Walk down the alley. It will be worth it.

You have to know it’s there, but when you do, you will never forget where to go.

Tucked down a little alley in the middle of Damariscotta, Maine is the place ornamented by a modest, beautifully crafted, ceramic sign. Negotiate three slight, slender stairs and you’re in; the hideaway, Osteria Bucci.

Seven footers need to duck their heads a bit. The hunkered ceiling adds to the charm. Once in, you’re hooked. The smells of Bernie’s wonderful cooking from the kitchen just a touch away will snare you.

It’s small and modest. That’s the point. There is only one table, a “family” table that seats up to ten — perfect — for a book club, a social get together, or just a place to meet friends. Along the walls and around the edges are mementos of Bernie’s mother’s family, the Bucci and Matteo side … mostly pictures, one or two eye-catching objects, an old chair, some posters and a few magazines.

And … a small display of pearl rings (for sale) … made by Bernie.

You can eat in or take your food to go with your one dollar cup of coffee.

Oh yes … the food. Spinach pies to die for, homemade soup like stracciatella (egg drop soup), escarole pie, eggplant parmigiana, sausage bread, pizza slices, lasagna, lemon squares, fig squares, biscotti. cannoli or whatever the whim of the chef. I had the stracciatella, a spinach pie and a lemon square (my favorite dessert).

Plenty. Just enough to make me want to return just to see what his caprice of the day is.

Oh, the cannoli… goodness! Diane shared a taste. So good.

Get there early. Things seem to go fast. And it closes when the food is gone.

No surprise. The place has abundant character, delicious food and, Bernie.

© 2018