Acadia National Park is one of the most most popular national parks in the country and this summer, visitors even remotely interested in food have a new reason to visit. Take the one-hour detour to Stonington, Maine on Deer Isle for a taste of Chef Ryan McCaskey's new restaurant, Acadia House Provisions. In Chicago, McCaskey's Acadiahas two Michelin stars and is the most underrated fine dining destination in the city. Granted, McCaskey won't be serving 12 courses of tweezer food in Maine, but he promises that Acadia House Provisions will have the best lobster roll, chowder, seafood tower, shortrib and buttermilk fried chicken that you've ever tasted.
He's even bringing back the deconstructed lobster pot pie with mashed potatoes and lobster bisque that landed on the cover of Chicago Magazine when Acadia first opened in 2011. While Acadia aims to bring the flavors of Maine to Chicago, diners can now go right to the source during the most vibrant and bountiful dining season. McCaskey has spent summers in Maine since he was six years old and his parents still have a house on the ocean with their own beach, dock and sailboat. His culinary career began here at Goose Cove Lodge and he considers Maine as much his home as Chicago.
“The whole community knows me,” he says. “It's such a special, magical place for so many reasons. As a kid, we would stay for two weeks to a month every summer. The same people booked every year so we'd see the same families. You'd date somebody for a month and then not see them for the rest of the year until the next summer.” As an adult, his summer trips to Maine are therapeutic – an opportunity to unwind from a stressful career and hectic lifestyle, chilling out by a bonfire, taking a dip in the ocean and going on long hikes fueled by wild blueberries picked along the way.