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Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls
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What does it take to make perfect Maine lobster rolls? Here’s the criteria and the places that serve some of the best rolls in the state.

I don’t consider myself a foodie, but whenever I end up in Maine, I’m constantly in search of the seafood shack that serves up the best lobster roll. So when it was announced that Yankee Magazine would run a story about Maine lobster rolls in the May/June issue, I hoped that some of my personal faves would make the list. They didn’t, but they still deserve a bit of recognition.

Mainers know that there are basic elements that make up a great lobster roll: The meat must be fresh; it should have only the lightest dressing of mayo or butter, with absolutely no fillers, such as lettuce or, worse, celery (fillers can turn a lobster roll into lobster salad); and the bun should be buttery and crisp from a quick turn on the grill. Here are my three favorite Maine lobster rolls (right now) that fit the bill:

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls
Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls

Sue’s Seafood: Freshest Lobster
33 Old Post Road
, Kittery, ME

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls

Sue’s Seafood, an authentic fish market, is a bit hard to find, but it’s worth the extra effort to bypass the construction that currently blocks the most direct route. Sue prepares the roll in front of you while she fills you in on all the local news, and the small batches of chilled lobster meat she keeps on hand ensure that whatever she serves is fresh. Although there’s no seating at Sue’s, her location on the Maine/New Hampshire border provides you with your pick of scenic picnic locations within a 10-minute drive. And because she doesn’t charge for ambience, her prices are a bit more reasonable than most.

Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant: Best Lobster Roll/Chowder Combination
165 Pine Point Road
, Scarborough, ME

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls Bailey’s Lobster Roll and Chowder Combination

When traveling through the Scarborough/Old Orchard Beach area, I try to plan my day so that I’ll be heading down Pine Point Road around lunchtime and can stop at Bayley’s Seafood Restaurant. In addition to fresh made-to-order rolls, they also serve seafood, haddock, and clam chowders, any of which makes a perfectly filling combination. I’m partial to the seafood version, which is filled with chunks of shellfish and has a traditional Maine chowder base that hasn’t been thickened with too much flour. There’s both inside and outside seating, or you can grab your lunch to-go and head on down to the beach with it.

Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf: Best Atmosphere
129 State Rte 32, New Harbor, ME

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls Harbor View at Shaw’s Lobster Wharf

If you’re willing to trek a bit farther up the coast, Shaw’s Lobster Pound in New Harbor is worth the trip. The lobster is “wicked” fresh, and their deck seating consists of picnic tables overlooking a picturesque harbor. The accommodations are casual, and the locals will tell you that this is the real lobster-eating deal. I have to admit that this one also gets a nostalgic nod from me, as this was the place where I first learned to love lobster on our annual journey there with my grandmother.

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls

I even forgive them for those thin strips of lettuce (easily removed) that they lay beneath the succulent lobster meat.


Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls The line at Red’s Eats

Note: Lobster lovers will be quick to point out that Red’s Eats in Wiscasset didn’t make my list. That’s because I haven’t had the chance to try their roll yet, but it’s on my summer to-do list.

Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls
Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
Red’s lobster roll comes unadorned, served with mayo and/or butter on the side, so you can customize the roll to your preferences.

Update: We braved the line at Red’s Eats to sample one of their famous lobster rolls, and it was indeed worth the wait. The meat from a one-pound lobster atop a lightly buttered bun and served with a side of drawn butter or mayo. This is the lobster roll that converted me to a hot lobster roll lover.


Where do you get your favorite Maine lobster rolls?

Brenda Darroch


Brenda Darroch


Brenda Darroch is a contributor to She lives in Kennebunk, Maine.
Updated Friday, June 24th, 2011

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12 Responses to Favorite Maine Lobster Rolls

  1. Heather Atwell June 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    This should be inserted at the beginning of the blog: “Warning – What you are about to read and view may cause salivation.”

  2. William Moreen June 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Great article and the accompanying photos are wicked nice.

  3. Buffy Sutherland July 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Great article! Makes my mouth water for some of that womderful Maine. lobsta!

  4. Bonnie Powell July 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Phil The Baker on Wiscasset Road in Boothbay has the best lobster rolls and superb Whoopie Pies! Makes my mouth water just to think about them! It’s the quintessential Maine lobster shack!

  5. Ruth July 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    The Red Barn Drive-In, 455 Riverside Dr. in Augusta, ME – great lobster rolls, great prices. When I used to visit my mom in the nursing home, I always used to bring her a lobster roll from the Red Barn at least once a week. Wish I had one right now!

  6. Lois July 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Billy’s Chowder House in Wells and Cape Neddick Lobster Pound. Both have the best!

  7. Andrea September 19, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Oh how I wish that lobster rolls could be mailed to Texas! I love them so.

  8. mousie zavala October 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    just ONE tray of the lobster meat…….that’s all I need…..
    maybe two….
    anyone know somewhere that ships to Idaho?!

  9. Susan Cockman July 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Finally someone who knows how to make a lobster roll. Now maybe with you as a back-up, I can win a argument or 2. Absolutely- no celery.

    • Brenda Darroch July 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Hi Susan,
      Once you put fillers like celery or lettuce in it, it turns into lobster-salad roll. Totally different!
      Good luck with those arguments.


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