Our final stop on our little whirlwind hot dog tour of Maine brought us to Hoss and Mary’s in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. After soaking in the old New England charm of Portland, the natural beauty of Winter Harbor, and the roadside Maine kitsch of Belfast, the honky tonk beachfront of Old Orchard took us to another place in the Maine landscape.
Hoss and Mary’s is owned by a husband and wife team and operates in the shadow of the last remaining New England shore front amusement park, Palace Playland. The restaurant is much more than a hot dog business and Old Orchard Beach is old school, beach front honky tonk with fried foods, thrill rides, tee shirt shops, and a fantastic beach. We love to soak in the atmosphere in Old Orchard and Hoss and Mary’s fits the bill to a “T.”
Here’s Mary! She runs the front of the house with an acerbic wit and an efficient, but friendly manner.
Here’s Hoss. He runs the back f the house, putting out burgers, fries, seafood, and, of course, hot dogs.
The menu is quite varied at Hoss and Mary’s, but they are known for their burgers.
They even serve breakfast!
One menu item that was particularly interesting to Mrs. Hotdogman was the Poutine. Poutine is a Québécois delicacy. Mrs. HDM, as a Daughter of the Empire, lived in Montreal and Northern Canada as a child and thus was introduced to Poutine at a young age; it remains one of her favorite foods to this day. Poutine is french fries, cheddar cheese curds, and beef gravy- perhaps a more primitive version of chili cheese fries. Poutine “inventor,” Fernand Lachance, when seeing Poutine’s ingredients for the first time, is said to have exclaimed “ça va faire une maudite poutine” (“it will make a damn mess”), hence the name. Old Orchard Beach, amusingly called “the Canadian Riviera” by some (Mrs. HDM and I included), caters to many Québécois tourists in the summer, and thus many food stands offer Poutine. As the world’s most renowned (and cutest) Poutine “expert,” Mrs. HDM wanted to get in on the Hot Dog Stories act by “chowing down” on some Poutine. As I like it too, I was more than happy to indulge her.
We ordered up, checked out the grill, and chatted with some of the patrons while waiting for our food. Everything is made to order (right down to the cole slaw) and Hoss and Mary’s is one of those UN fast food joints: good food, cooked fast.
They used to have an eating challenge; it has since been discontinued. It’s called the “Manimal Challenge.” Here are the guidelines- in case you can’t read the sign:
*You must eat 4 1/2 pounds of food in 20 minutes
* an Ocho Burger- 8 patty cheeseburger with grilled onions and mustard
* 2 slaw or kraut dogs
* a Moxie
* a 1 pound Muther Futcher Milkshake
* You must be 18 years of age with an ID
* You must sign a waiver
* It’s a single person challenge, NO SHARING
* It’s $25 win or lose
* We don’t do challenge 1 hour before closing
* We have the right to refuse any challenge
* If you lose, $5 of your entrance fee is donated to Animal Welfare Society and you receive a parting gift
* If you WIN, you get your picture on the wall of fame, bragging rights, we must address you as “Manimal,” and an awesome tee shirt
I can only venture a guess as to why the Manimal Challenge has been discontinued, I didn’t ask. My bet is they got tired of cleaning up the mess that most likely ensued when someone couldn’t do it!
Before long, Mrs. HDM’s Poutine was ready. She gave it a “10” for appearance.
In keeping with the Hot Dog Stories theme, I ordered up an all beef Pearl frank with mustard, relish, and onions.
Time to CHOW DOWN! Look how intently Mrs. HDM is considering her Poutine.
The hot dog was excellent!
To get Mrs. Hotdogman’s take on Hoss and Mary’s Poutine, check out the video. Enjoy!