When you were little, you probably didn’t quite appreciate what a big deal your mother was, and continues to be. After all, it was she who wiped your face, she who made you grilled cheese for lunch, she who kissed your boo-boos, and she who wisely told you not to skateboard off the roof. She’s amazing, and you know it. You have everything to thank her for, and even if such love and devotion can’t be measured in material things, you can at least pay her tribute by taking her out on Mother’s Day.
Brunch is the traditional Mother’s Day meal, and with good reason: from the start of the day, it’s all about her. Some like brunch simple, some like it unique, some like it fancy. Whatever your mother’s style is, here are nine suggestions from around the state for late morning-early afternoon nosh. All these eateries are open all spring and summer, too, so even if it’s not Mother’s Day, you still can enjoy what they have to offer. Happy Mother’s Day!
Price guide, based on a meal including beverage
$ — under $8
$$ — $8-$15
$$$ — over $15
The Hidden Gem Brunch
Bah’s Bakehouse, 26 Water St., Castine, 326-9510, $-$$
After a scenic drive through some of the prettiest countryside in eastern Maine, Bah’s Bakehouse is a welcome destination for a quiet gourmet brunch. Bah, the woman behind both the bakehouse and Stella’s, the dinner-only restaurant, is all about variety and flavor. On a given day, there will be a variety of quiches, shepherd’s pie, Thai noodles, loads of soups, deviled eggs, meatloaf and unreal sweets and treats, along with whatever else Bah dreams up. You can sit on the sunshine-filled deck and take in the view of historic downtown Castine, and relish the fact that you found such a great place to take Mom for a treat.
The Deceptively Inexpensive Brunch
Market Bistro, 735 Main St, Bangor, 941-9480, $$
$12 doesn’t always get you far, but at Market Bistro in Bangor, it gets you a doozy of a meal, including an entree, a side and tea or coffee. Entrees can be anything from risotto or crab cake Benedict, an array of frittatas, or breakfast pizzas. The smoked trout hash in particular is a superb, savory treat — Duck Trap smoked trout and the Bistro’s signature seasoned potatoes, topped with a fried egg and garlic cream sauce. It’s locally sourced, it’s presented beautifully, and you’re left wondering how such an elegant, filling meal could be so inexpensive.
The Mom and Pop Brunch
Helen’s, 28 East Main St, Machias; 255-8423, $
Breakfast and brunch can be fancy and even intriguing, but sometimes you just want to keep it simple. That’s why Helen’s in Machias has been a family favorite for decades. Homemade French toast and pancakes, eggs made fresh, bacon, sausage, fruit, yogurt, biscuits, homemade bread and muffins, juice and coffee. As they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The only thing more comforting is a hug from your grandmother, who will love it if you take her to Helen’s on Mother’s Day.
The Splurge Brunch
Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn, 83 Bay View St, Camden; 236-7008, $$$
If your mother deserves to be treated like a queen then take her to Natalie’s at the Camden Harbor Inn. Executive chef Geoffrey Deconinck pulls out all the stops for this reservation-only brunch, served in the luxurious Camden eatery. Try the roasted chicken roulade with herbes de Provence. Smoked salmon, fresh-made waffles and house-made granola are on the menu, too. On the buffet are things such as lemon grass-poached cod with coconut rice and house-made beef pastrami. You can treat yourself to Viennoiseries, chocolate mousse and lemon tarts. Have a mimosa. Ooh la la, ma belle mere.
The Big Buffet Brunch
Lucerne Inn, Route 1, Dedham, 843-5123, $$
Now this is an epic brunch. They don’t mess around at the Lucerne Inn — your good old-fashioned bacon, eggs and pancakes are served up alongside an array of roasted meats, such as turkey, prime rib and ham. There’s plenty of fresh fruit, shrimp, poached salmon and fresh-baked goodies, too. It’s served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday, so keep your tummy empty before arriving. Regardless of the season, the view from the dining room is worth the price of admission.
The Vegetarian Brunch
Chase’s Daily, Belfast, 338-0555, $-$$
This James Beard Award-nominated eatery is notable for many things, but one of the biggest is that it’s totally vegetarian. All of the produce is grown at their farm, the fluffy pancakes seem to float away on sweet clouds of maple syrup, the coffee is imported from Puerto Rico, and short of actually having the chickens in the restaurant, the eggs are as fresh as possible. You won’t even notice there’s no meat. And you can admire, amid the pleasant chatter of the brunch crowd gathered, the bounty of gorgeous vegetables for sale in the back. Fresh from Maine never tasted so good.
The Single Best Item Brunch
2 Cats, 130 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, 288-8595, $-$$
The omelets are great, the granola is house-made, the Equal Exchange coffee is brewed perfectly, and cute, inquisitive cats greet you as you arrive. But what’s really special at Bar Harbor brunch hot spot 2 Cats are the buttermilk biscuits with strawberry butter. The biscuits defy the laws of both baking and of science by being dense and fluffy at the same time. When slathered liberally with loads of fresh strawberry butter, you need only to watch your mother smile blissfully as she opts for a second biscuit with no trace of guilt. They’re that good.
The Dim Sum Brunch
Chopsticks, 167 Center St., Bangor, 262-2170, $-$$
You don’t get a lot of dim sum in this neck of the woods, but Chopsticks in Bangor has been serving a traditional Chinese small plates menu from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays for some years now. Dumplings, prawns, potstickers, spare ribs, spring rolls and other little Chinese delights are selected from an array of bamboo trays. It’s easy to get lost in the tantalizing array of goodies. Give the restaurant a call ahead of time to make sure dim sum is on — but even if you decide to order off the regular menu, owner Christine Chou proudly serves healthy, vegetarian-friendly, cooked-to-order dishes.
The Worth-the-Drive Brunch
Bintliff’s American Cafe, 98 Portland St., Portland, 774-0005, $$-$$$
Take a look at the menu at Bintliff’s, and at first glance it appears you can get just about anything you want served Benedict-style. Crab cakes, Andouille sausage, steak, you name it. And then there’s the frittatas, the shrimp with rice and beans, the apple cinnamon raisin-stuffed French toast. There are 11 different kinds of cheese you can have in your omelet. Bellinis, bloody Marys and mimosas are encouraged. It’s brunch heaven.