Local restaurant Freshies Lobster is headed back to Maine to defend their title of “World’s Best Lobster Roll”
Ben and Lorin Smaha moved to Park City in 2005 and started selling lobster rolls in 2008. The Smaha’s moved to Utah from New England but missed one aspect of home in particular.
“Ben is from Maine, and I’m from New Hampshire, but we did meet out here and felt like we were just lacking a good lobster roll around” Lorin Smaha explains.
They started their food truck in 2013, and the restaurant in Park City in 2016. They’re also opening a new store in Salt Lake in about a month. Last year Freshies Lobster won the title of “World’s Best lobster roll” at a competition in Portland, Maine. Smaha says they had a few raised eyebrows when people saw competition from Utah.
“There was plenty of Mainers that would come up for their sample lobster roll and saw Park City and said ‘What?!’ We had to tell them the story, that we’re originally from New England and we do know what we’re doing a little bit here, so that helped” Smaha said “We went into it definitely thinking people are just going to not vote for us on purpose. (…) We were so shocked when we won it was really amazing. I think people went there to truly give their honest feedback”
Smaha says that after winning the award they saw a huge increase of people coming to try their lobster rolls.
“Last year after that it was obviously insane. Every news channel from Salt Lake was in our restaurant for two weeks after and then we had about 2 months of just chaos.”
Smaha says they get their lobster shipped in fresh from some friend that Ben used to fish with in Maine. They send the lobster from Maine to Boston where it gets on a flight to Utah
“Overnight shipped every day. Especially in the summer it’s a couple times a day.” Smaha says
This Saturday the Smaha’s will be the ones getting on a plane headed to Maine. This year the rules for the competition are a bit different. Last year the competition had people vote on there favorite roll, after narrowing down to the top 3 a panel of judges made the decision. This year it’ll be based simply on a popular vote.
“I like it better this way. In fact, the lady who ran it last year, she did say if it was a popular vote (…) we would’ve won anyway as well. That felt good, she told me that this year when we were discussing it. I think this way is going to be a better way of voting.” Smaha said “Just let it be people’s choice and hopefully people aren’t going to be stacking against us.”
450 attendees will pay for entrance to the event, most will be New Englanders, which could mean stacked odds for Freshies.
“We were watching this video (saying) ‘Maine’s ready to take it back!’ We just felt like we had to go back and defend our title.”
Smaha takes courage from a New England icon.
“My manager said ‘Tom Brady wouldn’t not show up at the Super Bowl’ so we’re going to go do our best, have some fun and just have fun with it”