Down East 2013 ©
If you grew up in Yarmouth, as I did, Handy Andy’s (actually called Andy’s Handy Store) was most likely your favorite shop in town. An ice cream store in the summer with tons of penny candy to hold you over for winter, this store has been on the corner of Main Street and East Elm since 1935.
The space next door has not inspired that kind of longevity. At least not yet. But that might change with its latest inhabitant: the very satisfying Deer Run Tavern (365 Main St, 207-846-9555, http://deerruntavern.com /). I was there a few Saturday nights ago when a young girl popped in with her mother. The mom was greeting some friends at the bar, and the girl was carefully holding onto the doorknob.
Her impatient voice chimed, “Are you ready, Mom?”
“We’re off to get a piece of candy,” explained the mom to her friends. And they rushed out the door.
As much as a piece of candy sounded good at the time, I was quite content with the offerings where I was.
The Deer Run Tavern is run by owner and chef Cliff Peterson. He moved in back in June of 2007. (He ran a restaurant in Key Largo, Florida for twenty-three years.) The restaurant’s motto says it all: “Yarmouth’s little restaurant with the big taste.”
It is little — about thirty-eight seats. But in the summer the back deck is open, and the eight-seat bar is a nice place for locals to cheer and chow while watching the sports game du jour.
The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus (which are all available online) convey that this is a local diner — but it’s not without its surprises. Breakfast (only on the weekends for now) offerings include everything from an Andouille sausage omelet to chocolate chip pancakes to Green Eggs and Ham for kids. For lunch, try a fried oyster poor boy or the very popular Key Largo fish sandwich. For dinner you can get everything from a Philly cheese steak to fried shrimp to pork tenderloin with black beans and goat cheese. Their signature dessert might be more for Miami than Maine, but who doesn’t want a piece of good key lime pie to make you feel, at least for a couple of minutes, like it’s not the dead of winter outside.
That evening, as the many other times I’ve stopped in, I couldn’t pass up their delicious burger (Cliff grinds the meat fresh every day). Whatever you do, don’t miss the onion rings, which are made from scratch to order. That night they were also doing their weekly Fish Fry: all-you-can-eat fried, boiled, or blackened plus two sides for 12.95. (On Thursdays its all-you-can eat tacos with rice and beans for 7.95.)
Here’s a tip: if you go on the weekends for breakfast you’ll get a complimentary basket of honey biscuits (AKA deep fried goodness). They are sinfully yummy.
The Deer Run Tavern is open 11:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Tuesday through Friday. 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. on weekends. It is closed on Monday.