Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Finding outdoor table space for the legion of Page One employees, however, is not. Outdoor eating? Sure. Outdoor eating at a certain time? No problem. Outdoor eating at a certain time for 14 people? Portland, we have a problem.
Rivalries was our best bet for finding some coveted outdoor seating for the triple crown Friday Lunch. It was a lunch of new beginnings (I hope they keep me!), new beginnings in Rhode Island (Erich will be missed), and birthdays (Scott’s 21st birthday, I assume). They were the only game in town that didn’t scoff at a very large seating request and gave us decent odds for utilizing their spacious patio area. And we would have gotten away with the patio if it wasn’t for those pesky futbol fans.
The worst part, and only real negative to report, was the lack of outdoor tablespace. Once we had resigned ourselves to the upstairs, a great meal with fun coworkers began. Considering the party size, our server was certainly on her game. Drinks were offered and refilled often, which is all you really need from a pub. While it was hard to mess up a beer pour, some of the cocktails were a little on the weak side. If your drink is called Hawaiian Punch, I would expect a harder hitting drink. Responses to the Rivalries experiences were good, but not a redefinition of what it means to be food.
We started with the sweet chili chicken fingers and honestly, the chicken could have been an acceptable meal in terms of both size and flavor. Elise liked the chicken fingers enough to use amazing twice as a descriptor, possibly a few more times. Despite our large party, there were more than enough chicken fingers for everyone. I might or might not have eaten the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. The table also shared a round of fried pickles, which were among Portland’s best. The pickle chips, the only pickle format worthy of frying, stayed battered and hot for the short time they were on the table. Scott’s birthday BBQ burger met flavor expectations and nearly won the battle to finish, but he rose to the challenge and conquered his meal. It’s possible that Becky found a new salad joint based on her grilled chicken Greek salad experience.
For my meal choice, it was a simple answer, “Yes, of course I want the fish and chips.”
I was very impressed with the filet of haddock; golden brown on the outside, flaky and juicy on the inside. Between the fish, fries, coleslaw, and fried pickles, I had to ration my appetite carefully. I did my best, and left at least a few pounds heavier. I will definitely return to Rivalries during the next Bruins playoff run based on my experience.
It is important to note that the advertised price of onion rings on the Rivalries website is $6,899, but they are significantly less expensive when you order in person.
Most-Favorited Dish: Chicken Fingers
Honorable Mention: Fried Pickles
About 80% of Page One employees would enthusiastically return to Rivalries.
Words Used by Our Team to Describe the Experience:
Address: 10 Cotton St., Portland, ME 04101
Hours: Monday-Saturday – 11:30am-11:00pm
Sunday – 11:30am-10:00pm