No, it’s not a rock lobster but it is a Maine style lobster roll! This is the classic lobster roll that people have lined up for since the 50s. Freshly boiled lobster combined with mayo, some crystalized lemon, fresh dill, and Dan-O’s Spicy makes one unforgettable lobster roll. You can have these for any meal of the day but we love them for a nice lunch. One bite and you’ll be dreaming of New England’s scenic shores for a long time.
Despite heavy rebuttal from Mainers, the most popular origin story starts in Milford, Connecticut. At a restaurant named Perry’s sometime in the 1920s, owner Harry Perry, was asked to whip up a portable sandwich for traveling liquor salesman Ted Hales. Hales had a desire for a “hot grilled lobster sandwich”, and Perry, being quick thinking, took some bread and hot buttery lobster and served it up.
The sandwich was far from perfect in the beginning. Perry noted that traditional white bread was flimsy, got soggy, and didn’t hold much flavor. He turned to French’s Bakery in Bridgeport, CT to make him special buns just for the sandwich. These buns best resembled a submarine sandwich roll. Perry would cut V-notch wedges in the top for loading the meat before placing the top back on and grilling them on both sides. Perry’s lobster roll was notably different from maine style lobster rolls for being hot lobster meat with seasoning of hot butter and not much else.
Maine style lobster rolls were first featured in the The Frugal Housewife Cookbook by Lydia Maria Child in 1829 as cold lobster salad. This is believed to have been the foundation of the maine style lobster roll. maine style lobster rolls were more of a “salad” type. In maine style lobster rolls, you steam the lobster before dressing it with mayo, celery, some lemon juice, and a hearty dose of seasoning like salt & pepper, or Dan-O’s in the modern age.
Some historians note that maine style rolls were sold in restaurants and roadside stands as early as the 1930s. However, the most famous Maine roll did not become popular until the 1950s. When the tourist industry of New England boomed in the 1950s, Maine style lobster rolls really began their widespread growth. In the 1980s, when Chef Jasper White put his own spin on the Maine style roll.
This helped increase awareness of the dish but it was Chef Rebecca Charles who really set things off. In 1996, she created her version of the lobster roll which she served at her restaurant, the Pearl oyster Bar. She Was the first to serve a Maine style lobster roll in New York City, and quickly garnered rave reviews nationwide.