OMG. Senses tingling, overwhelming mounds of fresh Maine lobsta atop a grilled brioche roll? Give me an “R”, give me an “O”, give me an “L”, give me another “L”, whatcha got? The finest culinary discovery is located in downtown Portland, Maine.
Let’s step back and see what happened! The Sherpas were in Portland, Maine for a Swish can release at Bissell Brothers last Wednesday. After the can release, we stopped by Allagash Brewing Company where a manager recommended we try The Highroller Lobster Co for the best lobster rolls in the area. We drove from Allagash straight downtown to 104 Exchange Place (off the corner of Federal and Exchange Streets).
The Highroller Lobster Co, was founded by friends Andy Gerry and Baxter Key in 2015. Both being from South Portland, these hyper-local roommates bought a food cart and created the best lobster roll they could imagine. Baxter’s background and experience was in design and restaurants. Andy cut fish at the local fish market. With this experience, they do all of their design, layout, branding and menus in-house. Only one year later, another food cart was added to the fleet. Being mobile units, the carts had to be tracked by the faithful by following Highroller’s social media. And the faithful did just that, satisfying their palates with a combination of research and determination. In December, 2017, The Highroller Lobster Co opened a bricks and mortar location at 104 Exchange Street, Portland, ME 04101 (207) 536-1623. Andy and Baxter got to know the Bissell Brothers back at the old Industrial Way location with their first food cart. Peter Bissell (one of the Bissell Brothers), joined Andy and Baxter as a partner in the company simultaneously with the expansion into the bricks and mortar restaurant. Peter brings with him experience in photography and, of course, beer, and helps support the in-house efforts. The food carts will remain seasonally operational going forward, catering events, at breweries, or other locations.
The hungry epicurean can now consume these “finer foods in a casual dining environment”, said Andy. This summer, the seating will double with an outdoor eating area in the rear of the restaurant with its own 6 draft beer lines, raw bar (with oysters and clams) and dedicated food cart for quick and convenient service.
The restaurant frontage is bright and clean with bold red lettering. The interior is predominantly white with bold red countertops, light fixtures, lettering and seating. Overall, the appearance is a pulp-fiction-y retro cool atmosphere, harkening to a sort of beach/picnic inspiration. The visuals are harmonious and supportive of the reddish color of the lobster which is soon to appear on red and white checkered service baskets. The rustic floors, and the “barn door-like” bathroom door add to the ambiance.
We ordered food and beer at the front desk, were given a number, and chose a booth in which to await our lunch.
The beer list is impressive, with 8 active taps featuring some of the best beer available in the world. The beer arrived almost immediately as we awaited the arrival of the food. We ordered Lobby Pops, but unfortunately, they were sold out. We also ordered the Lobster Rolls and the Lobster Cheese Crisp Tacos.
The beer list is impressive, and changes frequently. There have been tap takeovers which include Mikkeller, Trillium Brewing, The Veil and others, which keep the beer menu interesting. Andy reports that the synergies between beer aficionados and foodies are high, and that many of the beer travelers who frequent can releases in Portland visit The Highroller Lobster Co as part of their beer-cations.
From the perfectly grilled brioche roll (baked exclusively for The Highroller by Southside Bakery) to the heaping amount of sumptuous freshly shucked Maine lobster filling our tacos and rolls, to the rush of red and white crisp colors surrounding us visually, to the sips of delicious beers, we eagerly consumed our precious eats and drinks, sitting back to ponder the rush of freshness and flavor, interrupted only by “OMG” or “WOW”! There are various sauces and butters that can be ordered as toppings. I went with butter as to not lose the flavor of the lobster, while the Brewsherpa tried the jalapeno mayo. He says it was farking delicious, and I couldn’t think of a better description for the butter. BTW, it’s possible that the butters and sauces might be available in the future as part of the growth of this company.
We will be back to enjoy this experience and try more of the menu as a part of our regular travels, will recommend The Highroller Lobster Co to anyone who will listen, and will root for Andy, Baxter and Peter as we watch them expand their business in the catering and events arenas, and see their carts pop-up at breweries such as at The Veil Brewing Company in Richmond, Virginia for their two year anniversary later this year.
Their hours cover brunch, lunch, lupper, supper, dinner and late night, so it’s easy to carve out some time for a visit.
THURSDAY: 11am -11pm
FRIDAY: 11am -1am
SATURDAY: 11am- 1am
SUNDAY: 11am- 9pm