ROLL ON OVER—12 spots for a stupendous Maine lobster roll
Any trip to Maine should include lobster, and the easiest (and perhaps best) way to make that happen is to order up a lobster roll. There are hundreds of places in Maine serving lobster rolls these days, and some of the best are not far from the Maine Turnpike. Check out some of these places, and partake of one of Maine’s most-famous treats.
Exit 2: Kittery
Bob’s Clam Hut
315 U.S. 1, Kittery
Bob’s is a great place to start any visit to Maine. Their lobster roll contains fresh-picked lobster meat bathed in mayo and served in a toasted, buttered bun with fries and a dill pickle.
Exit 7: York & Ogunquit
110 Perkins Cove Rd., Ogunquit
Located in the Perkins Cove section of Ogunquit, the Lobster Shack serves up tasty lobster rolls in four different sizes at its scenic seaside setting.
Exit 19: Wells & Sanford
The Maine Diner
2265 Post Rd., Wells
This diner institution on Route 9 serves its meaty lobster rolls in a toasted bun with mayo or melted butter or both. The roll pairs nicely with a cup of the diner’s famed seafood chowder.
Exit 25: Kennebunks
The Clam Shack
2 Western Ave., Kennebunk
This not-to-be-missed shack serves what may be the best lobster roll anywhere. It features soft-shell lobster on a round bun with mayo or butter (or both). It’s well worth a visit.
Exit 42: Scarborough*
207 Pine Point Rd., Scarborough
On the road to Old Orchard Beach, Ken’s is an unassuming spot that fresh-picks its lobster meat throughout the day, which guarantees a super-fresh lobster roll. The lobster sits atop a crisp piece of lettuce nestled into a toasted, buttered bun.
Bayley’s Lobster Pound
9 Avenue 6, Scarborough
This working lobster wharf claims to have invented the Maine lobster roll. Their meaty, fresh-picked version may be purchased over the seafood market counter and enjoyed on the dock.
*If you’re driving north on the Turnpike, take Exit 36: Biddeford, Saco & Old Orchard Beach.
Exits 44–46: Portland, South Portland & Cape Elizabeth
Portland Lobster Company
180 Commercial St., Portland
Located on its own dock in downtown Portland, the lobster roll here features fresh-picked meat from a one-pound lobster, brushed with butter, and served on a toasted roll with mayo and lemon on the side.
Bite Into Maine
1000 Shore Rd., Cape Elizabeth; also at 185 U.S. Route 1, #2; and 50 Industrial Way, Portland
This food trailer in Fort Williams Park serves several types of lobster rolls: the Maine, the Connecticut, the Picnic style and curry, chipotle and wasabi rolls. The views of the ocean and Portland Head Light are magnificent.
5 Portland Pier, Portland
This famed waterfront restaurant and bar serves an excellent chilled-meat lobster roll that features a crisp piece of lettuce, a side-split bun and a packet of mayo on the side. Enjoy the view of the harbor.
Exit 75: Auburn
Mac’s Downeast Seafood
894 Minot Ave., Auburn
This diminutive seafood shack has three different lobster-salad roll sizes and a “clearmeat” (fresh-picked, no mayo) version for lobster roll purists.
Exit 109: Augusta
The Red Barn
455 Riverside Dr., Augusta
Come to this quaint eatery for standard 4-ounce lobster rolls, a half-pounder or the foot-long “Crustacean Elation,” loaded from bow to stern with mounds of lobster meat. Enjoy your repast at one of the many red-hued outdoor picnic tables.
Exit 182: Bangor
McLaughlin’s Seafood & Takeout
728 Main St., Bangor
This combination seafood market and takeout window just outside downtown Bangor gets its lobster fresh from its cold-water tanks, mixes it with mayo and packs gobs of it into a split-top bun.
Mike Urban is a food and travel writer and the author of “Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints” (Countryman Press).