**This is the second edition of my Eating Healthy Around Town feature!! I hope that you enjoy it!**
When Nate Burke graduated from Hampden Academy in 2008 he hit the road for the University of Maine, Machias to become a Clipper. He played on the basketball team there for four years and met the love of his life – Kayla, a native Downeaster. Eventually the two married and welcomed an adorable baby boy into the world a little over a year ago. Somewhere in there about three years ago – Nate and his dad, Bill decided to bring a legendary Maine eatery to DownEast Maine – Pat’s Pizza.
Many moons ago (about 20 years – Holy Shot) my family and I packed up the old station wagon and pulled out of our driveway in Tuckahoe, New York and I moved to Orono, Maine. I was a wide eyed ambitious college freshmen who could not wait to be on her own and in a whole new place!! Once we unpacked my new dorm room we went looking for some grub is down town Orono. We saw the Pat’s Pizza sign and figured that you couldn’t go wrong with pizza – we were right!! To be totally honest – being from New York – there really is no other pizza than New York pizza. I mean…if you are born and raised in New York there really is no comparison. I highly suggest that if you’ve never tried real New York pizza please but it on your bucket list and make the trip – it’s totally worth it. That being said, Pat’s Pizza makes a really good pizza pie. My dad could not get over the prices and the mom and pop feel to the restaurant.
If you’ve never been to the original Pat’s Pizza in Orono – please also put that on your bucket list. It is an experience. The food is delish – and it’s a real local mom and pop institution. People really come from miles around for their pizza. The truth is – their pizza is really good. It has a thin crust and there is something special about their sauce. In Orono – one of their famous items are the Zingers. Essentially Zingers are chicken fingers served with an outstanding hot sauce…..so good! There are Pat’s Pizza restaurants all over the state – not all Pat’s are created equal…I happen to really love the Machias edition!!
I remember three years ago when Pat’s opened next door to the Dunkin Donuts in town. The anticipation was intense around town. It’s exciting when a new joint opens up in our little hamlet!! Many people were excited to check it out. Since they have been opened I have helped myself and my family to many delicious Pat’s Pizza meals. This time around – I had to figure out how to enjoy Pat’s and make it adapt to my new lifestyle. When my hubby and I went for lunch one day last week after an early release from school (pretty close to a date!) – I figured out that it would be a pretty easy fit!!
OK – to be totally up front – I have not had a piece of pizza since I’ve had surgery. It’s been well over a year and I wasn’t going to start last Wednesday. I know that now that I am on maintenance I could certainly enjoy a piping hot slice of pizza – however, I haven’t really missed it and I did not want to try. One day I will be ready to and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a weird thing with this surgery – I know that I could really only have a couple bites of pizza before I would be too full and uncomfortable. In the past – I could eat an entire small Pat’s pizza on my own. Now, I’m looking for the best bites to keep me full and satisfied. I think I would call this growth!!
The great thing about Pat’s is that there are lots of options. I would consider the food that Pat’s severs to be comfort food. They offer lots of sandwiches – hot and cold subs, fresh salads, and of course main entrees. A bulk of their menu is for the pizza – obviously – this is the main attraction!!! For me – I typically stick with a yummy salad that I can top with proteins. That being said – there were plenty of other options for me at Pat’s…I just have make a could substitutions here and there.
For my Hubby….it’s an easy choice. He almost always goes for the small hamburg pizza. This time around I chose the chef salad. A chef salad is a great option for someone looking to fill up on protein. I asked if I could sub the ham cold cuts for a piece of grilled chicken. My very friendly and helpful waitress said it would not be problem at all. So, I had – turkey, grilled chicken, cheese, and a hard boiled egg. These are great and filling options for me. I even asked for a few croutons on the side and blue cheese dressing. Yes, blue cheese dressing is not the healthiest choice – but I love it and I only use a small amount. I also use the dip method – I do not pour my salad dressing on my salad – I dip my bites into the dressing. The salad itself is SO BIG that I was able to have 3 more meals out of with my left overs.
Are you serious?? Look at that beautiful enormous salad!! I had to ask for a second plate so that I could take out the portion I knew I could eat at the time. The salad was very fresh and the warm grilled chicken make for melty cheese – it was perfect!! As you can see – the Hubby had no complaint about his perfectly cooked hamburg pizza!
When Nate took a minute out of his busy day to talk with me – he was excited about some healthy items that they are considering for the menu. They are looking into making a pizza on one of their sandwich wraps. This would be an amazing low carb option for people living that #lowcarblife. They are working to figure out how long to bake it and the amount of toppings – but hope that it will be on the menu soon. One of the many bariatric surgery pages that I am apart of on Facebook mentions that some pizza joints will make a crustless pizza. I asked Nate if this was something he would be interested in doing. He said of course he would be – I have to admit that a crustless pizza doesn’t sound too appetizing for me, personally – but different strokes for different folks. Nate also mentioned that they could make any wrap a salad and also that some fried options could be offered as grilled. About a month ago – I had a chicken parm dinner from Pat’s. I ordered it with grilled chicken instead of fried and had it over a small salad – HOLY CANOLI was that ever tasty. I also really enjoy the Kayla Salad – which has grilled chicken, bacon, and swiss cheese….so yummy and another high protein option for me!!
Pat’s Pizza is very much concerned with making your dining experience as enjoyable as possible – therefore they are willing to help you out as much as possible! All you have to do is ask and they will accommodate as much as they can!! I found the wait staff to be extremely kind, friendly, and very willing to help with my many questions and special requests. Also – the prices are very reasonable and it’s affordable to take a family of four there for a really good meal. If you don’t want to eat in – they take out is always hot and convenient.
Nate and Bill Burke have really done well to carry on the Pat’s Pizza tradition here in our own little corner of the world. Not only are they making some really great eats – they provide a really great family friendly spot to enjoy those eats. You can watch any game going on one of their many screens and also enjoy some ice cold adult beverages – they even have cider on tap ( a favorite of mine!). On top of all these great attributes – Nate and Bill do a lot in our community. Bill organizes and and has successfully pulled off – for the past two years – the Downeast Lobstah Drop. This event is a wicked fun family oriented New Years Eve celebration that offers lots of different events all over the town. They ring in the New Year with fireworks, smores, a bon fire, and of course – dropping a big beautiful lobster from the top of the Pat’s Pizza building. It’s a fun community building event that continues to grow each year!
If you’re looking for some yummy comfort food that will fit into your healthy eating plans – stop by Pat’s and enjoy something!! I can’t wait to go back and try a wrap pizza!! You can check out their Facebook page here – which is updated with daily specials often. Pat’s is located at 168 Main Street in Machias!! Just like my Product Pop-Ups, I was not asked by Pat’s to do write this post. I am simply trying to eat my way through town as healthy as possible!!