Earl's Steak Sandwiches, Dover, New Hampshire

Hands down, one of the most talked about and raved about places (including a Phantom Gourmet feature) for a good steak and cheese sandwich over the last few years was hands down Earl's Steak Sandwiches, formerly located at 99 Oak Street in Dover.

That was, at least, until what felt like out of absolutely nowhere in mid-December 2023, Earl's suddenly closed with absolutely no explanation, simply just a message on Instagram that said, "Closed, Sorry Folks! Be Right Back."

The questions of what happened, where Earl's went, and if the popular spot would ever be back continued to go unanswered -- at least, until an unexpected post in the Dover Eats group on Facebook mentioning Earl's return suddenly appeared.

The return of Earls! From an unlikely iconic Dover joint! April 1 2024

And that "unlikely, iconic Dover joint" has been a hotspot for dancing, karaoke, and outdoor drinks overlooking the Cocheco River during the warmer months for years.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Castaways Boathouse, Dover, New Hampshire

The iconic spot mentioned in that Dover Eats post on Facebook was none other than Castaways, which overlooks the river in Dover by George's Marina.

It's a unique spot, bringing in a lunch and more "professional" crowd during the workday, but also a younger, more "party" crowd in the evening, especially weekends, due to their live music, karaoke, and dancing.

READ MORE: Here Are 5 Spots Kim Kardashian Should've Visited While in Maine

According to speculation in the comments section of the post in the Dover Eats group, the two businesses were planning to operate as a combination, with rumors of members of the Earl's staff becoming part of the kitchen at Castaways.

Philly Cheesesteak

April Fools' Pranks


Although most residents knew there was a chance the re-opening could be a joke, considering the listed re-opening date of April 1, 2024, there was still hope that it was just coincidence and deliciousness would return to Dover.

And while it hasn't been fully ruled out that this could happen and Earl's could make a comeback inside of the walls of Castaway's, as of this writing, there's been no mention of Earl's being available or re-opened there yet, and the "Closed, Be Right Back" message on the Earl's Instagram remains.

Phantom Gourmet via YouTube
Phantom Gourmet via YouTube

Hopefully, it's just a matter of time.

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Thanks to our great listeners we were able to compile a list of many of Maine's great restaurants, cafes, pubs and bakeries that are worth a long drive to get to.

These great spots can be found across the state and waiting for you to give them a try.

How many have you been to?

Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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