Joe Lane Lobsterman for everything lobster
If you never made it to Joe Lane’s small food cart in Damariscotta for a lobster roll, or anything else lobster, it’s okay. Now you can go to his and his partner, Isabella Nelson’s, new restaurant and enjoy one of their traditional Maine lobster rolls, freshly made with Lane’s own freshly caught lobsters.
After running his food cart for two years, Lane, who is out on the ocean fishing for lobsters most days, and Nelson, opened their restaurant in June.
Joe Lane Lobsterman is the kind of place that doesn’t require getting all gussied up, though the food, with a glass of one of the specialty wines, like Maine’s own Big Claw white, is worthy of an upscale, linen tablecloth restaurant. The space is newly remodeled, thanks to Nelson’s father, Rick. He’s a perfectionist, she said. There are six large picnic tables, appropriately covered with red and white checked plastic table cloths, in the dining room. The menu is varied, and beer and wine are available.
Aside from the traditional lobster roll, Lane and Nelson serve one with lime cilantro mayo, and another with tomato and basil mayo, in a toasted bun with a little lettuce. Other lobster-themed items include “Crabster” rolls with chunks of crab and lobster tossed in mayo or butter; a lobster BLT, with bacon tossed with lobster and mayo, and lettuce and tomato; a grilled cheese sandwich – with lobster; tacos with lobster, lettuce, tomato, corn and sriracha sour cream; and lobster mac and cheese.
For those who prefer crabmeat to lobster, the menu offers traditional crab rolls, grilled cheese with crabmeat, BLT with crabmeat, tacos with crabmeat, and mac and cheese with “loads of crab.”
Nelson said lunch is their busiest time right now, but there are hot meals, too, for the dinner crowd. There are shore dinners and lobster stew. Lobster Newburg, lobster scampi and a few other items will be added as the cooler weather settles in.
Live and cooked whole lobsters and a variety of non-seafood options are available. Fresh baked goodies, including cookies, whoopie pies and small fruit pies are available for dessert.
Nelson, originally from Nobleboro, came to the restaurant business after studying restaurant management at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as a banquet manager in Florida for a couple years before coming back to Damariscotta and reconnecting with an old flame – Lane.
“We dated 10 years ago,” Nelson said. “Then we went our separate ways. It’s funny how our paths came back together and now we have this awesome business together.”
Nelson said it had always been Lane’s dream to have a permanent location for a year-round business. “He started when he was a kid, selling lobsters out of a kiddie pool, then went on to the food trailer.” Lane, who has been lobstering since sixth grade, said his lobstering ancestors probably date back to when fishermen started fishing for lobsters.
When not out on the water, Lane is in the restaurant helping Nelson and two employees, Nelson’s cousin Hollis Farnsworth and her stepbrother Devin Dupuis.
Starting around Sept. 5, and continuing for eight weeks, the road outside the restaurant will be torn up for repairs. The business will remain open, but Nelson anticipates some problems with customers finding their way there. During that time, the couple will again open up their food truck in town. Nelson said the town is being very accommodating and will allow them to park it in a convenient location.
Next summer, the couple hopes to branch out onto a patio, with four or five tables, beside the restaurant.
Located at 115 Elm Street, the restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday till 9. Call 207-682-0110.