The waterfront diner has become a Portland institution since opening in 1991. Sure, the tourists have discovered it, but it's the local blue-collar crowd that you'll find there when the doors open at 4 a.m.
Becky's Diner, which is equally popular with dockworkers and visitors, is the opposite of a snooty PDX brunch spot. You'll get delicious food—and no BS. It's been featured everywhere from Gourmet to "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." You can't go wrong with their blueberry pancakes.
Sometimes you just want breakfast, right? Becky's fits the bill—when it's not overflowing with people who had the same idea, that is. No-nonsense, open super-early (or super-late, depending on whether you're a fisherman or...22 years old), and known for serving straight-up diner classics with a begrudging smile, this tourist mecca on Hobson's Wharf is also looked on quite affectionately by locals. The muffins have quite a good reputation, and the lobster omelette is an out-of-towner's dream. We happen to think the pancakes are damn tasty.
Gourmet Magazine, Oct 1999
"A Slice of Diner Heaven"
To say Becky's is a friendly place only hints at its sociability. If you are a newcomer and walk in the door after 5 a.m., by which time the long counter is packed and most of the old green-upholstered booths along the wall are occupied, you may think you have suddenly been swallowed up in some sort of predawn party of ravenous coffee hounds. The chatter is boisterous, flying across the aisle from stool to booth, booth to waitress, and waitress to cook by way of the kitchen pass-through.
"Hi, hon!" comes a greeting from halfway down the central aisle, where a waitress with a pot of coffee in each hand gestures toward an open booth with the certainty of an airport ground-handler guiding a jet to its gate. We slide onto sprung-spring seats, and before the cushions stop hissing under us, two coffees hit the table - thick china mugs with spoons already planted in the brew.
Clattering out the kitchen window at a staggering pace come well worn plates heaped with hash browns and fried onion squiggles, eggs sunny-side-up shimmering with butter, split sausages still sputtering from the griddle, and hot muffins the size of a tomcat's head. As the staff speeds through the brightly lit, low-slung diner, in Portland, Maine, the aromas of a hash house at full tilt waft over us.
The smoking of tobacco in restaurants was outlawed last year, but there is nonetheless a haze in the air at Becky's - a mouthwatering swirl of hot spuds and juicy breakfast sausage, steam rising off pancakes as butter melts across their surfaces, and coffee always brewing. If you're still a little tired as the day begins, walking into Becky's is a friendly thanks-I-needed that slap in the face. You have entered nothing short of diner heaven.
At the doorway, a board lists the muffins of the day (there are always three). If you order one, you will be asked if you want it warmed or grilled. The latter is the wanton way, and irresistibly good: Cut in half and buttered, your muffin is cooked on the griddle until it is crusty and has a well-seasoned hashery savor. Another notable breadstuff is Becky's locally baked Italian bread. Thick slices are dipped in batter to become French toast or are simply toasted as crunchy egg companions. Becky's hash browns, which accompany egg breakfasts, come in several configurations, from regular griddled cubes to "loaded" (mixed with peppers and onions and blanketed with cheese).
Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 700 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More
by Jan & Michael Stern
To say Becky's is a friendly place only hints at its sociability. If you are a newcomer and walk in the door after 5 a.m., you might think you have suddenly crashed some sort of predawn party of ravenous coffee hounds. Becky loves her varied clientele. "No matter who you are 'out there,' when you walk into Becky's Diner, you are one of us," she says. "Side by side at my counter sit fishermen and captains of industry, college professors and paranoid schizophrenics. They talk to each other and they talk to those who work here. We are all family."
The breakfast menu includes homemade muffins, French toast made from locally baked Italian bread, and "loaded" hash brown potatoes, which are mixed with peppers and onions and blanketed with melted cheese. There is a full array of the usual breakfast sandwiches, and one sandwich that isn't usual at all: peanut butter and bacon. "I guess it's a breakfast sandwich," Becky chuckled. We love the "Titanic omelet," loaded with all three breakfast meats, cheese, onions, and peppers, and accompanied, preferably, by Portland's favorite morning breadstuff, toasted Italian bread. Home fries come plain, with onions, with green peppers, with cheese, or with all of the above.
Lunch and supper are swell. Baked beans and franks is as classic a platter as you'll find anywhere is New England, as is the frequent special of pot roast, which is basically an old-fashioned boiled dinner. We've savored hot turkey plates, seafood chowder (every Friday), fish and chips, and Italian sausage sandwiches, as well as handsome slices of Becky's jumbo layer cake.
Amazon has their guide here.