There’s a funky lunch place on the corner of a couple of busy roads in Rockland, Maine called Hazel’s. It consists of a small house where you place your orders and a bunch of picnic tables by the side of the road. If you’re looking for scenic dining on the beach, this is not it, but if you want consistently good food Hazel’s is what you want.
I’m crazy for crab rolls, that along with fried clams and lobster generally make up my Maine diet. On the first day we went to Hazel’s (mostly because one of our other favorites was closed), I ordered their crab roll. It came on a split top hot dog roll, buttered and toasted, with a mound of crabmeat and just enough mayo to hold it together—heaven! Frank had a spicy sausage with hot relish, spicy mustard and grilled onions, which was a wonderful combination and the perfect balance of onions, mustard and relish.
Once you could pry us away from the sausage and crab rolls, another surprise was how good their fish and chips were. Perfectly fried, with a nice crisp coating and tender, flaky haddock, it sets a high standard for other fish and chips (i.e. you will be disappointed after you’ve had Hazel’s).
Onion rings were sold out on the first couple of times we were there and at the end of our stay, we found out why. Once again, perfectly fried, breaded but not loaded down, these were the first onion rings using big slices of onion that I’ve liked in a long time.
There are burgers, if you want to stray from seafood, and they’re good. We never explored the hot dogs or vegetarian side of the menu and it wasn’t until the last day, when I felt that I was severely lacking in green vegetables that I went for one of the chicken dishes—grilled chicken over a garden salad with blue cheese and bacon. They managed to make white meat chicken (my least favorite part) tasty and tender—not an easy accomplishment. The salad was just what I needed.
For those who know me, you’ll be shocked to find out that I never tried the fried clams, but it gives me a reason to go back—right?