clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lobster Rolls Are Here but There’s a Catch — the Prices Have Soared

Summer sales of the iconic New England sandwich have returned to Detroit, but expect to pay $30, thanks to the pandemic

Two rows of lobster rolls at Mudgie’s during Lobster Week.
The cost of Maine lobster rolls at Mudgie’s Deli has risen this year
Gerard + Belevender

Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop has served lobster rolls seasonally for a decade, hauling fresh meat each summer from New England.

It’s a July event that’s popular with customers, with long lines filing on Brooklyn Street spot in Corktown. This year’s sale will run until July 31, but the prices for a sandwich are much higher than in previous years. Restaurateurs who serve lobster say the prices, which never were low to begin with, are at historic highs this year.

Blame a slow start to a harvest this year, more quarantined home cooks, and a demand spurred by recent restaurant reopenings.

Mudgie’s posted news of a price increase on its social media accounts this year but owner Greg Mudge says customers have been receptive. He’s optimistic about selling 3,000 pounds of lobster this July.

“Nobody seems to be batting an eye,” Mudge says of the cost increase for his Maine lobster rolls, filled with cold meat, mayonnaise, and celery.

There’s also a note to customers on the website of the popular the Lobster Food Truck, whose menu centers on the crustacean: “Due to the surge in lobster prices we will have to adjust this item by market price!”

Chef Nick Wilson tells Eater that prices of his lobster rolls recently rose, from $22 to $30 this year for an 8-inch Connecticut (on a toasted hoagie roll with hot garlic butter) or traditional Maine roll.

Wilson also tweaked the menu, to include more shrimp and fish for reticent customers.

He notices that more people are opting for the four-inch roll, which is selling for $16.

“Detroiters don’t want to spend a lot on food, unless they’ve been coming to you for a while,” Wilson explains of business at the truck, which parks at a different metro Detroit location each day.

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown is holding its yearly Lobster Pound, and prices for a lobster roll are $28, compared to $24 last year. The restaurant serves about 175 to 200 pounds of lobster per day during Hazel’s Lobster Pound sale, which runs through September.

The first Hazel’s Lobster Pound was during the summer lobster season of 2019, when customer traffic is typically a slower time for restaurants and the perfect time to experiment with something new, says co-owner Beth Hussey. Lobster rolls, especially made Connecticut-style, weren’t something widely available in the area during the time. Hussey says the Birmingham restaurant has served more than 30,000 lobster rolls to date.

“Connecticut style is always more popular.”

A man dressed in a lobster costume on the street
A lobster promotion at Mudgie’s in 2018
Gerard + Belevender

Where to buy lobster rolls this summer

Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop
1413 Brooklyn St, Detroit
Maine lobster rolls
Through July 31

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown
1 Peabody St, Birmingham
Maine and Connecticut lobster rolls
Through September

The Lobster Food Truck
Follow the truck schedule on its website: https://thelobsterfoodtruck.com
Year round

Tom’s Oyster Bar
318 S. Main, Royal Oak
Year round

Cellar 313
5112 Kercheval Avenue, Grosse Pointe Park
Tuesday to Saturday nights year round

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown

1 Peabody Street, , MI 48009 (248) 671-1714 Visit Website

Mudgie's

1300 Porter Street, , MI 48226 (313) 961-2000 Visit Website

Mudgie's Deli and Wine Shop

1300 Porter Street, , MI 48226 (313) 961-2000 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Detroit newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world