Shine On

When it comes to Orono, we're total townies. But even we have to admit, it has the weirdest dining and retail scene of any college town we've visited. It's like the whole town woke up one morning and was shocked to discover there's a university here with more than 11,000 students.

This would explain the relative lack of bars, bookstores, boutiques, ethnic restaurants and restaurants that aren't pizza parlors or pubs. For a while, we had a head shop that also sold sex toys and swords, which was great if you wanted a bong, whip or scimitar, but otherwise useless. One morning, we drove by on our way to get a coffee and it was closed for good. Shocking.

Lately, though, there's been a new energy in town, and we're quite sure it has to do with a few young entrepreneurs. We've already rhapsodized about the cocktails at Woodman's, owned by Mark Horton and Abe and Heather Furth. And pretty soon the Furths will open Verve, serving coffee and pastries, burritos and smoothies. We're also regulars at Studio, the all-handmade boutique run by fashion designer Jessi Sader. But today, we're going to talk about Harvest Moon Deli (owned by Horton's wife, Mary) because we've eaten lunch there for two straight days and if we weren't on the road all day today, we'd probably make it three.

First of all, it's about freaking time Orono had a real deli that offers something other than a sub roll as a bread option. Sorry, but Subway in the Irving station just isn't our idea of a crave-worthy lunch. However, the Steel Pulse (a turkey reuben, paninified) with a cup of cold cucumber-dill soup is. All of the sandwiches are named after bands or performers — the Ella Fitzgerald (bacon, spinach, tomato and mozz with pesto mayo) is a favorite.

Second of all, Harvest Moon is super chill. It has a bit of a hippie vibe. This can be a bit of a problem if you're in a huge hurry at lunchtime, but trust us, it's worth the wait.

Last but not least, it's the type of place that attracts — gasp! — college students. Next thing you know, someone will open up an Indian place or, God forbid, a late-night diner in Orono.

Nah. That's just crazy talk.

Harvest Moon Deli is located at 18 Mill St. in Orono. For more information, visit the Web site or call 207.866.3354.


Mimi said...

Can not WAIT for Verve to open up! I've been dying for a burrito and smoothie joint to open up around here since moving back to Maine from years living in Boston and New York City. THANK YOU smart entrepreneurs out there! You've made one "townie" very happy.

Admin said...

I think this is my favorite post of yours. Saucy, funny, nice edge, great read.

Your soon-to-be-neighbor. Sort of.

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