Review by: Michael Stern

When I visited the St. John River Valley in Maine to attend the annual Muskie Derby and Ploye Festival, old-timers directed me to Dolly’s (formerly Una’s) for chicken stew and ployes. From the road, Dolly’s doesn’t look special; and the menu, at first glance, appears to be a roster of straightforward diner cooking. But next to the cash register is a hot griddle and a pitcher full of ploye batter, ready to pour. Ployes are a farmhouse tradition around here: crepe/pancakes made with buckwheat batter, served as a side dish for mopping up supper’s gravy or in a stack along with maple syrup or molasses at breakfast. Dolly’s ployes are butter-yellow with a faint green tinge created by the buckwheat (which is botanically an herb rather than a grain) and they arrive three by three too hot to handle. They are a just-right companion for the kitchen’s marvelous Acadian chicken stew, which is crowded with large pieces of meat, nuggets of potato, and little free-form dumplings plus a measured scattering of herbs.

Waitress Bernice Michaud, who has been at Dolly’s forever, asked if I had ever tasted the kitchen’s cretons. “Huh?” said I. Bernice hurried back to the kitchen to fetch a ramekin full, then stood watch in eager anticipation as I spread some across a hot ploye. Similar to pate, cretons has a foreboding visceral appearance and is as rich as fatback, but Dolly’s version is bright and flowery, a refreshing burst of unexpected spices, including cinnamon. “Everybody has their own little secret for the cretons,” Bernice said with mischievous glee in hopes she would have the opportunity to refuse to reveal what goes into Dolly’s.

What To Eat

Acadian Chicken Stew




Dolly’s Recipes


What do you think of Dolly’s?

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