Brave a congested trip through scenic Camden’s Main Street at this time of year*, destined for points north, and you’ll remember passing by Mt. Battie Takeout at least dozens of times. The unassuming forest green wood paneled seafood stand doesn’t exactly scream its presence along the side of Route 1, blending in seamlessly with the surrounding pine trees with very little in the way of signage. In fact, if it weren’t for the big pink ice cream cone-shaped sign, proudly announcing (and rightly so) the presence of locally-made Shain’s ice cream, you might sail right on by.
*Seriously you guys, isn’t it time to at least consider installing a traffic light over at least one of Camden’s bizzaro intersections? I assure you, it’s not going to kill your carefully cultivated vibe. But taking 20 minutes to creep slowly through town, dodging remarkably overconfident pedestrians and at least one dog wearing a yellow rain slicker, is putting a serious dent in mine.
The two picnic tables located roadside at the front of the building give a false impression of the amount of seating here; in addition to ample parking alongside the building, there are additional tables tucked under the shade all around the building. The menu at Mt. Battie Takeout is small, the plastic slide-on letters tightly focused on the few items that can be best produced from such a small, one-to-two person kitchen based mostly around a big deep fryer and a few warming stations, including clam chowder, a perfectly respectable cheesesteak, and a few token burgers and hot dogs.
Pricing is reasonable, particularly for an area where passing tourist traffic must account for a large segment of customers. There are a few tricks-of-the-summer-trade being employed here, particularly on the lobster roll, where using a smaller bun and adding shredded lettuce is a classic way to make a few ounces of lobster meat appear much more Instagrammable. Still, at $16 and featuring some of the freshest whole-claw and knuckle meat we’ve had so far this summer, the lobster roll is a success by any standard.
However, if you’re at Mt. Battie Takeout, you’re probably here for the main event: Acres and acres of perfectly fried seafood, topped off with a scoop of some of the best widely-available ice cream in Maine. Fried seafood baskets are served traditionally, with coleslaw and french fries, and include big, fleshy fillets of fresh haddock, tender piles of craggy whole-belly clams, delicate scallops, or any combination therein for prices starting at just $9.99. The portions are generous, and the attention to frying impeccable; clams are never overcooked, fry oil is fresh, and all of the seafood selections are coated in a shatteringly crisp light crumb coating that never overpowers.
If there’s one thing that will soothe a stomach filled with hot fry batter and briney sea monster flesh, it’s a rich, locally-made ice cream.
If there’s one thing that will soothe a stomach filled with hot fry batter and briney sea monster flesh, it’s a rich, locally-made ice cream, and Mt. Battie Takeout is proud to serve one of the best. Shain’s of Maine is produced in Sanford, and offered in an array of unique flavors splashed with local sensibilities, including “Maine Caramel Sea Salt” and “Mudslide,” made with coffee brandy, Hydrox cookies, and a swirl of marshmallow Fluff. A scoop of the creamy stuff will set you back just a couple of dollars at Mt. Battie Takeout, and represents the perfect end to a postcard-perfect summer lunch in Midcoast Maine.
Mt. Battie Takeout; 247 Belfast Road (Rt. 1), Camden, Maine 04843; (207) 236-6122; Facebook