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December 28, 2008

Maine’s Best Burger: The Owls Head General Store

In the undeniably quaint center of Owls Head is a spot of hometown Maine nostalgia. The Owls Head General Store is the town’s focus, where locals meet, fishermen come in for a bite to eat, and fame is discreet. That is, until recently. Now the beloved little Maine store is about to get some big-time, national recognition. We couldn’t be more pleased.

In our recent issue of Maine Food & Lifestyle Magazine, we featured Owls Head General Store in an article titled “The Heartbeat of Two Small Towns“. This article, written by our editoral intern Melissa Leiter and polished by staff for publication, was a sweet look at what we all love and come to appreciate about small towns in Maine: their wonderful people with big personality and heart.

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Jennifer O’Hara, Martha Luttrell, and Jessica Luttrell

We recently took a trip down to the General Store to visit owner Martha Luttrell, her daughter Jessica, and seasoned chef Jennifer O’Hara, to whom Luttrell credits much of her little store’s success. While Creative Director Jim Bazin wolfed down his burger in record time (in fact, I joked with Martha and her crew that I didn’t see him come up for air once), I took time to savor the big flavors. We both proclaimed their burgers to be “outstanding.” Known as the 7-napkin burger, I admit I went through 9 napkins before polishing mine off.

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The Owls Head General Store 7-Napkin Burger

“We bought the store last year from Anne Maher, along with her recipes,” said Martha Luttrell, a lively and welcoming presence at the store’s helm. “Jennifer O’Hara has worked here for years, and has taught me everything. She’s amazing. I didn’t want things to change. We’ve worked hard to keep things as they’ve always been. Customers appreciate that.”

It used to be a local secret, kept close to the vest by a group of Maine’s top foodies, that The Owls Head General Store’s Loaded 7-Napkin Hamburger is THE BEST to be had anywhere in the state. As with all good food discoveries, sooner or later the word gets out and the once kept secret becomes something special to share with the world. This is the path the 7-Napkin Burger seems to be on.

The Owls Head General Store is also famous for bringing the community together year-round. “In the summer, people from here and away come to gather things for picnics at the Owls Head Lighthouse, just up the street. We have dinner nights here all year where we have a packed house for haddock sandwiches, lasagna dinners, and crab and cheddar melts.”

About the recent accolades, Martha beams as she exclaims:  “We are so thrilled about all this. We are all about our little community and this is a big honor for us all.”

Melanie Hyatt is an editor at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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