ENTER THE 2021 DOWN EAST READER PHOTO CONTEST!

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition!

We invited purveyors of lobster rolls from all over Maine to enter the 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition. Then, we asked readers to vote for their favorite. The results have been tallied, and we’re proud to announce the top three!

Congratulations to the Winners of Our 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition
Lobster Roll Contest 2021 Winners | Down East Magazine

Taste of Maine

161 Main St., Woolwich

207-443-4554  |  tasteofmaine.com

Taste of Maine, the first place winner of the 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition

“I am so proud for the honor of winning the Best Lobster Roll in Maine competition! It’s been 43 years in the making. I could not have done it without my family, my Taste of Maine family, and all our wonderful loyal customers.” — Candy Gregory, Co-owner

What’s the secret behind your roll?

Taste of Maine's winning lobster roll

There’s no secret, really, we make it the same as we have for 43 years: a specially made bun that’s buttered, toasted, and filled with fresh Maine lobster meat and light mayo. Some prefer it served warm with hot drawn butter — it’s whatever the customer likes. We offer two sizes, and the house favorite is the World’s Largest, which is 21 inches long with over a pound of fresh Maine lobster meat. Our customers love to have their picture taken with this beast as we try to post many of them on Facebook. I think this is what makes us unique from others — it’s a fun family atmosphere and I love seeing the smiles on their faces.

When did you first start making your rolls?

This all began 43 years ago, when my brother, Larry Crooker, built the Taste of Maine. He said, “I want you to come work for me,” and I haven’t left since. I was blessed to have amazing parents who had to quit school at 4th and 5th grade to help care for their siblings. They were childhood friends, married, had eight children, and put us all in business! I told my dad back in 1995 that Larry was going to sell the Taste of Maine, and my father said, “Get him on the phone.” I did, and he said, “Tell him I want to buy the Taste of Maine.” My brother asked why he wanted it, so I asked Dad why he wanted it, and Dad said, “I want to give it to you!” I said, “No, Dad, it’s too big,” to which he replied, “Don’t you worry, I’ll teach you everything you’ll need to know.” For the next four years, he came every day and I was like a sponge.

If you weren’t making rolls in Maine, what would you be doing?

The Taste of Maine Restaurant is a family affair — all my children work here, and my husband is the chef.


Beal’s Lobster Pier

182 Clark Point Rd., Southwest Harbor

207-244-3202  |  bealslobster.com

Beal's Lobster Pier, the second place winner of the 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition

“It means so much to win 2nd place in Down East’s Best Lobster Roll Competition because it was voted on by the readers! We strive to offer the best food and host the best experience, so to know our food makes people happy . . . that makes us happy!” — Sara Snyder

What’s the secret behind your roll?

Beal's Lobster Pier's lobster roll

The secret to our amazing lobster rolls is the lobster meat! We process everything in-house, so it goes straight from the boats to your rolls. We also offer our Garlic Lovah’s and Buffalo Buttah lobster rolls. It’s been huge fun to take a classic and make it our own — and the customers seem to agree!

When did you first start making your rolls?

Beal’s opened the restaurant portion of the business in 1969 and our lobster roll was born! Now, our rolls can be made gluten free, as can most of our menu. We want to make sure everyone can enjoy the magic of coming to Maine and enjoying a lobster roll.

If you weren’t making rolls in Maine, what would you be doing?

If we weren’t making the rolls for customers, we’d still be eating them ourselves! Our families had been Beal’s fans for 40 years before crossing over from customers to owners.


Must Be Nice Lobster Co.

Front St. Between Heritage Park and Hamlin’s Marine, Belfast

207-218-1431  |  mustbenicelobster.com

Must Be Nice Lobster Co., the third place winner of the 2021 Down East Lobster Roll Competition

“We are blown away by the love and support we have received as such a young and small business. We never imagined placing third in the contest. This has inspired us even more to keep working hard to give the people a real fisherman’s lobster roll.” —Sadie Samuels

What’s the secret behind your roll?

Must Be Nice Lobster Co.'s lobster rolls

I used to have people visit and they would go get lobster rolls. I never thought any of them were quite the way we did them at home as a lobster-fishing family, so I decided to take a stab at selling my own.

When did you first start making your rolls?

I started making lobster rolls for the public 5 years ago, at the United Farmers Market of Maine, in Belfast. It was only open Saturdays, and people really enjoyed what we were offering. This is our second full season with the food cart. 

If you weren’t making rolls in Maine, what would you be doing?

When I’m not making lobster rolls, I’m lobstering full-time.

Thank you to all our 2021 contestants! Keep an eye out for the start of our 2022 Lobster Roll Competition.


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Down East Magazine, September 2021