Aug 5, 2022 - Economy & Business

What lobster rolls tell us about the labor market

The $43.74 lobster roll
Photo: Felix Salmon

On a hot August day, the lobster roll place across from the Axios office beckons temptingly.

State of play: Reader, I caved. Doing so cost me $43.74, for a six-ounce sandwich, after tax and tip.

Why it matters: Lobster prices are down this year, but lobster roll prices? Not so much. Instead, they increasingly seem to be generated by a random number machine.

By the numbers: The benchmark lobster roll from The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine, is $29.95 this season.

  • At Nick's Lobster House in Brooklyn, the classic lobster roll is $22.
  • In the Hamptons, prices range from $29 to $45.
  • Manhatta, 60 stories above Lower Manhattan, sells a lobster roll with tarragon beurre blanc for $26.
  • At the Grand Central Oyster Bar, the lobster roll is $38.95, with slaw and fries included.
  • At Claws in West Sayville, New York, the standard roll is $29.95, but there are also options for a "double roll" for $57.95 or even a "triple roll" — "just obnoxious," per the menu — at $85.95.

The bottom line: When it comes to lobster rolls, there's no correlation between price and quality. But one thing is constant: Extracting lobster meat out of lobsters has never been easy.

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