When you walk into Pat’s Pizza in downtown Orono it’s almost like walking into a time capsule. The walls are adorned with old black and white photos, the booths look ancient yet comfy and the atmosphere in general makes you feel like you’ll run into an old friend. There’s even a rainbow gumball machine when you first walk in to cater to kids, or in my case, 21-year-olds with a quarter to spare. For any UMaine students who want a taste of scrumptious, greasy pizza and a side of nostalgia, Pat’s Pizza is a must.
Located on Mill Street, you can’t miss the neon “Pizza” sign and smell of melted cheese wafting down the block. Take a seat wherever you’d like and a server will be with you shortly. There’s something to catch your attention wherever you look, but it’s best if you devote your time to reading the menu as deciding what you want will most likely prove difficult.
First and foremost, there’s pizza. Choosing between a small (9”) and a large (14”) is the least of your worries. Pat’s Famous Pizzas include Plain Cheese, Double Cheese, Taco, Combination (mushrooms, pepperoni, salami), Loaded, Hawaiian, Barbeque Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, All Meat, and Vegetable. And we haven’t even gotten to the specialty pizzas. Brimstone (BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, red onion, and chicken), Grazia (pesto, pizza cheese, chopped tomato, artichoke, and basil), Spinacia (fresh tomato, spinach, garlic, pine nuts, and provolone), and Moe’s Pulled Pork (BBQ sauce, cheese, and pulled pork) are a few that caught my eye, but in total there are 12 specialty pizzas to choose from. The smalls cash in at $9.75 and the larges at $18, so these are best ordered to share.
Aside from the classic pizza options the menu still has more to offer. Their sandwich menu offers B.L.T’s, hamburgers and cheeseburgers (and deluxes), chicken filet, grilled cheese, hot dogs, lobster rolls, pastrami, tuna, turkey and veggie burgers, just to name a few. Your choice of a white, wheat, rye, or hoagie roll ensures that your sandwich is just to your liking. The prices range from $3.50 to $7.95, with most averaging around $6. Many sandwiches come with a basket option with fries for an additional few dollars.
If you really want to ramp up a sandwich experience, look no further than the subs. Chicken salad, genoa salad, ham and cheese, roast beef, meatball or hot sausage with cheese, B.L.T., turkey, turkey B.L.T., egg salad, tuna salad, veal, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, pastrami with cheese, steak and cheese or Philly cheese and chicken are the extent of your options. Averaging around $6.50, they’re perfect for lunch.
Pat’s also has an array of appetizers to choose from, ranging from spicy jalapeno poppers to scrumptious poutine. Classic salads are also available and dinner options galore, as well as hearty calzones served with Pat’s special sauce. Desserts include homemade pies, Gifford’s ice cream (single scoop is $2.25 and double is an extra $1), ice cream sundaes, milkshakes and banana splits.
For the full effect it’s best to dine in, although they do offer take out. I tried Pat’s for the first time last Friday around 6:30 p.m., which was the perfect time to see the restaurant in action. Booths were full, conversation was lively and the service was quick and friendly. I opted to try the fried pickles as an appetizer, which came in fried spears served with ranch and was my favorite take on the dish I’ve ever had. I paired it with a classic vanilla milkshake topped with whipped cream and cherries, which was perfect to accompany the pizza I knew I had to order at my first ever Pat’s visit. My personal favorite pizza happens to be mushroom pizza, so when I saw the veggie pizza comes with green peppers, onions, black olives, and yes, mushrooms, I knew it was the one for me. And true to its namesake, Pat’s Pizza delivers wonderful pizza. Piping hot, greasy, and loaded with toppings, I scarfed it up with no regrets.
How I have gone three whole years attending UMaine and never stopped in at Pat’s, I couldn’t tell you. But now that I have I’m certain that my next trip to downtown Orono will be celebrated with another slice of Pat’s famous pizza—and I would highly recommend you do the same.