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Maine Lobster Rolls

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Jun 26th, 2017, 11:12 AM
  #1
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Maine Lobster Rolls

Six days, six different lobster rolls

My husband, our 16 month old son, and I recently traveled through coastal Maine from Portland to Bar Harbor and back. We wanted to really get a feel for the local lobster scene so along the way we stopped and ate lobster rolls at six different road side lobster shacks. Now my husband and I are by no means food critics but we decided to jot down some things and rank our favorite. So here's how we rated the six different rolls that we tried on this trip. Enjoy!

6. C Ray's - Bar Harbor - off Route 3:
This spot has good customer service and it was fun to watch the cooks out back. There are plenty of picnic tables out front but not a view. The rolls are tasty rolls but was just not our favorite. We both thought it could use some extra flavor. Comes with chips and a pickle for around $17.

5. Red's Eats - Wiscasset - off Route 1:
This would be rated last for me but Will ranked it one spot higher because he liked that it had an abundance of lobster meat piled on (to the point that you couldn't even see the bread!) It's prepared simply with melted butter with no frills or extra ingredients. The wait for this place was soooooo long. Customer service was pretty lousy too. Not worth the wait, trouble finding parking, and crotchety lady who takes your order. Especially when there are better rolls right up the road. Does not come with any sides and is around $18.

4. Bagaduce's Lunch - Brooksville (Penobscot area):
This was off the beaten path but not too far of a detour from Route 1. Nice views of the Bagaduce river with just a handful of picnic tables. Not sure if it was the fact that it was a week day or because its not directly off the hwy, but we were the only one there, So we got our food really quick and had the place to ourselves! Served on a basic, untoasted long hot dog style roll but the lobster meat had great flavor. Could of had more lobster on the roll for the price that we paid but otherwise we felt this was worth the detour through fields of wildflowers for this little gem. Served with chips for around $19

3. McGaughlin's - Lincolnville - Route 1:
This roll was a bit more pricey at $21 but came with fries and coleslaw. It's mayo based and has a great flavor! This one had the meat from the lobster legs also in the roll which was different but I didn't mind it. Served on a simple hot dog style bun. Picnic tables with a good view or just a short 5 minute drive to Camden to enjoy your roll at the State Park like we did.

2. Bite into ME - Fort Williams Park in Portland:
This place is awesome! Actually a food truck but it takes permanent residence at Fort Williams Park, which is home to Portland Head Lighthouse. So you can eat your roll and do some sightseeing at the same time. They prepare their lobster rolls 5 different ways including the original Maine style (mayo and chives), curry style, and even a wasabi style. Served on a lightly buttered and toasted roll, which was the only place we ate at that put some time into the bun too and made the roll extra tasty! One roll is $18 and does not come with any sides.

1. Young's Lobster Pound - Belfast - on Route 1:
Voted favorite by both of us. Perfect flavoring with a nice heaping portion of lobster. Served with lettuce on a sesame seed hamburger style bun (the only roll we had served like this). The spot is really nice, on the water and you can watch the lobster boats come in and unload/sort the live lobster! Comes with chips and a pickle for around $18. The staff was friendly and tons of outdoor/indoor seating.

Can't wait to go back and try some more spots. Anyone else have any good spots in coastal Maine to find a lobster roll??
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Jun 26th, 2017, 11:48 AM
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Think you for sharing your food experiences, very informative, making my notes right now!
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Jun 26th, 2017, 12:19 PM
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My kind of TR--love Maine and love Lobster! We'l be followin gin your footsteps in another month.
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Jun 26th, 2017, 03:40 PM
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Only six ??
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Jun 26th, 2017, 03:44 PM
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I always thought Reds gets more hype then they deserve.
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Jun 26th, 2017, 03:45 PM
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I like the Maine Lobster Outlet in York. Their jumbo roll comes with 8 oz of meat. I could barely finish it. I got the standard size my other two times
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Jun 27th, 2017, 01:41 AM
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McLoon's in South Thomaston is one of our favorites and we plan to visit soon. Last year we also ate at Claws in Rockland. For a change, dh had a lobster burger (think giant lobster cake, no filler). It's a basic drive-in type of place with a covered porch that looks out on the harbor. Not a great view and right on Rt 1 but more variety of the menu than most.

Last year we also got take-out lobster rolls from Karen's Hideaway in Boothbay. In June, the parking lot seemed to be mostly locals. We had found a sweet little park on a small island where we enjoyed our lunch and the nice view. Forgot the name of the park but there was a short bridge from the parking lot and it was also a place where people were putting their kayaks in. I agree with the comment on Yelp not to be put off by the modest appearance of the roadside stand.
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Jun 27th, 2017, 10:41 AM
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I think some of the roadside stands have the best lobster rolls. I actually seek them out as opposed to restaurants. I have not been to McLoons and will need to check it out this year. Did Waterman's close? I hope not. If so that will be the 3rd lobster place in 2 years that has closed.

I have to say that I do like Red's -- I know many people dont get it, but it consistently has the most lobster on a fresh delicious roll. The lobster is always outstanding. Going there and standing in line has become a ritual for us. I dont mind chatting with the people in line and enjoying a nice day.
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Jun 27th, 2017, 10:36 PM
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Yes Waterman's closed (see other recent lobster thread).

And the place in Boothbay is Shannon's Hideaway, not Karen's.

The only place I like on Plish's list is Bite Into Maine because they do it up right, a classic lobster roll has a grilled warm bun stuffed with cold lobster salad. Simply sublime.

Red's is not really a lobster roll in my opinion, at least I've never seen anyone pick it up and eat it like a sandwich. It is really a one-pound buttered lobster that happens to be sitting atop a bun. I consider it more like a full-on lobster dinner. Which you can get without the wait and in much nicer surroundings at restaurants all over the state. So I don't think it's fair to compare Red's to other lobster rolls since it is not really a sandwich at all. But then, I don't like this current trend of hamburgers that are a mile high either. A hamburger is supposed to fit into your mouth.

Favorites of ours include Footbridge Lobster in Ogunquit, Fisherman's Catch in Wells, Libby's Store in Brunswick, Tubby's in Wayne, Dunton's in Boothbay,
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Jun 27th, 2017, 10:37 PM
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Well I wasn't finished but I'm getting hungry so I'll stop
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Jun 28th, 2017, 02:00 AM
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It was KAREN'S HIDEAWAY
https://www.yelp.com/biz/karens-hideaway-boothbay

perhaps you were thinking of Shannon's Unshelled.
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Jun 28th, 2017, 02:49 AM
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There are a actually two styles of lobster rolls, one which is made with mayonnaise and sometimes has things like celery bits in it (most often encountered), the other just lobster drenched in butter sitting in a roll. I love both.
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Jun 28th, 2017, 03:36 AM
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"really get a feel for the local lobster scene"???
Steamed whole lobster (with a little butter for dipping).
Lobster rolls are for lazy tourists.
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Jun 28th, 2017, 03:40 AM
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bachslunch, McLoon's offers both ways plus the choice of getting one roll both ways which is what my smart husband did last year. When you get your roll which is only lightly in mayo only (NO celery), you take the pieces that are threatening to fall off the roll and dip them into the melted butter (small cup for dipping).

We haven't been to Young's in years but I think it wasn't in a scenic location. I'm afraid half the fun of lobster shack dining is a great place on the water. Holbrook's in Cundy's Harbor is another scenic place. Cameron's Lobster House in Brunswick is a former drive-in restaurant which I remember as having a pretty good roll plus indoor dining and varied menu. A good choice on a bad weather day. There's a shack beside the road going to Harpswell that was good but no view.
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Jun 28th, 2017, 08:18 AM
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Lobster rolls are for lazy tourists Exactly what my husband says! I've gotten more and more into the lazy eating of lobster rolls, but I agree, there's nothing like a steamed whole lobster.

These are great suggestions - will note them for our upcoming trip. Any suggestions for RI? Going to be there for the first time.

So disappointing about Watermans'. I must have missed the other lobster thread. McLoon's was just on a list of best places to eat in NE. I used to like Young's but it has been quite a few years since we've been. We stay right near Five Islands and over th eyears I've grown to really like their rolls and lobster. I thought Bagaduce's was quite good. And its nice to sit along the river. We've been twice and empty both times.

Re Red's - interesting comment. -- Given it's been around for 70+ years and 30+ with the current family it seems strange to criticze that they aren't lobster rolls. Before they got national recognition there was never a controversy about them. They were considered excellent. I remember eating them many years ago and they were pretty much as they are now. And yes I pick it up and eat it, some falls off which I eat with my fingers. I do agree onthe huge burgers which fall apart and are impossible to eat as a sandwich, but they are still burgers to me -- just oversized ones.

Happy Lobster eating!
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Jun 28th, 2017, 12:15 PM
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I had the lobster roll at Red's in Wiscasset a few years ago, and the roll I got was just chunks of lobster meat in a bun with the option of a cup of mayo or drawn butter on the side. It was at least one lobster's worth of meat, more like one and a half. It was good.

But having been there once and stood in the inevitable long line for it, given the choice I'd likely just head to Sprague's, which is close by it and according to local reports does just as good a version. My recollection is that the long line occurs mostly because they're not especially efficient filling orders, kind of like Pink's Hot Dogs in Los Angeles reportedly is (didn't go to this last on a recent trip to LA, and the word online and confirmed by my nephew is not to bother -- in this case a ho-hum product you wait absolutely forever for).
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Jun 29th, 2017, 04:34 AM
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Five Islands is also a beautiful location.

We keep skipping Red's even the years we spent a week in Wiscasset.
We like to alternate lobster rolls and steamed lobster and when you get tired of lobster we get some fried clams. The year we spent 4th of July in the Stonington area, we went to a local lobster benefit supper. I'm looking for one for this year's 4th of July.
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Jun 29th, 2017, 06:26 AM
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Stonington is such an adorable little town. We had a very good lobster there at a restaurant but I dont recall where. The 4th would be fun there I bet.

Agree about the Five islands location. It does get really crowded esp on the weekends, but it's fine to sit at the table and wait your order # to be yelled out. There fried clams are also quite goog. They also have a coffee cake that someone makes and for $1 its a really good. Didnt go last year so the price may have increased.
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Jun 29th, 2017, 06:05 PM
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awwww man. "lazy tourists"??!?! low blow. Tourists, yes. Broke new parents, yes. Lazy, no way! As is the modus operandi of tourists, we were on a budget. So $35 for a whole lobster or $18 for a lobster roll, we choose the roll every time. Plus they were all so different yet so tasty!!!
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Jun 29th, 2017, 06:08 PM
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I meant it as amusing. I love lobster rolls! Give me lobster any way and I'm happy��.
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