After an unusually pent-up spring, Shore Road Restaurant & Market in York offers an inviting place to finally get a taste of summer. Photo by Bob Keyes

Even though the weather was cold and overcast, it felt good to get outside and get a taste of summer. After being cooped up and eating in since March, I decided to eat out on my first extended work outing. It was completely spontaneous. I finished interviews in Ogunquit, then headed south on Shore Road toward York, opting for a slower, scenic route back to my home office in Berwick.

Where Shore Road intersects with Route 1A in York sits Shore Road Restaurant & Market, painted red. With its “open” flag flying and an array of freshly painted red picnic tables spread across the property, the restaurant caught my attention. I responded to my instincts by pulling my car into the gravel parking lot.

I had not planned on lunch and had no interest in testing my comfort level when it came to public food consumption, but grabbing a quick bite suddenly felt like an adventure, and a safe one at that. There was no one else seated at the tables and no other cars in the lot. The door to the market was propped open. It seemed like an invitation, so I stepped in.

A woman behind the counter wore a full face shield, and customers were separated from the counter by a plastic partition. The cook wore a mask that covered his mouth, and he adjusted it to cover his nose and mouth when I walked in. I was the only customer in the store. I grabbed a root beer from the cooler and paused only for a few moments to consider my options before ordering a haddock sandwich ($12.99).

The fried haddock sandwich for $12.99 is based on a nice thick filet of fish. Photo by Bob Keyes

I was enticed by the lobster roll for $10.99, advertised prominently on the sign out front. That’s a good price at any time, and I had a good feeling about Shore Road Restaurant. But I stuck with the haddock.

The woman behind the counter took my order, ran my debit card and told me it would be just a few minutes. She was very pleasant, and the entire transaction, from the time I entered the store to stepping outside to await my food, was two minutes, tops. I didn’t feel exposed or unsafe or otherwise vulnerable. I felt the market and its employees were doing what was necessary to make me comfortable – no small task these days. And admittedly, this was one brief interaction that occurred without anyone else in the market.

I took a table outside. By then, two other parties had pulled into the lot – one woman wearing a mask and two unmasked men. A third masked man arrived soon after. By the time the cheerful counter attendant delivered my sandwich, the restaurant had become much busier.

My sandwich was simple and excellent. The haddock filet was large, extending far beyond the contours of the round bulky roll. It was layered with a thick, fresh tomato slice and shredded lettuce, and complemented with a small plastic tub of tartar sauce and three small wedges of lemon. The sandwich also included a too-small handful of excellent homemade potato chips and a pickle.

The lightly breaded filet tasted fresh, was thick and held up to the rigors of eating a sandwich. It was served in a cardboard box, without utensils, which proved problematic for spreading the tartar. A fork also would have been helpful for the small chunks of fish that broke off the sandwich.

I enjoyed my meal, I felt good supporting a local restaurant and was pleased, and relieved, that my first dine-out experience in three months was stress-free.

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