To A1 Diner We Went: There and Back Again

Yesterday, on a gray day perfect for going out for lunch, we went to A1 Diner in Gardiner. (Thanks, Shannon and MIke for the gift certificate.)

A1, as it is locally called, really is a diner car, perched on the edge of a rather steep drop-off.


Like the outside, the inside of the diner is a trip back in time. Need I add that this is one of our favorite places in central Maine?


The food is fresh and tasty, and oh, the fries!


The chicken sandwich was pretty darned good, too.


After lunch, we went to Craft Beer Cellar, where we used yet another gift certificate. (Again, thanks Mike and Shannon.)



As Clif is the one who likes beer—I’m more of a cocktail kind of woman—he perused the selection while I chatted with John, the owner of the store. We talked about Gardiner’s main street, how it has gone from being a street with too many empty store fronts to a bustling place with many businesses, which, for now, are thriving.

“The city has been very supportive,” John told me. “None of us would be here without that help.”

Take note other little towns in central Maine, especially those with a less than thriving main street. I’m not going to mention any names. Seeds of growth must be watered and fed before they sprout, and too many town councils are penny wise and pound foolish. (For more about how Gardiner promotes businesses that are apt to stick around, click here to read this piece by

Then it was back home again, where I discovered that the small swamp up the road was finally free of ice. Would there be peepers come nightfall?


No, but there were plenty of clicking frogs. Surely the peepers will soon be singing their spring song.

22 thoughts on “To A1 Diner We Went: There and Back Again”

  1. How pleasant it is to be able to chat with the owner and place the experience in the context of community. It’s a lot more than just a dining experience. Almost a good as being there myself.

    1. All right, Judy. Ask and you shall receive. Here is what Clif bought: Warsteiner Dunkel (West German barley malt); Baxter Brewing Stowaway IPA (from Lewiston, Maine); Brooklyn Lager (for some reason brewed in Utica, New York rather than Brooklyn); Old Chub (a Scotch ale brewed in North Carolina). And Clif wanted me to add one of his favorites that he didn’t buy this time: Peak Organic IPA, brewed in Portland, Maine.

  2. Peepers! We’ve had them for several weeks now. I love riding down the road & getting to a wet spot & hearing them. “Peepers!” I yell, to the dismay of my car mates.

    1. Jodie, I feel exactly the same way about peepers. In central Maine, they have not awoken yet.

  3. We have two old diners locally that look like this, unchanged since I was a kid (gazillion years ago, hehe).
    With the latest cold front, the peepers I heard out front have gone back to sleep. Back to winter for a couple of daysโ€ฆthe warmth was nice while it lasted!

    1. Eliza, spring seems to have taken a break. Come back, come back! And, love those old diners.

    1. Brenda, that’s for sure. Very cold and brisk in central Maine today. No peepers yet. Sigh.

    1. Carina, peepers are tiny fogs that live in wet areas. They have a high-pitched trill, and their song is the sound of spring in the Northeastern United States.

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