FREEPORT, Maine — Where do celebrity chefs dine when on vacation?

For Mario Batali, the no-frills charm of Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Co. in South Freeport fit the bill this week.

On Monday, the famous chef with restaurants in New York, Asia, California and beyond tweeted a photo of fried clams, onion rings and coleslaw from a picnic bench overlooking the Harraseeket River.

“We ate the lobster rolls before I could get the camfone out,” he tweeted to his 500,000-plus followers.

Another tweet, “Dinner tonite near Freeport, Maine?” with a photo of the seafood shack, shed light on this low-key takeout joint.

Manager Brendon Alterio downplayed the celebrity visit.

“It’s no big deal, he just came in. It’s good that he came, but it was nothing preset up or anything,” he said Thursday.

The family-run seafood spot on Main Street has had its share of celebrities in the 40-plus years it has been open, but you won’t find their pictures on the wall.

“We don’t jump out there and bother them,” said Alterio, who said Batali, a co-host of ABC’s “ The Chew,” came in “just as a customer.”

“He came down on his own and had clams with his family. He was minding his own business. We leave people alone,” said Alterio, who has had other famous guests through the years, but would not name names.

“We’ve had a lot of people come through, some famous, some not. We do our best to deliver the freshest seafood and everybody has fun.”

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.