On a roll: Bite Into Maine prepares Scarborough launch

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SCARBOROUGH — Bite Into Maine, a nationally recognized lobster roll food truck, will open its first brick-and-mortar restaurant just east of the Oak Hill neighborhood.

Bite Into Maine Commissary, at 185 U.S. Route 1 next door to The Egg I plaza, will focus on takeout, but also seat 14 to 16 people. The new eatery will include some twists to its popular menu, according to husband-and-wife team Sarah and Karl Sutton.

The Suttons, who moved to Scarborough from South Portland this summer, launched Bite Into Maine in 2011 in Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park. The couple said they started their business after they tried lobster rolls across the state and thought the variety was lacking.

While the new Scarborough menu isn’t finalized, it will include the lobster rolls the business is famous for, in addition to new and unique innovations, and locally sourced meat, cheeses, bread, and butter. Maine crab is also being considered, Sarah Sutton said.

There will be a variety of  “funky, locally-sourced grilled cheese sandwiches,” she said, “like blueberry jam and brie. … We want to do things a little different than traditionally thought of.”

While no official opening day is set, Sutton estimated the restaurant will be open in the next few weeks. The hours have not been established, but the location will continue to house the kitchen for the company’s food trucks.  

The owners said they hope to attract new clientele from the large number of businesses in the area and expect to have substantial take-out business. 

The new restaurant is being renovated in a traditional New England style, but with a modern feel. The decor includes a lot of white with silver finishes, and incorporates corrugated metal and pops of orange to tie it to the original food truck.

Customers will be able to watch the food being prepared in an open kitchen. 

“It was very important for us to be open so people see what is going on,” Sutton said. “It is almost like getting a behind-the-scenes look.”

Customers got a first-hand peek Sept. 25 – National Lobster Day – at Fort Williams, where a steady line of people watched and waited as Sutton made the lobster rolls. Using a food scale, she carefully measured out 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces of the fresh shellfish, which she scooped onto rolls.

Sutton said the business’ seventh season at the park has been its best so far. She attributed it to good weather, repeat customers, word of mouth and being in the national spotlight thanks to recent print media and television accolades.

Travel & Leisure magazine in May included the food truck in its list of best lobster rolls in New England. In September, Bite Into Maine was featured on the Food Network’s “I Hart Food,” where host Hannah Hart picked the wasabi lobster roll as her favorite.  

The truck menu includes six lobster rolls, from Maine style with light mayonnaise and fresh chives and Connecticut style with hot butter, to more unusual styles that include mayo with either wasabi, curry, or chipotle seasoning.

But there are other lobster rolls not on the menu that are known by repeat customers, such as the “Maniac,” which is a hybrid combination of the Maine style with mayonnaise and “Picnic” style with coleslaw. The “Rachel” is a variation of the Connecticut style, but with chives and extra butter. The business also makes lobster rolls to order.

The Cape Elizabeth park trailer, with views of Portland Headlight, will remain open through the last Sunday in October. This summer the couple launched a second truck, a larger Airstream, which they park at the outdoor beer tasting area at Allagash Brewing Co. at 50 Industrial Way in Portland. 

The couple hope the seasonal food trucks will remain a part of the landscape for a long time to come.

“The location is so awesome,” Sutton said about Fort Williams. “We want to be here as long as they let us. We want to be here forever.”

Sutton said she and her husband are also excited about operating Bite Into Maine year-round in Scarborough.

They will be “taking it up a notch,” she said, but promise to keep the business “Maine-centric.”

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or msochan@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Sarah and Karl Sutton, owners of the popular Bite Into Maine food truck, will open a restaurant in the next few weeks called Bite into Maine Commissary at 185 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough.

Sarah Sutton, co-owner with husband Karl of the popular Bite Into Maine food truck and the soon-to-open Bite Into Maine Commissary.

Sarah Sutton prepares lobster rolls inside the Bite Into Maine food truck at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth.

Customers line up at the Bite Into Maine food truck at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth.