Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Abstract of Outrdoor Lobster Steamer

For eighteen years four of us traveled up to Acadia at the end of June and on the first night we met at Gateway Lobster for our first lobster of the year. Two years ago we found another Lobster place —one that overlooked Bass Harbor and seemed more 'Down East'. I guess we shifted our allegiance, but there was still an aura about nearing Acadia and seeing the Gateway sign.

After all this was the place that served home made pies. Rhubarb-strawberry cooked by a local woman. In time she moved away and the pies became pedestrian and from a box. At one point the owner of the place constructed a gazebo for dancing and at least once a year she invited an Elvis look alike to entertain the lobster eaters. Music blared over a tinny amplifier and Elvis mimed the lyrics.

For years you had to make a foray outside to find a ladies room and then one year she installed two indoor bathrooms. The owner of Gateways had a store connected to the eatery. Shelves and tables were piled high with cups, stuffed animals, sweatshirts, kitchen ware, baubles. In fact there was almost nothing you could name that didn't have a representative piece on a shelf. Over the years the stuffed items poured out of the shop and ended up on tables in the restaurant until you felt squeezed out by Beenie Babies. The walls were decorated with plaques, paintings, boats and newspaper articles.

One year the flowers from a funeral service ended up as centerpieces on the tables. Another year a cloth stuffed banana tree adorned an entire wall. Through all these manifestations of individual creativity the hard shell lobsters were cooked perfectly and the onion rings were neither too greasy or too salty. For years we bought beers down the road at an IGA and brought them back to the restaurant until the year they received a license to serve beer and wine.

Why then did we switch our loyalty to another place? Perhaps it was because the pies came from a box, or because the tables remaining for patrons was dwarfed by the number of tables for stuffed animals and lobster cups. Perhaps it was because the place was getting that worn down at the heels feel. When she was grand she was very grand and at one time you couldn't beat the rhubarb pie.


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