Maine lobster roll vies for title of best food in nation

Seaside specialty crushes cheese steak, ham biscuits and boardwalk fries in Congressional Quarterly Roll Call’s Taste of America competition
Thu, 06/12/2014 - 10:00am

    The Maine lobster roll has made the final round of Congressional Quarterly Roll Call’s Taste of America contest, and the polls are currently open for Americans to vote for the title of best food in the nation. 

    People can vote online until Friday, June 20 at

    “This is a fun competition that happens every year to highlight specialty dishes from each state.  We’re competing for pride and bragging rights, but it’s also a great opportunity to showcase the special foods that make our states unique,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.  “The lobster roll has had an incredible run this year — thanks to the votes of thousands of Mainers — soundly defeating three other states to get the finals.  We’ve already shown that Maine food can compete with any others, but it would be especially sweet to take the title just as prime lobster roll season gets off to a start here at home.”

    Timed with the Congressional Baseball Game, the contest has had three preliminary head-to-head rounds with online voting determine which states would advance. So far, the Maine lobster roll has beaten Virginia Ham Biscuits 3,970-243, the Philly Cheese Steak 2,962-422, and Delaware Boardwalk Fries 6,933-2,099 in the three successive rounds.

    "So far we've really dominated the competition," Pingree said. "Ham biscuits, cheese steak and boardwalk fries didn't stand a chance.  I'm confident the lobster roll can win but we do have some tough competition in the final round."

    In the finals, the lobster roll squares off against a veritable pantheon of American dishes — Utah Cherry Cobbler, Oregon Blackberry Pie, Iowa Bacon, Illinois Deep Dish Pizza, Maryland Crab Cakes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and North Carolina Barbecue. The winner will be announced at the Congressional Baseball Game on June 25.

    Posts about the competition that Pingree has made on her Congressional Facebook page,, have been shared 850 times and elicited hundreds of comments in support of the lobster roll.  Links to the competition from the page have been clicked nearly 7,500 times.

    “The lobster roll offers such an iconic taste of Maine — more than that, it’s an experience.  In so many places where folks get lobster rolls, they can literally see the ocean where it came from and maybe even the lobstermen who caught the lobster just a few hours before,” said Pingree.  “More than anything, what I hope comes out of this competition is that people across the country will want to experience it for themselves.”