Despite the sophistication of Anju’s Asian noodle dishes, the atmosphere is family friendly.
Photographed by Sara Forrest
In 180 paces (we counted), you can traverse the nucleus of Kittery’s snug Foreside district, passing eight restaurants, a whole-animal butcher, an import market of Euro delicacies, a dim craft-cocktail bar, and a coffee shop with the best vibe (and crullers) for 50 miles in any direction. None of it was there in 1986, when Michael Landgarten took over Bob’s Clam Hut on Route 1. The pioneering restaurateur (he also owns that coffee shop, Lil’s Café, along with Robert’s Maine Grill) spent the next 25 years watching Kittery bob on the tides of shipyard layoffs and proliferating outlet stores, but it long lacked a civic and gastronomic heart. Today, he says, “Foreside is that little nub that makes for a true center.” The nub has knockout grub, from embellished comfort food at The Black Birch to fragrant, complex ramen bowls at Anju Noodle Bar. And Kittery’s epicurean uprising isn’t limited to Foreside. “The identity of Kittery used to be ‘We’re not Portsmouth,’ ” Landgarten says, “but now we’re our own thing. We’re a force.” And if you’re eating your way across town, a tour de force.