A Hamburger Today
Lobster Rolls from the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
"The lobster meat is so fresh, you can actually see the traps out front on the docks."
Your lobster roll will probably taste good when a) you can see a lighthouse nearby and b) the lobster shack is decorated with a bunch of nautical thingamajigs and c) there are picnic benches for seating, red trays for "china," and some plastic cutlery.
All of this is true at the famous Lobster Shack Restaurant at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, home to those iconic lighthouses and a picturesque rocky coastline. (Feel free to kill time on the rocks while waiting for your order—they'll announce it on an outdoor speaker, which interrupts the seagull chatter and crashing wave sounds, but it's pretty helpful.)
If you're going to have a lobster or crab roll in Maine, it should probably be here. They just reopened for the season at the end of March, and will be up to their usual crustacean-loving business until late October.
There's been a lobster joint here since the 1920s, but it wasn't until 1969 that this Lobster Shack debuted. The same family has owned it for the past three generations, with Jeff Porch and his wife now running the show. The lobster meat is so fresh, you can actually see the traps out front on the docks. If Porch doesn't get the meat there, he'll go about 20 minutes away to the Portland pier.
The lobster roll prices fluctuate according to the market, but they shouldn't spike up too much beyond $12.99 (what they were last week). Porch said last year's lobster season was so ridiculously plentiful, they actually slashed off a buck, but that was a special year.
Big hunks of fresh lobster meat go into a buttered and toasted hot dog bun on top of a bed of regular ol' iceberg lettuce. Thankfully it's not a gloopy mess of a mayo-ruined lobster salad. (They wouldn't disrespect the lobster like that.) You can control how much you want—it comes with a scoopful of Ken's Extra Heavy Mayo (and they mean heavy—see photo below) sitting on top, as well as a pickle. They'll also do melted butter upon request.
During the busy months of July and August, they easily hustle out 1,500 to 1,800 rolls a day. Each roll gets one soft shell lobster's worth of meat (about four ounces).
Though it's hard to deny the namesake roll, the crab roll ($8.99) is also a winner. In fact, I may have liked it more. The shredded-up leg meat has a bit of creamy filler, but not enough to ruin it. You can still taste the just-from-those-rocks-outside freshness. Each of the rolls (or the fishburger, clamburger, or hamburger) are also available in the "Boat" meal, which includes fries and cole slaw.
For dessert, get the mini square-shaped blueberry pie made with Maine wild blueberries (naturally), which comes with or without whipped cream (obviously the answer is "with.")
Or get a big triangle of Oatmeal Pie (also with whipped cream, that's a given). It's kind of like pecan pie with all that butter-laden, brown sugary glory. Minus the pecans, plus oats and coconut flakes.
Any other favorite lobster shacks in Maine? Or elsewhere?