HALLOWELL — A new tour focuses on Hallowell’s unique history and restaurants, giving visitors and locals a chance to quickly preview what the city offers.

Tour-goers were treated to six stops in Downtown Hallowell: Juiced, The Liberal Cup, Lucky Garden, Scrummy Afters, Slate’s and Traverse Coffee Co. Each spot offered up a small, unique item, some of which were inspired by foods unique to Maine.

The tour is offered by Red Cloak Tours, a Maine-based company that offers tours in a number of Maine towns. Red Cloak has hosted a Haunted History walking tour in Hallowell since 2014, but began the Tidbit Tasting Tour this month.

The tour was developed by Hallowell resident Jodie Bennett, a tour manager at Red Cloak. Bennett said she was inspired by Hallowell’s history and numerous restaurants.

“Hallowell is such a quaint little town,” she said. “I just thought it should be showcased.”

Red Cloak Tours Director Sally Lobkowicz said the tour is not only good for tourists looking to get a preview of Hallowell’s food, but for locals to better understand what once occupied downtown Hallowell, formerly known as Merchant’s Row.


At the Liberal Cup, tour attendees were told that the building was once called Wilson Hall. Bennett said it housed a number of businesses, including a grocery store. Most prominently, the first floor was a ticket booth for a third-floor theater that hosted vaudeville and minstrel shows.

The Cup offered a serving of beer cheese soup, made with mozzarella and one of their in-house brewed lagers. The soup was paired with “Shrimpcargot,” a sautéed shrimp served in a mushroom cap. Bennett said the shrimp were a nod to Maine, despite being fished from the Gulf of Mexico.

Maine’s shrimp fishery has been closed since 2014, but before then millions of pounds were fished each winter. The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Maine fisherman would not be able to fish from depleted fisheries until after 2021, barring another preventative action.

Karen Stultz, of Whitefield, who attended with her husband, Christopher, said she enjoyed the food because she was served a number of dishes she may not order regularly. She said she had been to a few of the locations on the tour, but heard about others from friends in the area.

“We have friends in Hallowell and they say we should go here and there,” she said. “I like to try things first so we can come back for dinner.”

The stop at the Liberal Cup also offered attendees a chance to try a sample of the in-house brews, but Lobkowicz said her company did not want to encourage “a pub crawl.” She said the tour focuses on introducing the food of Hallowell and wanted to be a family-friendly activity for all ages.

The tour runs on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m. Bennett said the restaurants are usually less busy during this time and downtown is less hectic than at night, making it easy to conduct the tour. Stultz said she appreciated the relative quiet around 3 p.m.

“I’ve been down here in the evening when you can’t even hear yourself think,” she said.

Red Cloak Tours was founded in 2007. Tidbit Tasting Tours are also available in Bath and Damariscotta. According to the website, the Hallowell tasting tour costs $49.95 per person.

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