Review: Francine's

By BRIAN DUFF  |  June 10, 2011

Adding to the Maine theme-park element were the locals we met that afternoon on the hill, who seemed to refuse to tell us where the restaurant was. One told us it was in a hotel. The other claimed not to eat in "downtown restaurants." Hiding a treasured local spot from tourists: How cute! How Maine! It seemed like another charm of Francine. But it made us wonder if maybe there is a darker side to the fairy tale: like maybe working-class Mainers can't afford to eat at upscale restaurants? Like maybe the coast of Maine developed as a relatively expensive and inaccessible theme park for rich people from Boston and New York? Maybe I just overheard a grandfatherly man brazenly hit on that adorable hostess in front of his wife? Maybe those friendly prisoners were quietly miserable?

All theme parks have a dark side (except maybe Storyland). Earlier, on the hill, with the day growing late, we had kept moving eastward beyond the summit believing we could find an even better view. We asked another hiker and she wondered why we didn't just appreciate the one in front of our eyes. Good question. At least leaving Francine we were certain we could not have found a better meal — a good indication that this restaurant transcends even the overabundant charms of the Maine coast on a gorgeous day.

Brian Duff can be reached at

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