitious renovation of a gift shop and the adjacent public park, this Biddeford cocktail bar and restaurant opened to crowds in late January 2020. Chef Ben Jackson, formerly of Drifters Wife serves up a menu of small plates, while former Elda bartender Brian Catapang crafts inventive cocktails.

Pizza by Alex

small pepperoni pizza with Coke cups in the background Pizza by Alex/FB

This Biddeford institution has been serving pizza and only pizza for over 50 years. The 10-inch pies are Greek-style, meaning a thicker crust with cheese to the edges, creating a crunchy topping on the crust. Cash only.

small pepperoni pizza with Coke cups in the background Pizza by Alex/FB

Coletti's Pizza Factory

Serving Neapolitan-style pizza, Coletti's is unassuming in a rennovated house on Route One in Biddeford. The no-frills "dining room" (it's take out only) sports a few bar stools, a drink cooler, and a TV tuned to Italian news. The cheese and sauce laden pies have a chewy, blackened crust, with toppings like salami and eggplant in addition to the standards.