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Pat’s Lunch in Stone Harbor

On a visit to Stone Harbor earlier this year in March, my brother-in-law’s eagle eye spotted a sign advertising “Fresh Lobster on a Roll.” A lobster roll in Stone Harbor??? We swerved into the parking lot of Pat’s Lunch at around 5:00 PM. The restaurant was empty at the time, and the ebullient owner, Pat Tirotta, had a captive audience, so he began by fanning out press clippings about himself and his restaurant on the counter. It’s no wonder that the New York Times wrote a story about him back in 2001. Originally from South Philly, he has had this place since 1966 and is now 88 years old, obviously still going strong. Pat made us taste all his homemade soups, which we ordered. I sampled the lobster roll, of course, and regretted not bringing a camera.

Pat Tirotta

88-year-old Pat Tirotta telling us youngsters a thing or two.

I finally got back to Pat’s last Saturday (a dreary, rainy day) with a camera to get some pictures. The lobster roll is pretty good, but it was quite salty and Pat doesn't grill the hot dog bun. Still, the fact that he even serves a lobster roll endeared him to me. Pat’s roll might not be worth a pilgrimage, but all of Pat’s soups certainly are, especially the she-crab. I bought a quart of it to go. The stories are pretty tasty, too.

Lobster roll at Pat's Lunch

The lobster roll at Pat’s Lunch.

I assumed Pat’s served the only lobster roll for miles around until I learned the next day that there’s another lobster roll in Stone Harbor at a new place called Quahog’s Seafood Shack. I’m sure I’ll be trying it sometime this summer. With two places, it looks like Stone Harbor is the lobster-roll capital of New Jersey.

Pat's Lunch, Stone Harbor

Pat’s Lunch on Stone Harbor Boulevard.


went up to Maine last weekend for a wedding. i had 2 lobsters at the reception ;)

but no lobster rolls.

Ah, Maine! At least you got some lobstah.

What kind of self respecting lobster joint prepares a lobster roll on a bun that doesnt have the white part of the roll all exposed so you can slather it with butter and grill it?

Blasphemy I tell you!

Please read for the proper techinque, OY!

How to F^@K Up a Lobster Roll

Ingredients For The Worlds Greatest Lobster Roll

Grill The Buttered Buns To Golden Brown

Joey, you're right; Pat’s bun was a disappointment. When I’m stuck with that kind of bun, I trim off the side crusts to make flat surfaces for grilling. Really enjoyed reading your posts, by the way! I had my first lobster roll ever in Gloucester in the late 1980s. (Sorry your comment got trapped in my spam filter temporarily. I don’t get many comments and hadn’t looked at the queue for a few days.)

We look forward to going to Pat's every day for 5 days each year in June!!! We LOVE his homemade soups (my favorite Lobster, shrimp, crab bisque, while my husband's favorit is She Crab) and adore the lobster roll!!! Listening to him is a real experience. he is such an inspiration. We hope he will be around for many, many more years..satisfying our palates and telling us stories.
PS I am glad he doesn't grill the hot dog buns for the lobster roll, personally I like it with the fresh soft bun!!

If you're ever in Brooklyn try the lobster roll at the cafe in Fairway in Red Hook. It's piled high big hunks of mayonnaisey lobster meat on a toasted bun and served with a slightly sweet creamy fresh cabbage slaw. And it's only $8.95! Plus you get to sit out back at the river with a clear view of the statue of liberty. I think I'll go back right now.

What an effort. Of necessity, your list will be incomplete. You can't possibly visit them all.

My favorite is Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard (Mount Desert Island), Maine.

photos in the first post in that thread

Kit, thanks for the recommendation. This place was news to me; sounds great and so cheap, too! (I see that the New York Times singled out the lobster roll.) I added it to the map.

Visit them all I will! Strong with the Force am I!
No, you’re absolutely right, my list isn’t remotely comprehensive, and at the rate of only 10 or so a year, it never will be. But I am having a lot of fun. It’s good that I’m not a completist.
Thanks for the Thurston’s recommendation. I haven’t been there yet, but I asked around last time I was on Mount Desert (2004), and Thurston’s seems to be the favorite of the locals, so it’s at the top of my list. I enjoyed the photos, especially the roll closeups. Well done!




Tim, Amen to that. Pat is awesome, and I am so glad to hear he is still going strong. I hope to get down to Stone Harbor soon.

I've had Pat's for my first lobster roll ever. I don't like salty foods and I did not find his lobster roll salty. I loved it! In fact, it's one of the things I'm looking forward to when I head back to the shore this summer. Pat's is on my list all week, as often as I can afford to go.

Bob, I am glad you enjoyed Pat's lobster roll and glad to hear that Pat is still going strong!

Oh man, I just ran into this article by coincidence, nice! I used to go Pat's when I was a kid in the 80's, no less. Best hoagies, best cheesesteak, best everything, and Pat was always great company (his hair was still black back then). I miss that place, glad to hear he continued long after I left.

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