Memorable | One of the Best
A short, three-mile detour off I-95 at Waterville, Maine (the most direct route is Exit 132 between Augusta and Bangor), brings you to cheery Winslow, home of Big G’s, the Pine Tree State’s finest sandwich shop. The title of “Maine’s Best Deli” on the outdoor marquee is no shallow claim, for all their loaf bread, muffins, and biscuits are freshly baked on the premises. A wide menu spans the wall above the counter, and it may take you a little while to take in the eighty-plus different sandwich options, including such old-timey favorites as liverwurst, seafood salad, and thin-cut pastrami.
Quite a mighty appetite is required for any meal here, especially breakfast, served from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Three-egg omelettes come in over thirty varieties and are served with inch-thick toast and homefries. Many of the creations are named after celebrities, from the more traditional Bill Clinton (bologna and American cheese) and Paul Bunyan (roast beef, bacon, American, onions, BBQ sauce), to the truly wild Captain Kangaroo (strawberry jam, bananas, dates, walnuts) and Calipso (shrimp salad, Swiss, tomato). Gigantic, two-egg breakfast sandwiches with your choice of meat and cheese, and homemade corned beef hash and biscuits are also featured, as are French toast, Monte Cristo, pumpkin pancakes, and Eggs Benedict.
Lunch and early dinner bring in the densest crowds, and you may have to wait in a fast-moving line. Big G’s serves pasta, fried chicken, and haddock baskets, but the locals come for the sandwiches alone. Unless you desire leftovers, a whole sandwich is out of the question. Travelers would be well served with a half sandwich; those with smaller appetites may want to split a half, and the staff will gladly give you separate trays for twenty-five cents extra. Again, movie/radio celebs and other famous characters vie for attention on the menu: the Mad Max (hot spiced roast beef, muenster, tomato, lettuce), Victoria’s Secret (tuna, cheddar, muenster, hot peppers, lettuce, tomato), and the Piña-No-Colada (cream cheese, pineapple, banana, shredded coconut), all served on Big G’s homemade, mega-thick bread (your choice of white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel). We split the Paul Harvey (turkey, liverwurst, bacon, American cheese, tomato) on pumpernickel, with Swiss cheese substituted for American. Once we squeezed the fat wedge into our mouths, the turkey and bacon immediately set off our tastebuds, with the liverwurst providing a wonderfully smoky undertone to the usual tang of the Swiss. The two of us were completely sated by merely splitting a half sandwich. The whole sandwiches would easily feed multiple mouths, as opposed to fast-food subs costing $4-5 for a small sandwich.
Their French fries, as the sign claims, are “better than the fair,” but we didn’t have room for anything else, aside from splitting a bag of chips. Big G’s chip selection is vast as well, and comes in individual and larger-sized bags. The soda fountain boasts about fifteen different drinks, as well as iced tea and coffee. If you still have room for dessert, plate-sized cookies and head-sized whoopie pies are sinfully seductive. The interior is no-nonsense: carpeted with lots of booths and four-tops with steakhouse-styled chairs. For the adventurous, ten-pound bags of bread ends (heels) are sold for $1, perfect for bread pudding or for feeding flocks of seabirds on your way down the Maine coast.
Directions & Hours
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