CAMDEN—Patrons looking for your garden variety dogs and burgers will be pleasantly surprised to see what’s on the menu at the newly opened roadside takeout shack just outside Camden Hills State Park. Deirdre’s Roadside, co-owned by Chef Ean Flanagan, former owner of Ebantide and Kenny Corson formerly of the catering/banquet department of Point Lookout, are putting out an elevated comfort food menu with the emphasis on high quality, eclectic tastes.
After only being open two weeks, the owners said people are not just discovering them as they drive by, but their Facebook followers are also going the distance just to try the food. Already out of the gate, the hot sellers are the smoked slow-roasted pork Cubano sandwich—roasted for 16 hours— followed by the Bahn Mi. The Duck Confit Empanadas are another delight.
“I cook the thighs and legs for about 12 hours so it falls apart, cook it down and make the empanadas ourselves,” said Flanagan . “It comes with traditional Spanish beans and rice with sauteed onions, garlic, and spices. This is my passion. I’m taking my French training and updating roadside food.”
“People are very happy to see an eclectic, interesting menu, especially those folks who’ve never come by here,” said Corson. “They’re raving about the food and people have been back again and again in the very short time we’ve been open. We’ve already built a very good community.”
Speaking of burgers, the Roadside Burger is dressed up a bit on Flanagan’s menu. “I take an 85-percent chuck six-ounce burger and form into a hand patty, put a bourbon bacon marmalade on it, along with a fried egg and local cheddar cheese, then serve it with truffle fries,” said Flanagan. "People are shocked; they take a bite and tell me it’s the best burger they ever had. ”
He’s also bringing back Ebantide’s famous pork cheek po-boy, a 12-hour roasted pork cheek with fried green tomato served with a mustard gastrique.
They also do ice cream and custom shakes and located at the bottom of the menu is “The Obligatory Lobster Roll with Salad”—something for the tourists.
“We’re doing a Gypsy street food theme,” said Corson. “We just want people to come, have a nice time. We always have music playing; we’re happy to chat through the window.”
The decor is not the only colorful element of Deirdre’s — named after Flanagan's Irish grandmother. [See related story of Ebantide’s culinary inspirations]. Corson decided he wanted his tattoo of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” painted on the opposite garage wall. So, armed with multiple cans of spraypaint, he did the artwork himself.
Given how late in the summer season they just opened, the time to reap a profit is growing short. “We’re going to stay open definitively until October 15, but if the demand is high enough, we’ll attempt to go longer into November,” said Corson.
Woodward said fans of the Facebook page will see perks for following their page. “We’ll have a special menu for locals with a special code phrase you can ask for,” said Flanagan. “I love the locals and we’re doing this for the community.”
Dierdre’s will be open six days a week, except on Mondays. For more information follow them at Deirdre’s Roadside.
Check out Pen Bay Pilot’s Outdoor Dining List—the only comprehensive list published in the Midcoast.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org