A $50 lobster roll? Talk about sticker shock. But that’s the reality in Boston.
“A combination of lousy weather, international demand, and iced-over Canadian fisheries has created a shortage that has driven whole hard-shell lobster prices to as high as $15 a pound this spring, up from about $8 a pound last year,” reports Janelle Nanos in the Boston Globe. “For chefs buying pre-shucked lobster meat for their rolls, the price has been hovering at $40 a pound, or about $8 more than a year ago, several said.”
Typical pricing for a lobster roll at North Square Oyster in the North End is around $24, said chef Pierce Boalt Juckett, but he switched to listing “market price” on his menu last week to deal with the rapid fluctuations. For the past few days he’s been charging diners $29, he said, but it costs him about $47 to prepare the rolls, once he factors in preparation and labor costs. “We’re losing money when it skyrockets,” he said. Juckett has been attempting to make up for those losses by selling more side dishes, alcohol, and salads.
Others, like Nick Deutmeyer of Post 390, have asked staff to shell the lobsters themselves to cut down on costs.
“April is horrible for seafood,” said chef Jeremy Sewall of Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34, who has taken all excess garnishes and lobster salads off his menus. He said that while his prices haven’t been much higher than in years past — he sources his lobster from family members who run lobster boats in Maine — he, too, is taking a hit on lobster rolls.
Read more here.
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