When Meredith purchased her copy of Where Chefs Eat, the first thing she did was flip to the pages about Maine and make a mental note of the thirteen locations – a number of which we’d already visited, and a few which we’d yet to go. Third on that list was Sam Hayward’s breakfast recommendation of Boynton-McKay Food Co. in Camden, where one finds “the finest doughnuts in Maine, totally unencumbered by surface gloop or inner sludge. Plain and perfect.” A Sam Hayward recommendation, Camden, breakfast, doughnuts? Sounds like a perfect recipe for a Map & Menu breakfast.
There’s just something about local breakfast spots that always bring a smile to my face. Growing up, almost every Saturday my dad would take me to our town’s local diner – Mozingo’s – where the owner greeted you by name from the grill when you walked through the door, the waitresses knew your order by heart, and conversations with friends in the booth next to yours could make breakfast a morning-long event. Boynton-McKay has just that home-grown appeal when you step in off the streets. Maybe it’s the century of history as Camden’s pharmacy, evident in the original shelving stocked with vintage bottles and tools, the spontaneous conversations between neighbors at the booths and window seats, or the inherent trust in remembering what you ordered as you checkout at the counter, but every part of Boynton-McKay felt wonderfully welcoming and familiar, even though it was just our first trip.
The other essential part of every local breakfast spot is of course, the food. At the back of the restaurant, under the blackboard menu, Meredith ordered a skillet breakfast with eggs, home fries, jack cheese, and fresh vegetables, and I went the fresh buttermilk pancakes route with real maple syrup, turkey sausage, and two of those absolutely amazing homemade doughnuts. My pancakes were amazing – thick, plate-sized, and spongey enough to soak up every last savory drop of maple syrup – just the way I like them. Meredith gobbled up every bit of her skillet breakfast, and those doughnuts disappeared in almost record time. Although I felt like I could sit and stay for the entire day, we were ultimately in and out in less than an hour!
One of the saddest parts of always thinking about the next place to Map & Menu is having to move past the ones you’ve already visited. I think that Boynton-McKay will have to be the exception to the rule however, because now I can’t even begin to imagine a trip to Camden without a breakfast here.