There’s no summer in the Northeast with lobster rolls. While New Jersey may not boast the same reputation as Maine or Connecticut, the state still knows its way around a sandwich. Do you take yours warm and doused in butter? How about chilled and tossed in mayo? Celery or no celery? These New Jersey restaurants cater to the less-is-more crowds, as well as those looking for something uber-indulgent. Still wondering who makes the best lobster rolls in NJ? Here are 20 spots that will transport you to New England.
1. Angry Archies – Multiple NJ Locations
This popular North Jersey food truck is well-known for its crab cakes. However, that doesn’t mean you should overlook the lobster rolls. You can find two varieties at Angry Archies. A chilled Maine version that combines chunks of lobster with a spicy corn mayo. Or a Connecticut-style roll served warm with butter and lemon vinaigrette. Find their weekly schedule on their IG page.
2. Bahrs Landing – Highlands, NJ
A trip to Sandy Hook beach wouldn’t be complete without lunch at Bahrs Landing. This NJ staple in the Highlands has a “Jersey” lobster roll on the menu. Did we mention Bahr’s lobster rolls are also served with housemade potato chips? The fresh lobster salad is a non-traditional mix of seafood, arugula, tomatoes, celery and mayo. It is then generously piled onto a toasted brioche bun.
3. BK Lobster – Hoboken, NJ
BK Lobster might have a reputation with the NYC crowd, but its first Garden State outpost has already garnered attention. The menu here is essentially all lobster, all the time. They offer eight (yes, eight), different rolls which range from classic to straight outrageous. You can get Connecticut or Maine styles here and just about everything else in between. Lobster claws wrapped in 24k edible gold, anyone?
4. Cousins Maine Lobster – Multiple NJ Locations
Spotted Cousins Maine Lobster down the Jersey Shore? Or maybe you’ve seen them parked at a North Jersey food festival. Either way, this food truck has developed a cult-like following, which has a lot to do with their 2016 appearance on “Shark Tank.” Thankfully, it’s worth the hype. If you don’t mind waiting in line, both their Connecticut and Maine-style lobster rolls are top-notch and undoubtedly the truck’s best dishes.
5. Elysian Cafe – Hoboken, NJ
This French bistro-inspired spot is part of Hoboken’s history. Sure, you won’t be dining on the water but it’s Washington Street location is one of our favorites for outdoor dining. When the weather is warm, ordering Elysian’s lobster roll is a must. A hefty serving of lobster salad tossed with shallots, celery and herbs is nestled into a potato bun with shredded lettuce and tomato. On the side is an arugula salad and Pommes Frites.
6. Hooked JC – Jersey City, NJ
Since ghost kitchens have come into existence, this Bergen-Lafayette spot has jumped on the bandwagon. Currently, you can order Hooked JC and choose between two lobster roll offerings. In the Connecticut version, a quarter pound of wild-caught Canadian lobster (claw and knuckle meat) is piled into a buttered, toasted split-top potato roll. The Maine version dresses the chilled lobster in mayo, herbs and seasonings instead.
7. Jack’s Lobster/Seafood Shack – Edgewater, Montclair and Cresskill, NJ
This popular seafood establishment first set its roots down in Edgewater and has since expanded across to North Jersey. The fourth storefront in Short Hills is said to be coming soon. At any of Jack’s locations, diners can find two iterations of lobster rolls. One served cold and with mayo. The other is warm with butter. Want to make it a platter? You can get homemade coleslaw, salad or potato chips on the side. Or, go all out and order their double meat option.
8. Klein’s Fish Market & Waterside Cafe – Belmar, NJ
If you’re in Belmar, look no further than this seafood market, riverfront bar and waterside restaurant. Klein’s has been in business for almost 100 years, so you know they’re the aficionados when it comes to fresh, locally-caught fish. Here, they’re using fresh steamed lobster as the base for their lobster roll and mixing it with celery, Old Bay and a little mayo. Every order comes plated with a side of spicy slaw and french fries.
9. Lobster Alley – Raritan, NJ
Lobster Alley in Raritan, NJ is for lobster rolls purists. They’re sourcing their seafood straight from Maine and are making their brioche, split-top rolls by hand every morning. Get ‘em dressed in either butter or mayo. Make it a meal with a side of potato chips and a pickle.
10. Mystic Lobster Roll Company – Multiple NJ Locations
Lobster rolls three ways? That’s what you’ll find a Mystic Lobster Roll Company. This NJ eatery has multiple outposts across North, South and Central Jersey—making it all too easy to satisfy that seafood craving. Whether you want it Maine, Connecticut or New England-style, you can count on biting into a third-pound of lobster meat per sandwich.
11. Point Lobster Bar & Grill – Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
What happens when two Point Pleasant Beach restaurants merge? You get Point Lobster Bar & Grill. Aside from elevated versions of various seafood dishes, they’ve got not one but two lobster rolls on the menu. Get it warm on a potato roll and dripping in butter. Or order the cold version with citrus lobster salad.
12. Proving Ground – Highlands, NJ
Ready to dock and dine? The rolls at this waterfront restaurant are stuffed with chunks of fresh lobster meat that’s lightly dressed with mayo, lemon and fresh herbs. Diners get two rolls per order, served on toasted brioche buns.
13. Quincy’s Lobster Rolls – Multiple NJ Locations
With six NJ locations, you won’t have to trekk far for lobster rolls from Quincy’s. Their classic-style roll includes the trail, knuckle, and claw meat on a hot dog roll. It’s a mash-up of sorts with mayo, lemon butter, Old Bay and chives to top it off.
14. Red’s Lobster Pot – Point Pleasant Beach, NJ
Since its days as a lobster market, Red’s Lobster Pot has become a Jersey Shore landmark known for its fresh, local seafood. Part of their daily catch includes lobsters, which ultimately end up being prepared cold with mayo or hot with butter and stuffed into a roll. Plus, coleslaw and fries come on the side.
15. Stern and Bow – Closter, NJ
If the name didn’t tip you off, Stern and Bow pays homage to the sea with their American eatery. What you might not have known is that they’re treating the humble lobster roll with as much finesse as their other upscale entrées. Think Connecticut-style, with huge chunks of claw meat drizzled with clarified butter. Old Bay shoestring fries are served on the side.
16. Surf City – Jersey City, NJ
At Surf City, you get two lobster rolls essentially for the price of one. (As if you weren’t already running to this JC hotspot.) You can order their rolls cold with celery and herb aioli or warm with poached Maine lobsters smothered in clarified butter. The potato roll is non-negotiable.
17. The Boil – Jersey City, NJ
The only Garden State outpost for this NYC seafood chain just so happens to be in Jersey City. You would of course be right to order their Cajun-style seafood boil. Think crawfish, crabs and head-on shrimp. But if you happen to be looking for a different kind of bite, their lobster roll isn’t to be missed. The sandwich is overflowing with lobster tail meat and is served chilled.
18. The Bonney Read – Asbury Park, NJ
The Bonney Read in Asbury Park, NJ prides itself on sustainably procured and locally sourced seafood and that philosophy extends to their lobster rolls as well. This roll takes a classic split-top hot dog bun griddled in butter and fills it with whole lobster meat from Maine that’s tossed simply with mayo, thinly sliced celery, lemon juice and dill. All you need is a side of fries and coleslaw and you’re golden.
19. The Yacht Club – Edgewater, NJ
With terrific views of the Upper West Side, The Yacht Club is the perfect weekend or date night venture. Their “famous lobster roll” lives up to its name and appeases both mayo and butter lovers. Tucked into a brioche bun, hearty pieces of Maine lobster meat come together with your choice of herb mayo or herb butter. Old Bay fried adds the perfect punch of flavor.
20. Tony Boloney’s – Multiple NJ Locations
Catch the Lobsta Trap all summer long at Tony Boloney’s. This behemoth, over-the-top sandwich is unlike any other lobster roll on this list. We’re talking steamed lobster meat, garlic aioli, “bayou” butter, fresh and smoked mutz, all finished with celery salt. Purists might want to look the other way.
Have a favorite spot to get lobster rolls in NJ? Let us know in the comments below!
Main photo by Sharon McCutcheon