One of the Very Best Lobster Rolls in America is Served in Boise
As the state capitol of a mostly landlocked state (yes, Idaho technically has a seaport in Lewiston,) Boise’s pretty much one of the last places in the country you’d expect to find a good lobster roll. In fact, it’s one of the last places you’d expect to find a lobster roll in general.
We’re going to take you behind the scenes. Our radio station is owned by a larger radio group that has radio stations scattered all over the country, including four cities in Maine. Those Maine markets constantly tease us with mouthwatering articles about lobster rolls, a food that’s as iconic in Maine as Finger Steaks are in Idaho. Until we networked with our colleagues there, we’d never heard of a lobster roll before.
Not familiar with the concept? Basically, lobster rolls are chunked lobster prepared in, at the very least, butter, mayo and seasoning served in a split top bun. To our surprise, there are a few restaurants in Boise that have actually introduced Idahoans to the New England-inspired dish. In the grand scheme of things, all of them are relatively new.
Crave Kitchen & Bar opened in Eagle in June 2020. Their lobster roll isn’t a pure lobster roll. It’s a Lobster Crab Roll that’s made with both lobster chunks and jumbo lump crab. Their roll also includes togarashi aioli, truffle and drawn butter.
Little Pearl Oyster Bar opened on 8th Street in Boise in 2020. They serve both Maine and Connecticut-style lobster rolls made with real Maine lobster. What’s the difference? The Maine style is also made with brunoise cucumber, celery and red onion. The Connecticut-style roll is a little more stripped down, made with just warm butter and fine herbs.
The highly anticipated Freshie’s Lobster Co. opened in The Warehouse Food Hall in February 2023. While they do have some killer lobster mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and clam chowder, lobster rolls are the star of the menu and their specialty.
Stardust, the restaurant that replaced Asiago’s in Downtown Boise, opened a month later. They describe their lobster roll as butter-poached lobster tail, celery, chives and lemon served on a brioche roll.
And as far as we know, those are the only four restaurants in the Treasure Valley with lobster rolls on their regular menus! (If we’re wrong, please tell us. We won’t be offended and we want to eat more lobstah, so we want those tips!)
One of the Best Lobster Rolls in America is Served in Boise
So which of these four places made found itself on Gourmandize’s list of “America’s 30 Best Lobster Rolls?” One of the new kids on the block, Freshie’s Lobster Co. Flip to #22 on the list and you’ll see that the foodies at Gourmandize awarded Freshie’s the title of “Best Long-Distance Lobster Roll.” Why? Because the company originally got its start in Park City, Utah.
It sounds strange, but when you learn more about the Freshie’s story you’ll discover it all started because the restaurant's creators were a bit homesick. One grew up in New Hampshire. The other grew up in Maine. Lobster was basically in their blood, so they started selling lobster rolls at their local farmers market in Park City. They were so popular that they expanded to a food truck and eventually a brick-and-mortar location. There are three of those now. The one in Park City, one in Salt Lake City and the newest location, here in Boise.
Freshie’s is as authentic as it gets. The lobsters the restaurant uses are caught in Maine in the morning, packaged and sent to Boston in the afternoon and distributed to Freshie’s kitchens the next day. It’s their “Shore to Door in 24” promise to customers.
Ready to try one (or all four) of these lobster rolls? Just know that they’re going to be a treat for a special occasion. Lobster rolls are expensive. The ones at Freshie’s and Crave will cost you $27. Stardust list's theirs at $29 and at Little Pearl Oyster Bar, the price slides based on the market price they get for their lobster.