One of the simplest and most beloved of all seafood dishes is the lobster roll. The culinary equivalent to a millionaire stumbling around in a ripped undershirt, this dish pairs the hoity pretentiousness of lobster with the less-refined simplicity of a hot dog bun and somehow comes up with an American masterpiece. The only trouble is, great lobster rolls are mostly a New England trend. They can be downright tough to find at the Jersey Shore. But that problem is slowly being solved by a local chain specializing in these crustacean-based treats, Quincy’s Original Lobster Rolls.
Quincy’s has only been around for four years, but in that time they have managed to secure a location in Pennsylvania, as well as a pair of restaurants at the Jersey Shore, their most recent of which opened up in May of this year on Sea Isle City’s legendary Landis Avenue.
“There was no real competition per se. There was no specific lobster roll place in Southern Jersey, so we decided to take the idea and roll with it,” says Nick Klein, manager of the Sea Isle City location.
“Our first store opened in 2014 in Berwyn, Pa., just outside of King of Prussia. Then we opened in Cape May in 2015 — that is kind of the model now. We are going to try Southern Jersey stores seasonally. If this goes well, (we’ll open) possibly two more stores in other shore locations,” he adds.
The Sea Isle location is a simple storefront restaurant with clean, freshly painted walls, faux wood flooring and a mix of high top and standard dining tables. The space is accented with a large piece of wall art depicting a New England fishing village, which pairs well with the seafood theme. While you can grab a table and relax, the spirit of Quincy’s is definitely that of a fast-casual spot. Dishes are served in plastic baskets, and the come-as-you-are vibe works especially well in a sandy-footed seashore town such as Sea Isle City. Though it’s casual for sure, compared to the Cape May location it feels downright fancy.
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“We have 40 seats here compared to the Cape May location that only has four outdoor seats, so it’s definitely more of a sit-down vibe,” Klein states.
Quincy’s menu is short and sweet. They serve a variety of rolls (lobster, lobster salad, shrimp or crab) along with a few soups and salads and not much else. Their most popular menu item is, naturally, their classic lobster roll.
Prepared “Maine style” — chilled lobster meat with a bit of mayo and lemon butter on a grilled hot dog bun — you can order it the usual way or, for an additional five bucks, you can double the amount of lobster meat.
For those with abnormally large appetites, the four-roll combo gets you all varieties of their rolls on one tray. The combo does a nice job of showcasing the variety of styles and flavors a roll can be prepared as. For the shrimp roll, large chilled shrimp are paired with a drizzle of their zesty, cream-based cocktail sauce that is unlike any we have tried elsewhere, while the crab roll uses Maine crab meat (a new one to us and a bit of a head-scratcher) and gets topped with a spicy/creamy horseradish sauce that adds a pleasant kick that just manages to stay on the right side of being overwhelming. The lobster salad roll is exactly what it sounds like — a delicious helping of lobster salad chillaxing on a grilled hot dog roll. It differs from the classic in that it has more mayo and chunks of celery, while the classic is all about the meat.
They offer a rich and creamy lobster bisque that is buttery and contains a few nice chunks of actual lobster —something far too many restaurants somehow “forget” to add. Those looking to pair high end seafood with childhood comfort food would do well to opt for the lobster grilled cheese or the lobster mac and cheese, as both offer up a nice dose of creamy, cheesy goodness and ol’ fashioned white carbs. ’Merica indeed.
With any luck, Quincy’s newest location in Sea Isle will continue their path of success.
“We are expecting big crowds for sure.” Klein says.