Two Words: Lobster Pie

By Cornelia Read


Okay, so for the past three days I have had at least one meal a day at the Maine Diner on Route 1 in Wells, Maine.

And may I just say here that IT IS TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME.

Pictured above is their world-famous Lobster Pie (I should probably have capitalized world famous, but whatev.)

This is five ounces of hand-picked amazing lobster freshness baked under a crust of crushed Ritz crackers. And see that little thingie of melted butter? You pour that over the top.

This is a meal, to paraphrase Raymond Chandler, which could make a cardio-thoracic surgeon kick a hole in a stained glass window.

Or, how about this:


This would be the Hot Lobster Roll. Note the lobster, and the melted butter. Are we noticing a pattern? A very very very good pattern.

Here’s part of the breakfast menu:


I admit I opted for the Irish Benedict. But my pal Rae had the Lobster Benedict, and it looked–you guessed it–FUCKING AWESOME!!!

Should you find yourself on Route 1 in Wells, Maine, I recommend just about anything on the menu (except for the biscuits and gravy, which are kind of lame.)

I especially think that the she-crab soup is a cup of feminist crustacean heaven, though Maggie preferred the seafood chowder, go figure…

Also, in Cornelia’s Islamic Republic, there would be no dessert but Indian Pudding:

This is described on the menu as an old New England favorite consisting of “corn meal, molasses, light cream, butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon” which is served warm with home-made vanilla ice cream. Trust me, it doesn’t suck. At all.

Anyway, I think you should all come eat here, at least once in this lifetime.


I have had wonderful summer road food in my life–Ambrosiaburgers at Nepenthe:


Fried clams in Ipswich, Massachusetts:


Where the building is almost as cool as the food:

I’ve had deep-fried artichoke hearts at the Giant Artichoke in Castroville, California:


Cuban food on Calle Ocho in Miami:


And yea, verily, I have eaten yak cheese in Kathmandu (also Tiramisu in Kathmandu, but that’s another story…)

Or “ring-sting” rijstaffel in Bali…

Daddy Bruce barbecue in Colorado…


Spiedies in Binghamton:

Manapua on Oahu:

Green chile pizza in Boulder:

It’s Its in San Francisco:

Manhattan Special…

And soup dumplings in NYC…

But I’m still pretty damn happy with the Lobster Pie.



What’s your favorite sentimental summer road food, O ‘Ratis?

37 thoughts on “Two Words: Lobster Pie

  1. Laura K Curtis

    When I was a child, I lived near a typical kind of lobster/crab restaurant/shack on the side of the road in Amagansett, NY (between East Hampton and Montauk). The place’s real name was The Lobster Roll, but the sign on the roof said LUNCH, and that’s what everyone called it. Their lobster rolls were awesome, but so were their fried clams.

  2. Barbie

    One thing I’ve learned in my life, is that while I enjoy all other aspects of traveling, there’s no food like food in Brazil. I worry about food when I travel. I always feel I’m gonna starve, which is ridiculous because there’s McDonald’s everywhere! I’m very picky with food, so, I usually go for safe instead of trying new things (that was after a few traumas). But, then, there’s no food like home 🙂

  3. PK the Bookeemonster

    To (sorta) quote from a movie: that’s the sexiest post I’ve ever seen. I’m gobsmacked. And a la Anthony Bourdain: Food porn is the best. 🙂

  4. Tom

    Nell’s Burgers in Livingston, TX. You wear them up to your elbows. Heaven on a bun, found deep in the Piney Woods.

  5. Catherine

    Some french place overlooking the harbour in Vila Vanuatu. All white washed walls and dark cool interior, I was 14 and was there because my Dad had one a cruise for having the cleanest restrooms for ESSO in QLD at the time.

    It was so hot I picked the lightest thing on the menu. I had the most awesome green salad I’ve ever had. First time I’d tasted a vinaigrette not out of a bottle labelled kraft. Still a mouth watering memory. I can remember even then thinking but this stuff is just lettuce, and vinegar, and oil and some herbs….

    As an adult I would drive down to the Hunter Valley to tour the wineries for a short get a way. We would start our day at dawn and stop off in Warwick at the Dome cafe where they had the conversation stopping local bacon and eggs. This was a big sentimental favourite as it was the pit stop we’d make after a few hours when we were still fresh and excited about being on the road. Those local piggies made for very good bacon too.

  6. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Cornelia

    That lobster really does look good, but I think I may have had a minor cardiac infarction just looking at the pictures of all that melted butter, though!

    Best summer food? Where do I start? Slow-roast lamb in the Greek islands; steak and eggs for breakfast at Brasserie Les Halle in NYC; the most amazing sushi and sashimi at Blue in Omaha NE, (which is about as far from the ocean as you can get); carnitas in Phoenix AZ; drinking a pint of cold FRESH milk in Cork after being at sea for a month; eating lobster that wasn’t actually quite dead yet in Yokosuka-City, Kanagawa… the list is just about endless.

    But, hey, Laura. Last week we were in Long Island, and we drove past The Lobster Roll in Amagansett. If only we’d known!

  7. Alexandra Sokoloff

    For once I do not agree with PK – food porn is NOT the best.

    My favorite road food is tamales. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – I really don’t care. I love that any little dive Mexican restaurant along Route 66 may well be able to serve you up tamales of the Gods.

  8. Rebbie Macintyre

    I’m salivating on my keyboard. Now I’m going to have to rummage through my pantry to find something that can substitute for all that stuff I can’t get because I’m stuck in front of my computer. I’ll probably end up with a stale bag of chips and a bottle of flat seltzer water.

  9. Alafair Burke

    Damn your cruelty, woman! I’m about to head to the gym and won’t eat anything until my 12:45 lunch with the fellow Ratis who are at Thrillerfest. I’m suddenly starving for that lobster pie. Or the lobster roll. Or the dumplings. Or pork buns. Aaaagggghhh!!!

  10. Dave Zeltserman

    If you’re still in Maine and still near KennebunkPort, let me recommend Grissini’s. One of the best moderate priced restaurants in New England. And yep, I;ve had Lobster rolls many times at the Maine Dioer (and their blueberry pie). Thy’re excellent, but the lobster roll at Allison’s (also KennebunkPort) beats them.

  11. hollygee

    Oh yum. Numerous yums.
    From my childhood, I have memories of pancakes from log-built cafes in the redwoods. Those are the ultimate nostalgia because pancakes just don’t do it for me anymore, but they taste great in memory.

    My ultimate in summer food is homemade peach or strawberry ice cream licked off the dasher of the ice cream maker.

  12. JD Rhoades

    Damn that looks good…

    Sentimental summer favorite? Calabash style seafood from Capt John’s or The Original Calabash Restaurant in, of course, Calabash NC. Straight off the boat, lightly breaded, and quick fried. With fries and slaw, and a big rum drink on the side. Worth every minute of the 1-2 hour wait to get in…and while you wait, you can go hang out on the docks and watch the sun set over the Waterway. They’ll call you when your table’s ready.

    Inland, you can’t beat a piping hot BBQ sandwich from Allen & Sons in Pittsboro, but that’s a year ’round thing.

  13. The Thriller Librarian

    OMG. I just had to run across this post right as I’m heading out the door to my Weight Watchers meeting. Now I’m starving!! Fabulous pictures. When I was growing up in New England, my family always made me feel lame for ordering lobster out of its shell, aka "Lazyman’s Lobster." I was just never into prying apart my meal’s exoskeleton with hooks and tongs . Those pictures of lobster pie are right up my alley!

  14. Barbara

    Growing up on Long Island, summers meant trips to All-American Burger in my hometown for a Double-Double, Slurpees from 7-11 on the way back from the beach and going clamming along the Great South Bay. (I never had LI duck or lobster until I was an adult! The Lobster Roll in Amagansett is quite good.) Now living in NJ, we go to Rutt’s Hut in Clifton for deep-fried hot dogs called Rippers and Cremators to unofficially kick off the summer.

    You made me so hungry that you’re forcing me to fight the crowds and get the lobster roll from "Toast." You should try your hand at restaurant reviewing. I did it for a few years and gave my thesaurus a workout coming up with new adjectives for tiramisu or fried calamari week after week! I always took it as a compliment if people said the reviews made them feel hungry.

  15. Peter Salomon

    On some days we used to drive up from Boston to Portsmouth to get clam chowder at Geno’s and then head to Harraseeket Lobster Company in South Freeport, ME for THE best lobster roll (eating on the lobster boat dock is incredible!) and then on the way back we’d stop at York Beach for ice cream at this little stand on the way up the lighthouse. Best way to eat ever!

    Unfortunately my single favorite meal: Lobster Soprano at The Village Cafe in Portland, ME is no longer as they closed a few years ago: angel hair pasta, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, basil leaves, and one pound of fresh lobster meat. That’s the entire ingredient list. TO DIE FOR.

  16. judy wirzberger

    The Murderati version of Drive-ins, Diners and Dives. I like ice cream in November at Bob’s in Maryville, IL. They throw in a pumpkin pie, squish it up – worth passing up Thanksgiving Dinner for….well almost.

    Of course raised in Illinois, for me gourmet dining was a crisp fried bologna sandwich, meatloaf open face sandwich, fried fish sandwich at Knights of Columbus on Friday nights, and BBQ ribs with a side of baked beans.

    Fried chicken for Sunday dinner with milk gravy over mashed potatoes with a pineapple upside down cake cooked in a cast iron skillet. Sunday breakfast, of course, is eggs fried in three inch deep bacon grease, along with sausage and biscuits and sausage gravy.

    Cornelia, so glad you maintain a photo journal. Now pass me a napkin. I’m drooling.
    (Hope all is marvelous-J)

    I think I moved to California to save my arteries.

  17. anonymous

    OK. It may not have a steroid pumped man eating artichoke in front to scare the kiddies but it has the BEST fried artichoke hearts in Castroville. Pezzini Farms roadside stand. Nashua Rd. & Hwy. 1 It’s the dipping sauces. Totally. The Garlic Dijon and Lemon Dill. I was just there last week. Woke up with a craving. Hit the road and drove straight to it. Hour and a half. Ate an order fresh and dragged back 6 bags of frozen and a case of the sauces. I feel safer now, knowing that my freezer has my back.

    When I was 28 I drove across country for the first time to move to Manhattan with husband and dog. When we were somewhere in New Mexico we pulled into a diner, can’t remember the name but the truckers we had been convoying with, who had been CB Radio taunting us to keep us awake all night ("That’s gotta be her brother. No one’d MARRY an ugly sumbitch like her driver. Yeah. She’s laughing at that one. Must have ‘ears’ in that little red Honda.") pulled in there so we followed and I had some of the best chile I have ever had and I make a fucking bowl of chile. Word. NO BEANS. You want beans you go to Boston. Out here chile is with meat, Pilgrim. Con CARNE. El fin.

  18. anonymous

    Judy I am laughing. My folk are from Oklahoma. Jeezus, did I just admit that?

    Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and milk gravy. That was my ‘birthday dinner’ that I always had my mom make for me. Bacon fat. You saved it. Ya kept a crockery jar by the range to pour the grease into after you cooked ’cause everyone knows the only way to fry eggs is in bacon fat. Yeeesh.

    All of the men in my family and a few of the women were doctors. They all lived into their late 90s. Their diet a lifetime of biscuits and gravies and eggs and bacon and fried chicken. How does this happen? There must be some kind of mid-west born enzyme that absorbs all of the cholesterol and passes it straight on out before it can barnacle onto their arteries.

  19. JD Rhoades

    Of course raised in Illinois, for me gourmet dining was a crisp fried bologna sandwich, meatloaf open face sandwich, fried fish sandwich at Knights of Columbus on Friday nights, and BBQ ribs with a side of baked beans.

    At the same time?

  20. Jeanne in MN

    Oh, this was just mean to torment us like this! I haven’t even had breakfast yet! Now I’m wondering what it will cost me to fly to Maine for breakfast. I gained 5 pounds just looking at the pictures.

  21. Tom

    In Albuquerque: the adobado burritos from Golden Eagle.

    In the west-middle of the city, there’s a tribal store for cigarettes with a drive-through. It’s the first floor of an office building. They also have home-made burritos, killer hot, killer good.

  22. toni mcgee causey

    I’m in south Louisiana, there’s so much to choose from. For starters: an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms, then grilled trout almandine with a shrimp creole sauce topping, fresh buttery snow peas on a bed of fluffy rice, with fresh strawberry shortcake, or Chocolate Suicide cake for dessert.

  23. Cornelia Read

    Okay guys, anyone else thinking ROAD TRIP here? I think we need a Murderati bus and probably a ship, too, so we can have Catherine’s green salad in Vila Vanuatu and Zoe’s slow-cooked Greek lamb.

    Who knew we were all such foodies? This is wonderful. Makes me miss being a restaurant critic (back in Boulder, tiny paper, lots of fun…)

  24. lil Gluckstern

    I am drowning here, wishing I was in Maine or Cape Cod or Amagansett. I haven’t been NEAR that much butter in a decade, and I miss all of it. You see, I live in No. California, and healthy green stuff are de rigueur. Thank you for the food trip. I enjoyed every virtual bite. And I still think you do the neatest photographic layouts!

  25. Karen Syed

    Oh My GAWD!!! I would kill any of you right now for that Lobster Pie. I mean, I might be kidding, but not 100% sure.

    I have to say that one of my fave sentimental food is from Texas (and probably a few other states) but I’ve only seen RAZOOS restaurants there, and the Fried Pickles just make my heart flutter and my taste buds stand right up and beg for it.


  26. Daisy

    For me, the childhood seaside food of choice is clam cakes from Aunt Carrie’s ( in Point Judith, Rhode Island. They’re really more fritters than cakes– deep fried balls of dough studded with chewy (or crispy, if they were at the surface) bits of chopped clam, purchased by the dozen and largely eaten in the car on the way back to my grandparents’ house. They seem to be a very local Rhode Island thing; I’ve never seen them anywhere else, even in New England, and the fact that I don’t have them every year any more is one of my big regrets about no longer having any family in that part of the world.

    Speaking of roadfood, have I told you you need to buy a copy of Roadfood yet? (I tell everyone, sometimes I forget who I’ve gotten to.) It is THE book for road trips, especially around New England, where the authors are from. If I hadn’t had it on my cross-country driving trip, I never would have stopped for tacos at the Eagle Cafe in Gallup, and that would have been a damn shame.

  27. anonymous

    Oh Man, Cornelia. This is IT! The Magical Murderati Tour. A rock band grade RV fitted out with 14 computer terminals. 2 personal trainers. Road food across country. This will be bigger than Guy Fieri……you will feed all of your readers !!!!! All of the food has to be featured in your books. In detail. "What crime writers crave when they are writing murder." Come ON!!! (Hmmmnnn How are we gonna find haunted low-carb-high pro-grass-fed-free-range-wild-organic-vegan-non-caged-extended-family-multi-lingual-liberal-sushi diners with yoga-wear clad dancing waitresses in the mid-west for Alex?……whatever………we’ll work out all of the logistics………….)

    (j/k Alex….I love you! I get myself in the big trouble sometime when I trying to make the joke)

    ; – }

  28. caite

    A cheesesteak at the White House subs in Atlantic City. NJ.

    …although I must say the sight of all that lobster had me weak in the knees.
    And the Indian Pudding, something my mother used to make…yum.

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    They seem to be a very local Rhode Island thing; I've never seen them anywhere else, even in New England, and the fact that I don't have them every year any more is one of my big regrets about no longer having any family in that part of the world.

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