History of the Lobster Roll
Lobster rolls are a signature dish across the northeastern seaboard, but where did this refreshingly simple concoction of fresh lobster and butter, served on a crispy roll originate?
What food god invented the lobster roll?
Truth is, there is no one person to which we can attribute this wonder of the New England culinary world, but many lobster roll historians claim that the sandwich made its menu debut at a restaurant known as Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut circa 1929. Although its popularity grew quickly, the lobster roll craze didn’t spread too far beyond the state at that time.
In 1965, a restaurant in Long Island, NY named – you’ll never guess – The Lobster Roll is touted to have introduced the lobster salad roll, which also gained popularity quickly. Despite these claims, the general consensus regarding the origin of the lobster roll traces to Maine, where beginning around 1970, buttery lobster was served on hot dog buns at various roadside stands.
What types of lobster rolls are there?
The alleged “original”, or traditional, lobster roll features butter-soaked chunks of lobster on a steamed hot dog bun, typically with a side of potato chips or French fries. This type is known as “Connecticut-style”. The “Maine-style” lobster roll is similar, but with 2 exceptions: the bun is lightly toasted and the lobster is most often served cold and mixed with mayo.
These days, however, you can find all sorts of variations of this New England staple, even in landlocked US states. Some are known as lobster salad rolls and include mayo, lemon juice, celery, salt and pepper, and some are served on a hamburger bun or baguette, And, you’re likely to find that some restaurants offer both the traditional and the cold version of the lobster roll.
Either way, you go when choosing your type of lobster roll, you can’t go wrong. After all, it’s fresh lobster served already out of the shell and slathered in butter or mayo.