Maine Street Coastal Cuisine: Fresh Seafood in Cartersville, Georgia

Maine Street Coastal Cuisine is located on Main Street in Cartersville, Georgia, but the spelling of the first word hints at the decor you’ll find inside and the fresh seafood you’ll enjoy on your plate.

Location: 24 West Main Street, Cartersville, Georgia

Menu: Diners who prefer something other than seafood can find non-seafood selections at Maine Street Coastal Cuisine, but in every menu category, seafood is the main attraction.

BLT, beet and spinach salads appear alongside kale and arugula with grapefruit and oranges. A burger, roast beef dip sandwich, tomato basil linguini, vegetable stir fry or a butcher cut ribeye are offered as tasty choices for non-seafood lovers, but the possibilities are more wide open for those truly seeking coastal cuisine that hints of Maine.

I can attest to the quality of the trout dip with pita points and the flash fried calamari for starters. Even though raw oysters and baked oysters were on the menu, I followed the “Ol’ Wives’ Tale” that it’s not good to eat oysters in months without an R in the name (August, for example). Experts, however, have told me that with improved harvesting methods and the ease of flying seafood in from a long distance, that old rule is no longer as important. I wish I had tried them.

Every evening for dinner a selection of fish called “Fresh Off the Boat” is listed and can be requested either blackened, grilled or sauteed. Then, the fish is topped with one of five sauces or salsas. The grilled corvina with pineapple salsa I had with garlic mashed potatoes was outstanding. Perhaps the most frequently ordered dishes, however, are fish and chips and shrimp and scallops grits.

My friends and I chose to share a serving of lava cake and salted caramel cheesecake for dessert. Both were good. The salted caramel cheesecake was a delightful new taste in my opinion.

Thoughts: Maine Street Coastal Cuisine opened in September, 2015. Owner John Pettinati brought both his restaurant background and his 15 years of working at Whole Foods stores in Boston then in Georgia to this culmination of a lifelong dream in Cartersville. A friend made him aware of the location, which was formerly called Knight’s 1899 Restaurant, and it seemed to be the perfect spot and the perfect time in his life to move forward.

His original idea was a farm-to-table menu, and, for the most part, he is able to source sausage, ham and produce from very nearby, and his chickens come from Springer Mountain Farms. Pettinati is happy to have purveyors from Atlanta who keep him supplied with the freshest possible seafood.

Pettinati is a huge proponent of serving “clean” foods to his customers without artificial ingredients or preservatives. He also uses sunflower oil for frying and pasta with no GMOs. He makes it a point to greet each diner personally and wants to know if your meal is satisfactory. If it isn’t, he’ll work to make sure it is.

The restaurant is small, but the staff is able to easily serve 200 guests or more each day. The walls are lined with photos of iconic symbols from the coast of Maine, such as lighthouses, crashing waves, and lobsters. It is a few steps from Cartersville’s historic depot, busy train tracks and the World’s First Outdoor Coca-Cola Wall Sign. As expected with wood floors and brick walls, there are a lot of ambient sounds, which make it a great place to share dinner with friends.

Cartersville residents are a long drive from either the Atlantic coast or the Gulf of Mexico, but thanks to John Pettinati and his staff, they can at least dine as if they were watching the waves roll in.

Price range: Starters are $9-12. Soups and salads are $5-6. Sandwiches are $10-16. Fresh off the boat selections range from $20-35, and specialty entrees are $11-21.

Connie Pearson

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