Fisherman’s Catch serves reasonably priced seafood in a classic Maine seafood shack environment. Photo by Meredith Goad

While we may still get a few more summerlike days before the calendar says it’s actually autumn, Mother Nature has once again flipped the switch between seasons. There’s a new chill in the air, especially when the sun goes down. Time to get moving on all those “one last time” activities before the leaves start falling. That includes a visit to a coastal seafood shack before they all close for the season.

That’s what I decided to do over Labor Day weekend, when I drove to Wells Harbor to visit Fisherman’s Catch. I got there around 3 p.m. for a late lunch, figuring I’d beat the Labor Day crowds that way. It worked. The place was still really busy, but a few tables were available and the hostess seated me right away. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio, and a take-out window that seemed to be humming with customers.

The haddock sandwich at Fisherman’s Catch comes with fries and coleslaw, and costs $10.99. Photo by Meredith Goad

The restaurant will close for the season in mid-October, so you still have a good month to get there. It’s right down the road from the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm, which offers lots of fall activities, so you can make a day of it. On Saturday, for example, the farm has a mushroom walk with a naturalist scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, ending just in time for lunch. Other programs scheduled for the second half of September cover topics such as sustainable fisheries, photographing the night sky, and ferns.

Fisherman’s Catch offers plenty of options for the diner on a budget. And the service, at least for me, was great. My server, Kaitlin, checked in with me often, even though I had a smaller tab than the surrounding tables full of Massachusetts tourists splurging on lobster. She brought out my food fast, and when it was time to leave and I asked for a lid for my raspberry lemonade, she not only brought me what I needed, she offered to fill the cup so I’d have something to drink on the drive home.

Lunch began with a cup of clam chowder for $4.99. The chowder is thick, but not wallpaper-paste thick, and has a great clam-to-potato ratio. I was expecting the usual spoonful of potatoes with every bite, but got mostly clams instead; the kitchen didn’t skimp on the seafood. I also ordered a fried haddock sandwich, which came with fries and coleslaw for $10.99. The sandwich, which came on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato, was huge – and sloppy to eat after adding  tartar sauce. But it arrived hot, and stayed hot until I finished my chowder, and the fish was not greasy in the least. The fries still had some skin on the ends, and were crunchy outside, creamy inside. But as good as they were, I confess to jealously eyeing my neighbor’s housemade onion rings. And I promised myself that next time, I’ll order one of the tantalizing lunch specials on the board that combine scallops with fried fish or clam strips (along with sides) for $16-$18.

Other sandwiches included a footlong shrimp and clam strip roll for $13.99. The restaurant also sells soft tacos filled with haddock, shrimp or lobster; seafood combination plates; and lobster dinners.

Photo by Meredith Goad

The decor is seafood shack chic. Every table gets a Mason jar filled with cutlery; a trio of condiments in squeeze bottles; a tin pail filled with wine and dessert menus; and Corona bottles filled with salt and pepper. The restaurant is covered in lobster buoys and signs hanging from the rafters that say things such as “Fishermen gather here” and “Beer & Crabs.” My favorite kitschy decorative item was the cartoonish lobster hanging above my table, holding a roll of paper towels. When my haddock slid out of its bun one too many times and I found my fingers covered in tartar sauce, my first instinct was to look around the room for my server so I could ask for napkins. For a couple of seconds, I was puzzled why they wouldn’t have napkins on the table. Then I remembered the lobster dangling over my head, and I tore off a paper towel or two.

It made me smile.

 

 

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