n the mood for a casual dinner of great pub food and a freshly brewed beer? Or just feel like grabbing a beer or hearing a local band in a social bar atmosphere?You can do both at Gritty's on Fore Street in Portland.
Many times I have been down in the Old Port looking for a place to grab a quick bite to eat in the early evening and have ended up at Gritty's for some nachos or a sandwich and a couple of beers. The food is consistently good and their beer selection changes frequently with different specials from time to time. Gritty's always has their normal brews on tap including Black Fly Stout, Best Brown Ale, and Portland Head Light Pale Ale, but right now they are also offering a Winter Ale, Y2K IPA and soon the fairly new Scottish Ale. I have tried nearly all the beers and have been very satisfied each time. The Scottish Ale and the Halloween Ale are a bit stronger than the others so be sure to slowly enjoy these especially tasty beverages. Right now Gritty's has their Pale Ale on special for $2.25 a pint all the time.
Gritty's offers a wide selection of meaty and vegetarian items on their menu ranging from soups and chili, to pizzas and sandwiches to full entrees. The appetizers are hearty in size and each can easily feed 2-4 people. On most occasions when we've gone to Gritty's we order a couple of appetizers such as the vegetarian nachos ($5.70 half order, $8.95 full order) piled high with cheese, spicy vegetarian chili chock full of vegetables, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions and sour cream, spicy Jalapeno Poppers ($4.95), or Gritty's Chips ($3.25) a generous basket full of waffle cut french fries.
If you're still hungry after the filling appetizers you can build your own 9" pizza ($5.50 plus $.50 for each topping), try a delicious Pesto Turkey Roll Up ($5.95) or a burger made of your choice of traditional hamburger, lamb ($6.95), lentils ($4.95), or chicken in a variety of styles such as Cajun ($5.75 for a regular burger, $6.15 for chicken), Mexican or Italian ($5.95 for a regular burger, $6.45 for chicken). Gritty's also serves several full entrees including Shepherd's Pie and Meatloaf Dinner both for $6.25 or Fish and Chips (6.95). My personal favorite is the mashed potatoes and gravy side dish, a generous cup of chunky mashed potatoes mixed together with a little gravy for a tasty and very filling addition to any potato lovers' meal.
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If you decide Gritty's is the place for you, they have a mug club you can join to get discount prices each time you enjoy their beer. In addition to the beer selection, Gritty's also offers a full bar. Gritty's allows smoking in most of their restaurant but they have reserved a section in the back for non-smokers as well. Don't expect to be seated at a private table with a nice white tablecloth when you go to Gritty's. When I say it is a casual dining experience I mean it! The restaurant is full of long picnic tables with benches. If all the tables appear to be full, don't feel inhibited to just grab the end of someone else's table and share, likewise, be prepared to have others join you!
Next time you are looking for a place to start off your night with a casual dinner or just a place to grab a few beers and hang out for a while, try Gritty McDuff's.
Tracy B. Wheeler is a classical flutist and freelance writer who lives in Portland.