Monday, October 13, 2008

A Quick Visit To Harmon's Lunch, Maine

After boarding a flight to Maine last week with the wife to celebrate our 7-year anniversary, I broke it to her that, "We have to stop for a burger near Portland, one that is in the book." How could she say no? It was on the way and it also happened to be my 4oth birthday.

I'm glad to report that nothing has changed at Harmon's since I visited the tiny burger shack almost two years ago for the book. This visit was not just about checking up on a first-rate burger though. On my previous visit I pulled a burger joint faux pas and needed to make amends.

When I sat down to inhale my first Harmon cheeseburger way back in December 2006 I pushed off the red gelatinous goo that was piled on the bun. Owner Pete Wormell caught me doing this and shouted, "Hey! Whataya doin'!" I sheepishly explained that I, "wanted to try it without all of the stuff on top..." Huge mistake. I had broken my own personal rule to eat the burger the locals eat, no matter how weird. That red stuff was weird but I found out this past week it's also pretty damned good. It's a sweet red relish that goes well with the burger, the cheese, the stewed onions, the mustard, and the steamed bun. It's what everyone seems to order there, including me from now on.

Someone please tell Pete I ate the weird red goo, and liked it.


Jay said...

Happy anniversary, and happy birthday, George!

Hamburger America said...

Thanks much!

DocChuck said...

Well, Mr. Motz, my wife and I will be once again doing the coast highway along Maine's shore on our way to our friends' home in Bar Harbor . . . for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

However, I think that we may have to bypass a visit to "Harmon's Lunch".

Tom Seavey said...

Wasson's Grove is one of those places that has adhered to your memory and prompts you to seek its equal. Harmon's is exactly that. There was a bleak hiatus between Wasson's closing and Harmon's opening up, but all true hamburger mavens made the transition in good--no, elevated--spirits.

There are burger contests across the country, and every region surely has its champs, but Harmon's wins the ticket for the Northeast, possibly for the continent. It's not the beef actually, which is good beef, for sure. Possibly it's the buns--yummy and soft and warm. And in part it's the relish--a proper New England sweet pepper concoction that sets off the mustard. But in the main it's those onions--oh, god, cover me in those onions and transport me to heaven--grilled ever so slowly to bring out a sweetness no onion ever knew it had.

There are people who pass by Harmon's and dismiss it as yet another ho-hum diner. They have small souls and limited horizons. And they don't see me tucking into my third hamburger and grinning like a bastard.

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