You may be wondering why we’ve never written about the A1 Diner in Gardiner, a very popular place right here in central Maine. Well, we just figured everyone already knew about this wonderful eatery, which has even been featured on national television and had an entire book written about them.
But then we decided to do it because the A1 really is a special place. The Worcester Diner #790 was delivered by truck and installed at 3 Bridge Street in Gardiner in 1946. It immediately became popular with employees of Gardiner’s factories, who appreciated the large portions and low prices.
The diner still has low prices and large portions, and remains a local gathering place, but today it also draws customers from all over the state and many tourists as well. And while they still serve lots of traditional food, the creative cooks always offer interesting things on the menu.
Mike Giberson started cooking when he was 10 years old. After working in Boston as both a waiter and cook, Mike moved back here in 1985 to cook for his Dad Al, who purchased the diner with his wife Elizabeth in 1979. In 1986, Mike’s partner Neil Anderson joined him here, and they took ownership of the diner in 1988.
Our server Kim warmly welcomed us to the diner and was very helpful in taking us through the extensive menu. They have a good selection of Maine beers, so I started with a Baxter Stowaway while Linda enjoyed a Shipyard Export. My cup of chili ($3) made me wish I’d ordered a bowl. It is very flavorful.