While the Clam Shack's food is it's biggest draw (just try to resist it if you're stuck in Dock Square summertime traffic!), a close second is the sheer experience of dining at the Clam Shack. All dishes are take away, and diners eat al fresco on wooden benches and lobster crates, watching a colorful parade of passerby. Or you can find a spot on the narrow boardwalk that sits directly on the river, and watch striped bass and mallard ducks come up under the pilings looking for dropped treats. Locals know better than to sit on the bridge, but if you're brave, sit there for a spectacular view of the river and Dock Square. Beware of the brazen seagulls, who know a good thing when they see it.
Local lore establishes the Clam Shack's roots in 1968, when the little shanty was rented on a handshake. Current owner, Steve Kingston, bought the Shack and the adjoining Clam Shack Seafoods in 2000. In the decade since, Steve has kept a brisk trade going by following tradition and keeping the precariously balanced buildings shipshape.
Perched at the bridge over the Kennebunk River, the Clam Shack provides a classic visual welcome to visitors. The tiny, immaculate fish shack serves award winning fried food, traditional boiled lobster dinners and lobster rolls served on freshly baked buns from a local bakery. And, on a sunny day, you can find a fresh squeezed lemonade stand. Visiting the Clam Shack is a timeless summer ritual, good for the soul and a nostalgic taste of Maine.
Our lobster roll is a traditional one with a twist. Our twist goes kind of the opposite of everybody else’s...we rely on the traditional basics of locally caught, saltwater boiled, just shucked Maine lobster and locally made butter. We add a smear of mayo to a grilled custom made local bakery roll, and serve it with a slice of lemon. It’s basic, unsullied, pure...it tastes like summer in Maine. Customers opt for butter, mayo or both. Owner Steve Kingston swears by both and that’s the combination that we take to competitions. It’s a winner!
We’re passionate about our roll and its preparation. Our lobsters are caught right off Kennebunkport and are only out of their native water for the five minute trip with our fifth generation lobsterman, Eric Emmons, from the boat to our lobster pound. The saltwater pumped through our tanks comes from the tidal river running under our building.
Clam Shack lobsters are then boiled in saltwater and handpicked and shucked, all in-house. We never buy processed lobster and don’t acknowledge the term “frozen.” Using the freshest meat as the core of our roll is really the secret...it truly stands on its own, and doesn’t need the support of heavy dressings or spices.
The other twist is our roll, which is a specially made bakery yeast roll. When the traditional New England hot dog rolls started to flag in quality, we realized we needed a bread that would support and compliment our top-notch meat. We pick up our special order rolls every morning from a 100 year old family bakery, and their slight sweetness balances perfectly with the salt of the lobster.
The Clam Shack lobster roll has been featured in many publications including Food & Wine Magazine, USA Today’s 50 Great Plates of America and Travel and Leisure Magazine. It’s also been featured on The Cooking Channel, Food Network, Chronicle and the Travel Channel. Find a list of our accomplishments on our News & Press Page while considering...Butter, Mayo or Both?
Our Maine Lobster Roll Kit has become a go to gift for the person who has everything, or couldn’t make the family trip to Maine, or simply has a hankering for their favorite lobster roll. It had an accidental beginning when an interviewer asked owner Steve Kingston if there was a way to enjoy our lobster roll at home – like a DIY kit. We didn’t do anything like it at the time, but Steve gave it a nod, and seized the opportunity to try something new. While his Dad was still trying to track down the right shipping box, the phone started ringing with requests for our lobster roll kit. The article hadn’t even been published yet, but a star was born. Today we sell a one pound kit which makes six nice rolls, and a two pound kit that serves twelve. Each kit includes one or two pounds of fresh picked lobster meat, New England hot dog rolls, mayo and a recipe card. Both kits are available over the phone, and are guaranteed to arrive fresh overnight.
2 Western Avenue,
Kennebunk, ME 04043