The early birds get the lobster roll

Tue, 08/17/2021 - 12:30pm

About this blog:

  • Barnako, wiscasset, Maine Art Gallery

    Frank Barnako is a seasonal resident of Wiscasset at Clarks Point on the Sheepscot River.   His career in journalism included on air and news director positions with CBS and NBC Radio and TV stations.  He was a pioneer in the Internet, helping to create and co-found where he also developed a 200-station radio network and wrote daily columns focused on the stock market, business news, and technology. Barnako describes himself as “an aspiring photographer,” whose work can be seen at<>. He is a member of the town’s Investment Advisory Committee. Email him at

Steve Simon sat in his camp chair on the Wiscasset sidewalk at 9:15am. He was determined to be the first customer at Red's Eats. After waiting two and a quarter hours, he ordered five of Red's famous lobster rolls, French fries, Cole slaw, fried clams, Moxie sodas and some other sides. "The lobster roll was good, but we paid for the experience," said his wife, Lynn.

The early morning vigil was Steve's way of giving a bear hug to a piece of Maine culture.  He's absolutely a member of the church of "Go big or go home". This is his first summer in Maine. This year it was for two months, next year it'll be three. 

Under a clear sky and bright sun, Steve chatted with people in line.  A man asked why Red's was so popular. The secret is the media.  The first thing a reporter does, after deciding to pursue a story is go to the Internet. What's been written about the subject before? "Been there, read, write, read, repeat". And so begins another story about Red's. In no way do I mean to say Red's is not serving up a tasty lobster roll.  It's part of Maine, and has been about 80 years. For those of us who loved the '60s, Red's Eats is a mellow throwback to when new friends felt like old friends," Steve said.

The adventure at Red's involved Steve and his wife, Lynn, her sister, Lorraine, and husband, Rudy, from California, and a friend, Anita.

There's something about Maine.  If you get it, you want more of it.  Newcomers, like Steve and Lynn, are eager to explore, taste, smell, touch and feel.  And they can't wait to tell everyone else what they've found, as if they were the first to discover that twice a day the Sheepscot River reverses.  Or that "The Pie Lady" lives across the street and sells on the honor system out of the back of her truck.

Later I went to a meeting of volunteers. We'll be helping with this weekend's Schoonerfest.  It's four days of chantey singers, schooner tours and rides, bands, Celtic music, fiddlers, and of course, Maine's favorite ice cream.  (You can look for me at the Wine and Beer garden.)

Maine is a magnet for friends.  Early in the week, Bill and Mimmie Byrnes, neighbors in Hilton Head, dropped in for a few nights.  Then Myla and Larry Kramer visited Sunday, having attended a Maine wedding the day before.  We showed them around the neighborhood and then headed to Blue, the restaurant at the Grey Havens Inn in Georgetown, Me.  Dick and Eve Roesler own the inn and have decorated it so warmly and interestingly that you'd rather just sit and read all afternoon, gazing out window. The kitchen turns out some fine work, too - crusted salmon, tournedos, and lamb chops. And the cozy Bar at Blue makes a mean dirty Grey Goose martini.