A very special and unique restaurant on the Massachusetts North Shore is a gem called The Lobster Pool in Rockport. What makes this place so special and unique is that in the hands of this very casual atmosphere are long time veterans of the area who believe in keeping New England tradition alive through their love of lobsters and seafood…local Massachusetts lobster that is, NOT Maine lobster.
When we were there, it was sadly the only rainy day we had on our trip to the North Shore, so we didn’t sit outside, which is something you want to count on doing if the weather is good.
The Lobster Pool has a west-facing view over the ocean and there are picnic tables outside, all with that spectacular ocean view. While the venue may be a “humble shack” of sorts, the hospitality and service is out of this world and the lobster is as fresh as it gets. The restaurant is obviously known for their lobsters (steamed or baked), lobster rolls, Quesadillas, haddock, clams and scallops.
They source their lobsters from Captain Joe’s and Sons in Gloucester down the road, and the rest of their seafood is from Gloucester as well. Haddock and Scallops come from Ocean Crest, and other seafood is from Intershell. They get their fruit and vegetables from Cape Ann Fruit (all locally grown and they have worked with owner Lisa Waring for the past 16 or so years) and their french fries, coleslaw and potato salad from R&C Beef, also in Gloucester. (pronounced Gl-owe-ster) for those of you who aren’t local or haven’t spend time in New England.
Inside, there are also picnic tables but note, you can bring your own wine, which is a must do, to have with your lobster, steamed corn on the cob and whatever else you happen to order.
The menu at The Lobster Pool is varied, including lobsters obviously, clam chowder that is very thick, so a bit like the kind your grandmother made, fried clams, crab cakes, seafood quesadillas, and a fried sole. For kids, you can also get hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches.
We were staying along the same coast at the ever so charming Emerson by the Sea down the road (which we’d recommend — be sure to see our write up on the inn), so it was just a few minute drive to get to Lobster Pool. If coming from the center of Rockport, head west out of Rockport past Halibut Point State Park, then look for The Lobster Pool around the bend in the road.
Be sure to talk to Lisa Waring, the owner and proprietor – she has an interesting story and the establishment has a deep history –– and she’s incredibly warm, friendly and knowledgeable, not to mention incredibly knowledgeable about lobsters and the area. (below)
For 17 years, Lisa has been running Lobster Pool, primarily with her husband (who has now passed) and her family. She runs it solo now for the most part, except that she has a l’il help from her friends and family, and some of her earliest employees, like “Brother John” (below) who has been with her since the start. There seems to be a lot of loyalty here which also works both ways as indicated by the local vendors she has been using for years.
The haddock, clams, scallops and lobster are all local. Her oysters come from Maryland and the salmon is farmed. In July, they sold over 2,600 lobster rolls alone, over 2,000 lobsters and nearly 200 lazy lobsters. Her season run from April to October and quite easily on season, she’ll have over 1,500 people come through their doors. They also have a bonfire on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and sometimes a raw bar (call for when the raw bar is open). The other nice thing is that its BYOB, so you can bring your own wine or beer.
You’ll get a taste of this very authentic lobster eatery from the video I shot below. Two thumbs up! Be sure to try it next time you head to the Massachusetts North Shore.
329 Granite Street
Rockport, MA 01966