For many people, a lobster roll, with sweet and succulent lobster meat piled on a toasted and buttered bun, is the essence of summer in Maine.
But the price of a lobster roll is a complicated thing, as inflation and other pressures weigh on lobster fishermen and restaurants. Last summer, $34 Lobster Rolls headlined the New York Times. That number has increased this year, with some localities pricing their rolls at $35, $40, or even higher.
At these prices, the iconic lobster roll has become a splurge that not everyone is able to rock.
However, lobster lovers should be reassured. There are still plenty of places in Maine where you can enjoy a dish of lobster and still have some money for ice cream. Here is a by no means exhaustive list to whet your appetite.
The Family Dog, 6 Mill St., Orono
Lobster roll: $16.99
For about 100 days most summers, The family dog puts lobster rolls on its menu to the delight of its customers who devour them. The rolls feature 3 ounces of lobster meat adorned with mayonnaise, butter or avocado and bacon. The avocado and bacon version is far from traditional, but it’s a fan favorite, according to manager Kaylee Perkins.
“A lot of people said they were really, really good. I know people who’ve been to Bar Harbor and they say ours are better,” she said of the lobster rolls. try to have a very high quality product and keep it at a low price, as low as possible for everyone.”
2 Feet Brewing Co., 80 Columbia Street, Bangor
Maine Rangoon Lobster (deconstructed): $14
Maine lobster pie $8.50 or two for $16
For Nok-Noi Ricker’s 2 feet Brewing Co., it is important to offer lobster on the menu, especially in the summer. Its offerings, however, are a bit different from the usual fare.
“The two lobster dishes I offer are based on a family recipe,” she said. “I want to offer [customers] something that is Maine but also something that is 2 Feet.
For the deconstructed lobster rangoon, she takes fresh lobster meat and mixes it with cream cheese, onion, carrot, garlic and cilantro, cooks it and serves it with pita chips and a mildly spiced sweet dip. Pies are freshly made, lobster wrapped in puff pastry tossed with savory mayonnaise, cream cheese and other ingredients.
Governor’s, locations in Old Town, Bangor, Waterville, Ellsworth, Lewiston, and presto Isle
Lobster roll and fries: $21.99
Lobster roll alone on Lobster Roll day Wednesday, June 29: approximately $10.
No list of more affordable lobster options in Maine would be complete without a shout out to Governor’s, which offers great prices on lobster rolls for one day each year. This year, inflation pushed the statewide chain to increase its Lobster Roll Day prices from $7 to nearly $10.
Because of this price increase, Aaron Harburger, the general manager of Governor’s in Old Town, expects to sell less than the 6,000 buns the restaurant has sold in the past. Still, he hopes to sell at least 4,000 lobster rolls during the one-day event.
“It’s crazy and a lot of fun. The first two years we did it was a challenge. We kind of tweaked it now,” he said. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the people who support us throughout the year.”
Erica’s Seafood, 505 Basin Point Road, Harpswell
Lobster roll: $25
Every lobster roll at Erica’s Seafood is made with the meat of a whole 1.25 pound lobster.
“There’s a lot – it’s pretty stuffed,” said restaurant co-owner Andrea Hunter.
She is able to keep lobster roll prices a little lower because her family owns a commercial fishing pier. They buy lobsters directly from fishermen and cut out the middleman, she said.
Lori’s Cafe, 504 Belfast-Augusta Road, Liberty
Lobster and haddock chowder with cornbread: $15
Lori Mayer from Lori’s Coffee has a $35 lobster roll on her menu, which she makes with 5 ounces of meat and serves with fries. But the locals really love her lobster and haddock chowder, which she offers as a special dish every day she can get lobster. It’s rich, creamy and satisfying, and some days it finds it hard to keep up with demand.
“People want something with lobster, but they don’t want to pay $35,” she says.
Geddy’s, 19 Main Street, Bar Harbor
Mini lobster gratin: $22
When it comes to the state’s favorite shellfish, this Bar Harbor mainstay means business. Among its options are a $35 lobster roll and a $48 lobster bake, complete with clam chowder, steamed lobster, fresh corn on the cob and a slice of blueberry pie.
But for those whose appetites or wallets might be a little smaller, Geddy’s also offers a mini baked lobster for $22, complete with a freshly picked mini lobster roll, a cup of clam chowder and a clam pie. blueberry cream cheese. You’ll feel like you’ve tasted the best of Maine flavors, but at a price that has no room for regret.