Ruski's Tavern - Portland, ME

F: So, Len goes outside for another smoke and he leaves me and Harry picking up the slack. We’re going slow since it’s just the two of us, but luckily Bill shows up and starts helping out.  So we’re working for a while and Bill asks where the heck Len is. I tell him, “smoke break.” Bill stops what he’s doing and looks at us and says, “Len don’t smoke!”


A: Ned!

N: Did you see what Denny’s wearing?

A: Hohoho Dee’s gonna be mad!


O: Oh just a huge guy. Humongous guy. This guy was a gorilla. And who should sit right down next to him but Hollis.

D: Oh Jesus.

O: Yeah. Hollis sits down right next this humongous guy and asks “What’s cooking?”

D: What does the other guy say?

O: …

D: What did the big guy say?

O: I’m trying to remember. Well darn! I forgot.


V: Dee, how long’s this place been here?

D: Since 1985.

B: So when are you gonna decorate? (raucous laughter)

B: Eggs and rye toast and sausages if ya please!

D: It’s what you have every day!

B: So…

D: So why don’t you just start saying, “the usual.”

B: Because I want eggs and rye toast and sausages!


I would describe the decor as "wharf-chic"

H: You ever watch that show Hoarders?

K: Naw…

L: Please I’m eating...

H: Oh my gawd you have to. These people keep like everything they ever owned.

K: Everything?

H: Oh yeah like newspapers and receipts and food wrappers…

L: Hey! I’m eating!

H: and even some keep like bags of… bags of—

K: Bags of what? Tell me.

H: (Super-loud whisper) Bags of their own poop.

L: Aw c’mon!


D: Young lady, my son could drink before you were born (raucous laughter)


D: How’s the hash dear?

I: Great. Really good.

D: Anything else I can get you?

I: Yeah, actually. Do you have any honey? These biscuits would be great with some honey.

D: Oh sure. (Comes back in a minute with honey in a shot glass with a spoon in it) Here you go, dear.


T: Vin shows up and he’s got no shoes.

J: No shoes?

T: Yeah and we had to go to work.

J: Why didn’t he have shoes?

T: I don’t know. He left them somewhere. I don’t remember.

J: Well didn’t you ask?

T: No I didn’t, that’s not the point.

J: Well why he didn’t have shoes is what I want to know.

T: That’s not what’s funny Jerry. So we try to go to work—

J: Wait. What about the shoes?

T: He didn’t have any! I’m not even gonna tell the story.

J: I’m gonna go ask vin about his shoes.


Morning beers are encouraged.

R: Hey he’s back again!

A: I never left!

P: Aw dude laste night… Me and Jimmy and Steve got all ripped up at Bubba’s.

J: Yeah man, pretty wild. Tell him about Steve.

P: I was about to! So Steve was dancing like an asshole and bam! Knocks this chick. Spills her drink all over. So her boyfriend comes over all mad pissed and started telling Steve, “pay for that. You pay for that drink.” Steve though, Steve is crushed on vodka redbulls so he says “hell no,” you know how he does with stretching out the hell super long.

S: Heeeeeellll no

P: Haha yeah, that.

J: Yeah so Paul goes after this guy out of nowhere—

P: Not out of nowhere. That dude pushed Steve.

J: No! The dude got bumped or something. I don't think he even pushed Steve.

S: I can’t remember.

P: He pushed Steve! He did! So, I get this douche in a headlock and then a group of his buddies comes up outta nowhere.

J: So we all scatter.

P: Just bolt.

J: Steve disappears though.

P: Right, so Steve is fucking gone and these guys chase me and Jim out onto Oxford Street. It’s like two in the morning and I’m still wearing an afro and Jimmy’s got his jean shorts on. The other dudes are dressed in like fake mustaches and mullets and shit. And we get like four steps out the door and we hear the dudes stop yelling behind us and we look and one of them ran into a cop! Coming out the door he just -- bam! -- slammed into a cop walking by. No shit. So we chuck into a side alley and run away. And Steve here, guess what Steve was doing.

S: I was dancing back at Bubba’s! I never stopped!

J: Hahahaha

P: Hahaha like a mad bitch.

J: Classic.

M: Hey guys.

J + S + P: Hey Mark.

M: So, I never heard from you guys last night you get up to anything good?

J: Nah.

S: Not really.

P: No.




3.0 Stars

This is stick-to-your-ribs, greasy spoon, fork and knife-type bar food. The preceding statement was a compliment.


Sidewalk Nickels

Not to say that it’s egregiously cheap, but Ruski’s serves up a full meal at an inexpensive (some would say “dive-like”) price.


Portland Pirates Tailgate

You’re gonna meet some characters here. And if not meet, you’ll hear them. This is actually the most distinct aspect of Ruski’s. It is a local’s local joint. I almost feel bad for going there, as my hipster-y mustachioed countenance is like a foreign bug introduced to a delicate eco-system. As it stands, Ruski’s still has plenty of local flavor to experience, but the inevitable truth is that Ruski’s, as it stands, cannot last. As Portland becomes more popular (because it will) and the inevitable surface creep of gentrification continues and more people like me start frequenting, the people that make Ruski’s, Ruski’s will be forced to vacate to some other Ruski’s replacement. Let us simply hope that that replacement is nearby, and nearly as tasty.



I don’t know if that’s her name, but there was an excellent lady who treated service as it should be treated. She was nice, prompt and took no bullshit. Excellence.



Eat now. Eat semi-often (if only because it is also sinfully greasy and your body is a temple). And enjoy listening to some true Mainer dialect.