Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, Maine: Charming but a Disappointing Lobster Roll

Day-tripping? Sure! I’ll drive just about anywhere for a good time, even if the time spent at our destination is a fraction of the hours spent traveling round-trip. A two-hour car ride, north, into Maine, for a lobster lunch and some sight seeing? I’m sorry Amy from Austin wasn’t around to join but…I’m in!

With the recommendation of Barnacle Billy’s in Perkins Cove, my family and I set off for Ogunquit and nearby Kennebunk Port (I’m a sucker for things presidential, even if not within the party I support…I’ll admit it, I wanted to check-out the Bush compound, no shame in being a looky-loo, is there?). I packed the kids in the car, and with the prospect of a Babs sighting followed by an authentic Maine lobster roll, we gleefully hit the road.

First thing to know about Barnacle Billy’s is just how incredibly charming Perkin’s Cove is. Think small pleasure boats, fishing boats, lobster boats surrounding a pier that jets out from a lovely little harbor on one side and rocky surf on the other. With seagulls circling above and the sounds and smell of the Atlantic all-around, I was as charmed as I had hoped, so far, so good.

Parking at Barnacle Billy’s, like at most tourist destinations (make no mistake about it, the merchants on the cove are banking, literally, on your interest in t-shirts, dime-store candy and ice-cream cones) can be a bit of a drag, but we managed, as you eventually will. We opted for the casual, order-at-the-counter, self-service Billy’s rather than the more formal option next door. It was a beautiful day, we wanted to sit out on the pier and enjoy our lobsters as the boats pulled in and the lobstermen unloaded the afternoon’s catch. With just a short wait, we had no trouble finding a table right on the water, the kids were thrilled, mom was excited!

Barnacle Billy’s for all its charm and allure was, I am sorry to say, a bit of a disappointment when it came to its lobster roll. My daughter ordered a whole lobster, steamed…can’t beat a Maine lobster caught just hours before it was served, she placed the smart order, go simple, you can’t go wrong. My son and I went for the lobster roll, at 18.95 per, served with a side of chips and pickles; we were underwhelmed. The roll measured on the small side of a standard roll, was a bit too heavy on the mayo for my taste, although served on a deliciously grilled bun. It ranked as just “okay” for us. Barnacle Billy’s serves their lobster rolls with a dusting of paprika, which I think is absolutely unnecessary, but that’s just a personal preference. While there is no filler in the roll and the portion of fresh, sweet lobster meat was reasonable, the lobster-roll, as a whole, just did not impress. Considering that this was counter-service and we were eating on paper plates with plastic forks, I also felt as if it was priced a bit high.

Head to Perkin’s Cove for the quintessential Maine setting, order a steamed- lobster at Barnacle Billy’s, enjoy the view and soak-in the New England coastal vibe. When you are ready for your lobster roll, do consider driving further north as the Maine coast, even for Bostonian day-trippers, offers plenty of other options.

Oh, and as for Babs and George, we struck out there, as well…guess they were out of town.

Barnacle Billy’s
50 Perkins Cove
Ogunquit, ME 03907
(207) 646-5575

Barnacle Billy's on Urbanspoon


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