Main content starts here, tab to start navigating

The History of the Lobster Roll

a close up of a plate of food

As soon as the weather starts getting warmer, the days get longer, and summer is in sight, there’s one thing that all New Englander’s can agree upon and get excited about; Lobster Rolls. There’s nothing better than a refreshing lobster roll on a hot summer’s day. It’s become a staple in our summer dining in New England. However, lobster wasn’t always looked at with the delicacy that it is today. So, how did the food that was once considered “poor man’s food” for servants, prisoners, and even animals, make its way to the top as a luxury dish? Let’s take a look into the history of the lobster roll, and how it’s evolved to become such a fan favorite!

What is a Lobster Roll? 

First, let’s talk about what actually goes into a lobster roll. Of course, the main ingredient is lobster. Typically, a lobster roll consists of meat-claw, knuckle, and tail meat. The original version of the lobster roll includes being drenched in butter and served in a hot toasted bun. However, this buttery version is now considered to be the “Connecticut-style” lobster roll. The newer adaptation, which is what most of us are used to being served, is known as the “Maine” style. This lobster roll consists of a mayonnaise base, topped with lemon juice, celery, diced scallion, and sometimes lettuce and herbs. This version is usually served cold, making it a very refreshing salad on a summer day! 

Who Invented the Lobster Roll?

Lobster rolls have been enjoyed across New England for years. While some historians believe there is no one to be accredited with “inventing” the roll, most people believe that it originated at Perry’s a restaurant in Mildford, Connecticut. The sandwich beuted on the menu in 1927, when owner Harry Perry whipped one up for a customer, and the recipe stuck. 

What Made Them Become so Popular? 

After Perry’s invention was so well-received by customers, other restaurants started to quickly catch onto this phenomenon and before you know it, lobster shacks were popping up all along the Connecticut coast. It wasn’t until the 70s that the lobster roll really made its way into the foodie culture, when Red Eats in Maine started boosting the sandwiches. Jasper White is also credited with being partially responsible for the rise in popularity of lobster rolls, especially in Massachusetts. His dressed up version of the lobster roll was enjoyed at his waterfront restaurant in the 1980s, and today can be found on Summer Shack’s menu. 

Where to get the Best Lobster Roll in Boston

Well, we may be biased, but we don’t think you can get any better than Chef Jasper White’s famous lobster roll at Summer Shack! Learn more about his secret to cooking the lobster to perfection, and how to dress it up with just the right seasonings, fixings, and homemade tarragon mayonnaise for a mouthwatering lobster roll. If you want to try the best lobster roll in Boston, book a reservation at Summer Shack or order takeout today!