When you live in Connecticut, summer and seafood shacks go hand in hand. A day at one of the many state beaches can come to the perfect end with a stop for a hot, buttered, Connecticut style lobster roll, a fried seafood platter and an ice cream cone. Here are a handful of my favorite Connecticut seafood shacks:
Lobster Landing is what you imagine a New England lobster shack to look like: a quaint building on a dock, with a slightly dilapidated sign, seating with a perfect view of the ocean, and an owner that looks like he just stepped off a fishing boat after a long journey at sea. They stay open until New Years, so if you miss them in the summer, just know that you can also see them with Christmas lights under a blanket of snow. Closes December 31 for the season.
152 Commerce St. Clinton, CT 06413
Abbott's Lobster In The Rough
Pull your boat up to Abbott’s and enjoy a lobster extravaganza. Situated on the Mystic River in Noank, Abbott's has been serving seafood for over 65 years. This is the place to go if you’re up for a challenge. Their “famous lobster roll” has the standard quarter pound of meat, but their “OMG roll” has almost twice that, and the “LOL Hot Lobster Roll”? Well that has one pound of hot buttery lobster piled on. Closes for the season on Columbus Day.
117 Pearl St. Groton, CT 06340
Guilford Lobster Pound
This is where you come to eat if you want to be surrounded by water and a sea breeze, and eat a damn good lobster roll. I've never eaten anything else on the menu and that is 100% because I can't get myself to stray from the perfectly toasted, and buttered concoction that is their roll. so yeah, would eat again. Closes for the season on Columbus Day.
505A Whitfield St. Guilford, CT 06437
Captain Scott's Lobster Dock
Captain Scott's checks all the boxes: a beautiful location on the water, outdoor seating, an ice cream window, and a fish market. While Connecticut may be famous for the hot lobster roll, don't sleep on Captain Scott’s lobster salad roll. Light, peppery and with the perfect amount of crunch from the celery and lettuce, it sets the standard. Closes for the season October 14.
80 Hamilton St. New London, CT 06320
Serving Madison for over six decades, this roadside eatery cooks up lobster rolls favored by Jacques Pepin and fried whole belly clams to die for. The extensive menu includes everything from blackened fish tacos and clam chowder to hamburgers and hotdogs, and is the perfect stop after a day at Hammonasset Beach. Closes at the end of October for the season.
1324 Boston Post Rd. Madison, CT 06443
If you’re not familiar with Ford’s infamous lobster bomb, let’s introduce you. Picture a bread bowl, hollowed out and stuffed full of your choice of hot or cold lobster, and then topped with a generous pour of lobster bisque. Dreamy, right? Add it to your list of things to eat before you die. Open year round except February.
15 Riverview Ave. Noank, CT 06340
If you're ever going to cheat on the lobster roll, cheat on it with this: Bill's Lobster Salad BLT. Best eaten on one of their outdoor picnic tables on the Patchogue River, the sweet lobster pairs perfectly with the savory bacon, the ocean breeze, and a cold beer from their full bar. Open year round.
548 Boston Post Rd. Westbrook, CT 06498
Stowe's is one of my favorite little hideaways in the state. Nestled in West Haven, this restaurant makes you feel miles away with all the pirate paraphernalia and beach directly across the street. My order usually involves their hot lobster roll (which is superb), a cup of chowder, and the soft-shell crab during season. Open year round except for January.
347 Beach St. West Haven, CT 06516
This no frills roadside shack serves lobsters, clams, corn, fish and veggies all cooked over a giant wood-fired grill. It’s BYOB (including food items not on their menu), is pet friendly and cash or check only. Sit your rump on one of their many tree stump seats and enjoy a meal while summer nostalgia inevitably overcomes you. Open through September and weekends only in October.
901 Boston Post Rd. Guilford, CT 06437
You probably know LobsterCraft from their two food trucks, which used to wander the street serving lobster rolls with their special secret seasoning. Well they recently opened a brick and mortar in Fairfield serving all their signature rolls, including their Coastal with melted butter and seasoning; California Roll with cucumber, wasabi infused soy sauce and avocado; and their Heat Wave with spicy butter. Open year round.
1891 Post Rd. Fairfield, CT 06824
Treehouse at Oyster Club
Downtown Mystic’s version of a seafood shack is located high in the trees above the Oyster Club. Here in the Treehouse you can enjoy clam shack classics like a hot lobster roll topped with crispy shallots, oysters ($1 during happy hour), and an assortment of cocktails while taking in the summer breeze. Open Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
13 Water St. Mystic, CT 06355
Located on the Mystic River, Sea Swirl is famous for their whole belly clams and clam strips, and has over forty flavors of soft serve ice cream for your enjoyment. You can sit on one of their many picnic tables and watch the sunset over the flood tides, while you chomp away at their lobster rolls, hot dogs and clams fritters. Open April through October.
30 Williams Ave. Mystic, CT 06355
This little marina side shack serves a simple menu during the summer months. A seasonal offshoot of Liv's Oyster Bar, you can expect the same great quality in a much more casual atmosphere. Dine on picnic tables in the yard, or on their porch (outdoor seating only) and make sure to call ahead if the weather is looking spotty. Enjoy classics like a hot lobster roll (they don't offer a cold version), a lobster grilled cheese, fried shrimp, hand cut old bay fries, and a grill menu with hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken tenders. Closes for the season on Labor Day.
26 Bridge St, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
Lobster Shack Branford
Located in Bilbarie Marina, just across the water from Stony Creek Brewery, the Lobster Shack serves simple summer fare including grilled clams, chowder and their perfectly buttered lobster roll. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite while watching the boats head out. Closes for the season on Columbus Day.
7 Indian Neck Ave. Branford, CT 06406
Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale
This family friendly restaurant group has three locations on the Connecticut shore: New Haven, Madison and Westbrook. All relaxed venues with both counter and table service, they're a great place to have a lobster dinner, friend whole belly clams or a lobster roll. And they all have full bars. Open year round.
Locations in New Haven, Madison and Westbrook
The Lobster Hut
A food truck with a permanent parking location in Milford, The Lobster Hut serves up classic seafood shack fare- roadside. Come for the lobster roll and the clam roll, and if seafood isn't your thing, hotdogs and onion rings are also available. Open year round.
826 Bridgeport Ave. Milford, CT 06460
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