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Red's Eats

Main St. & Water St., Wiscasset, ME - (207) 882-6128
Posted By Michael Stern on August 8, 2013 10:03 AM
Red's is a real lobster shack, a building about the size of a small house trailer with a single window where you both place your order and then get it when it's ready. Opened in Boothbay in 1938, it moved to the north end of Wiscasset in 1954, and it has since become a summertime legend. Many people believe that here is the best lobster roll anywhere: Heaps of meat from at least one whole one-pound lobster is extracted in great hunks and piled into a toasted split-top bun that is accompanied by a cup of drawn butter or, if you wish, mayonnaise to garnish it. It is lobster-eater's nirvana.

"Look how beautiful!" says the waitress when she presents ours through the window on its picnic tray. Her enthusiasm is that of someone who has never seen one of these amazing sandwiches ever before. In fact, she is dishing out dozens, probably hundreds on this pleasant summer day. Crowds of people line up for lobster rolls at Red's so that the wait just to get to the window can be up to an hour.

Once you receive your food – the large menu also contains fried seafood of all kinds, burgers, onion rings, French fries, and Round Top ice cream – you carry it to one of the plastic tables in back of the restaurant and dine in the sun alongside Route One.

Lobster roll prices vary according to the market. They generally run about $15.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll

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Posted By Lisette Depew-Kubie on June 11, 2014 6:38 PM
We've been visiting Maine for more than 35 years, and our trip there is never complete without a lobster roll from Red's. I've never had better. Ever! It's worth waiting on the line for sure. They don't mess it up - they present a simple, old fashioned, organic, very generous, fresh, scrumptious, lobster roll that can't be beat. Don't miss this historic, family oriented, always delicious and fresh seafood shanty.
3 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings
Coleslaw

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Posted By Karen on September 6, 2013 11:19 AM
I travel by wheelchair and when my husband and I saw the long line we almost turned around. But, having heard what wonderful food was served, we decided to park and get in line. It was a hot day and others in line said it looked to be about a 45 minute wait. A few minutes passed and a staff person approached us and said he would take our order because there was a step at the front of the line that I probably wouldn't be able to do. So, we ordered our lobster rolls, got out of line, found a picnic table on the grass (not too difficult for the wheelchair) and our meal was brought to us. I can't thank Red's enough for that kind gesture!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll

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Posted By Kim Jahn on July 31, 2013 4:00 PM
We visited your location not one time, but both days in the Boothbay Harbor area. We saw a line earlier in the day and decided maybe around dusk or just after dinner time, we would give it a try. We pulled up and not one person in line. We hurried over because we had read all the reviews. We placed our order and the very friendly staff came out from behind and took our picture just so we could prove first off no line and a picture of our lobster rolls. It was the most amazing lobster roll we had in Maine. It was filled to the rim and was even pouring out. We had enough lobster for 2 rolls. We loved it so much we returned same time next day for the same result. My husband went across the street to give them a try and we both met up again.. No comparison, Red's hands down was the best lobster roll in the area.. We would return also for the blueberry cake!
5 star rating
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Lobster Roll

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Posted By K on September 18, 2012 1:51 PM
While visiting Maine we noticed a line at this place called Red's in Wiscasset. We figured it must be good. On the next drive by we stopped and entered the line. While waiting we started conversing with a couple from Florida. In a reasonable time we got to place our order. At this point, I should note that the wife of the couple we met had been looking for seating and must have heard some comments that were unfavorable. She gave the signal to her husband but he and I were so engrossed he decided to remain in line.

They ordered first and took a table out back and held two seats for us. My wife proceeded to join them and wait for me to arrive with our order. When I saw the look on her face I knew we could be in trouble. They did not like their food. We began to eat ours and had the same experience. Not good. We had each ordered something different so we had a reasonable selection. Greasy, overcooked, watery, and in general not appetizing.

What a shame. Great location, reasonable prices, and the lines are now puzzling. I noticed while waiting that the owner had passed away a few years ago. I suspect he would be unhappy to see what has happened. The lines must have meant something in his day. Although it could be a while, maybe never, before we are there again I doubt we will see lines the next time if this is their new norm.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings
Crab Roll

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Posted By Darla Eck on July 29, 2012 8:31 PM
LOVE their haddock sandwich. My daughter finished hers before we got to the car! Worth the sometimes long wait.
4 star rating
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Posted By cindy bastion on July 4, 2012 2:33 PM
Ate at Red's for the first time in September and haven't stopped talking about it. In fact, we are making the trip this September from Detroit to Wiscasset for the sole purpose of showing our companions what real lobsta rolls should taste like. Driving 16 hours one way just for Red's! That's one of the neat things you can do when you retire, LOL.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Crab Roll

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Posted By mike smith on June 28, 2012 8:47 PM
My wife and I ate at Red's Eats yesterday after reading and hearing about how good the lobster roll was; best in Maine, according to many publications, broadcasters, etc.

The lobster rolls we received were actually two of the worst we had in Maine. The lobster was cold, the bun toasted on one side and the butter or mayo served as a side. So what you received for $15.95 (yesterday's market price) was a lot of cold but very chewy lobster, a dry bun, and dipping sauce.

We were not alone in our disappointment. Couples on either side of us asked, "What is so special about this?" and "What's all the fuss about?"

This very poor meal came after standing in line for an hour on a Wednesday anticipating something really special. Something special was the really delicious lobster rolls we had on the dock in Round Pound for $7.99 each.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll

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Posted By David Shannon on June 19, 2012 2:16 PM
I saw the line from the road so I figured it must be good. They make a fantastic lobster roll with plenty of meat. Red's is an amazingly good roadside dining experience.
3 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings

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Posted By Frank Giacobbi on June 18, 2012 12:29 AM
In terms of the amount of lobster meat super-stuffed into a very ordinary hotdog roll, Red's is super-great. From there, though, it is all downhill.

The roll, i.e., the bread, is unremarkable, the onion rings are gratuitously greasy, and the iced tea is remarkably overpriced. Butter and mayonnaise on the side are big pluses for some. For me, neither one is up to the job of complementing the flavor of the lobster.

After factoring in a nearly one-hour wait in the sun, I wonder what all the hype is about. My favorite lobster pound remains one on a beach north of Camden. I know that Red's lobster rolls come highly recommended, but I've had better ones elsewhere. Next time, I'll be driving much farther north before I stop for a lobster roll.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings

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Posted By Pierre Béland on March 30, 2012 5:38 PM
J'habite le Québec et plusieurs fois par année, de l'ouverture de la saison jusqu'au Columbus Day, je me rends chez Red Gagnon à Wiscasset.

Ce fut toute une découverte pour moi et je recommande cet endroit à tous ceux qui voyagent dans le Maine.

À 45 minutes à peine de Augusta, par les routes 9 et 27, c'est un endroit à découvrir.

La réputation n'est pas surfaite.

Quinze petites minutes de plus vous amènent à Damariscotta, un superbe endroit à découvrir et des huîtres à déguster.

Les meilleures au Nord du Pécos.
0 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll

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Posted By Myra R on October 4, 2011 11:58 PM
Just visited Red's Eats for the third time. It is well worth the time it takes to get there and, also, to wait in line. Best lobster roll I've ever eaten!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Coleslaw

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Posted By Tammie Petty on August 10, 2011 8:24 PM
My husband and I (and now two children) have been coming to Maine for 18 years. For many years we would drive past this little shack on the side of the road and wonder who would eat there. We noticed when we passed at certain times of the day, the line was fairly long. During one particular visit we read an article about the best lobster rolls in Maine and again noticed the little shack. This got us curious, and so we stopped one day. We have been going back faithfully ever since.

Red's has the best lobster rolls around. We also love the fried clams. They also have basic kid fare (my son is a strict grilled cheese kind of guy) and other menu items. It especially great when traveling in the fall, because there are no lines. Now with kids, we travel in the summer and have waited over an hour, but it is well worth it.

It is a no fuss kind of place and the wait is sometimes just as interesting. The staff is always pleasant, and they've been great and engaging with our kids. We recommend the trip, at least once. I am sure you will get hooked too.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings
Crab Roll
Fried Zucchini

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Posted By Crystal Plummer on July 19, 2011 8:16 PM
I live on the coast of Maine, only about 10 miles from Red's Eats. I have eaten at this delightful take-out restaurant for the past 30+ years.

I'm a huge lobster fan, and I had not tried the lobster roll at Red's. Since they claim that theirs is the best, I decided to do a "lobster roll quest" last summer (2010). I called it a quest because I was determined to try at least 20 different lobster rolls from places claiming to be the best.

The prices and sizes of the rolls did vary, but all in all most lobster rolls here in Maine do cost about the same per pound/ounce. You can spend $5 on a lobster roll and get a hotdog roll half-filled with iceberg lettuce and a few tablespoons of lobster, or you can spend about $15 at a place like Red's Eats and get a hotdog roll that is so overstuffed with clear lobster meat (clear lobster simply means no dressing) that it would really take three or four rolls to hold it all.

I will admit, when I did the quest last year, there was a tie for first place so, alas, I had to eat a lobster roll at both places again to determine the winner (it's tough being a food critic!). Red's Eats came out on top. Not only was there more lobster in the roll for the same price, but they gave the choice of either mayo or drawn butter and did not charge extra for it. Honestly, that is why they "won" my quest: the other restaurant's roll was equally delicious but they insisted on charging me an extra 50 cents for drawn butter on their clearmeat lobster roll.

I am appalled at the review below that criticized Red's for not putting "green" on the roll (I'm assuming he is talking about the bitter lettuce that most places insist on putting on their rolls?!). Lobster rolls should NOT come with lettuce, particularly iceberg lettuce, which is bitter and nasty. And the same reviewer's comments on crabmeat rolls: EVERY crabmeat roll has lots of butter in Maine. Maine crabmeat is NOT lumpy like meat from Maryland's blue crabs. Maine crabmeat comes in small pieces and strings that you would choke on if it were served without lots of mayo.

Back to my review of Red's: because I'm a local and have eaten there so many times I have had the privilege of trying many items on their menu. My favorite menu item is actually their fried zucchini, served with sour cream on the side. The zucchini is greasy but this is a fast-food takeout restaurant.

My least favorite Red's food is the hotdog. It has been a few years since I had one, but I recall that it was an all-beef hotdog, and in fairness to Red's, I don't like all-beef hotdogs anywhere except Nathan's.

The lobster roll is a must-have if you like lobster. It's enough for two people to share, but not too much for one. The atmosphere is fun, but the lines can get long (very worth the wait!). There is plenty of seating behind the restaurant with gorgeous water views, and if you're lucky and your timing is right, you may see the passenger rail train go by. Parking and traffic can be iffy in Wiscasset, especially this year (2011) as the town is replacing water lines and many side roads are closed down.

If you can go during off-peak times (close to opening, or late at night; they don't close until 11 pm in the summer!) you will likely not have to wait in much of a line. If there are less than 10 people waiting, that is not a line. Normally the line goes around the building and down the hill. If you desire to eat during peak times your wait may be up to an hour.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Crab Roll
Fried Zucchini

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Posted By Peter on July 17, 2011 8:41 PM
Not to be a killjoy, but having lived in Maine my whole life I think I can say this place is SO overrated! You can find an equal or better lobster roll almost anywhere in Maine. There are better ways to waste your time in the great state of Maine.
1 star rating
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Posted By Michael Kaye on April 26, 2011 7:48 PM
Very friendly service. We felt like regulars even though it was our first visit. Excellent lobster roll.
4 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Coleslaw
Onion Rings

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Posted By dianna jacob on October 25, 2010 12:08 PM
Best I've ever had! Decadent fresh lobster meat piled on top of a buttery roll with no unnecessary toppings or condiments. I didn't even use the mayo or butter on the side. I would drive up to Maine again just for another!
0 star rating
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Posted By deb haras on October 25, 2010 12:00 PM
Don't look anywhere else if you're looking for the best lobster roll. After visiting Maine twice and stopping at many different lobster shacks, Red's takes the cake! The onion rings are to die for as well. You may have two wait, especially in the peaks months, but reassured, it's worth it. The serving size is more than generous and tender.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings

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Posted By b pulsipher on June 23, 2010 10:39 AM
For seven seasons, I lived and worked in the Damariscotta-Wiscasset area, and often ate at Red's. The lines are long during the lunch hour, often 30-50 people waiting, so I usually ate late in the day.

The lobster rolls are consistently the best, always piled high with chunky lobster meat. But there's other food that's good too. I used to grab a quick grilled cheese or hamburger, fast and cheap, always tasty, and their fries are those slim, slightly crunchy type that have great texture and good potato taste, not those processed-like fries at the major fast food joints.

When I worked in a nearby shop, I would call in my order for lunch and the employees would have it waiting for me at the side door, knowing I couldn't possibly stand in the long lunch lines. The staff at Red's is the best!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Onion Rings
Coleslaw

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Posted By Bob Lintner on June 21, 2010 3:55 AM
My wife and I just returned from an extended weekend in "downeast Maine" and had the pleasure of eating at Reds Eats twice. One day I stood in the rain waiting for them to open (you get there early for a good place in line). The food, as always was outstanding (We had their famous lobster rolls and fried haddock sandwiches). We can't wait to return again!
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Lobster Roll
Coleslaw
Crab Roll

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Posted By William Fessenden on May 26, 2010 1:56 PM
Now an adult, I thought that I should revisit a restaurant that I hadn't been to since I was a child. My domestic partner had never been to Red's. Since my last visit it has been written up with rave reviews all over. Therefore, I deemed it time to revisit this roadside fry shack. We order a large fry, crab roll and a lobster roll.. no drinks or anything else.. The bill $32! The fries where ok... nothing like "Duck Fats" fries. However, the fries were on par for McDonalds-if that is what you like. The crab roll wasn't bad if you LOVE mayo. It was very simple having a roll fried in butter on a steel grill filled with a crab/mayo filling and topped with a crab seasoning and that was it. For $12 I was expecting a little less mayo and maybe something green in there. The lobster roll was the absolute worst and for $15 they should be ashamed of it. Same buttered roll that the crab came on. However, it was severed with a side of mayo and/or butter and the rolled was stuffed with nothing but lobster. It was the toughest lobster I've eaten in years and dry. With the low lobster prices I am not sure what I paid for. Red's eat doesn't make a lobster roll; they just pick a lobster for you and stuff it into a hotdog bun. Now armed with a memory of the food at Red's I will never go back.
1 star rating
Overall Rating
Crab Roll
Lobster Roll

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Posted By Robert Beale on December 27, 2007 5:22 PM
I worked in Damariscotta, ME in June and ate at Red's three times. Walking by just as they were closing one evening, I was repeatedly asked if I wanted something; Red's was shut and the owners were about to leave. They insisted and prepared an inexpensive large grilled cheese sandwich. I went back one later evening for their great clam roll; hot fried clams piled up on the roll and falling all over plate.

My wife flew up to join me for a week vacation and we were back at Red's for their renowned lobster roll (gobs of tender lobster meat heaped on a toasted bun and eaten, in our case, with just clear drawn butter). Boy did it meet and exceed expectations. Even if you are not hungry, if you drive through Wiscasset, you absolutely must stop at Red's and order a lobster roll to go.
4 star rating
Overall Rating

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