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Real Maine lobster rolls from a real Maine fisherman

By Kendra Caruso | Aug 04, 2019
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Sadie Samuels prepares her fresh-caught lobster to be sold at her new food truck July 19 during the Maine Celtic Celebration on the Harbor Walk.

Belfast — Sadie Samuels, a Belfast native, has been a lobsterman since she was 7 years old on her father’s boat and says the best lobster rolls she eats are ones made fresh from her own catch, with just a little mayo.

It was her inspiration for the lobster shack, Must Be Nice Lobster Co., she recently opened along the Harbor Walk. She sells lobster rolls, crab rolls, cheeseburgers and hot dogs.

“I just feel like people need a real Maine lobster roll made by a real Maine fisherman,” Samuels said. “That’s what they’re really looking for. They’re not looking for a ton of mayonnaise, tons of lettuce, like this huge gaudy bun with not much lobster in it. It’s about the lobster and I want to showcase that to people.”

The only thing missing from the Harbor Walk was a place to get a good lobster roll made directly by a fisherman, according to Samuels. Her recipes center around what she considers the star of the dish: the meat.

She winters in the Bahamas, another fishing-based culture, where she gets new ideas for recipes to make with the Maine lobster meat she catches in the summer. She hopes to incorporate more of these flavors as she develops her recipes.

“I have some pretty fun recipes between spending some time in the Bahamas and up here,” Samuels said. “And it’s kind of a similar culture with the fresh seafood …. And I want to combine those.”

Samuels thinks the key to good food is treating the animals fairly and keeping them comfortable until they are processed. She has a large live lobster tank on her boat where she keeps the lobster until she docks.

Then she transports them by cooler straight to the kitchen at the United Farmers Market of Maine, where some are immediately processed and others are kept in a tank to be sold at her stand on Saturdays.

Treating animals ethically was something instilled in Samuels from a young age by her father. She thinks if the animals are content before they die, it makes a difference in how the meat will taste.

“All of my lobsters are happy and healthy, and I think you can taste that in the meat, like when an animal is stressed out ... things like that do really make a difference,” Samuels said. “… My dad has, kind of, always been like ‘if you’re going to kill something you need to make sure that … you are taking the best possible care of it.’”

Samuels’ father was always supportive of her dream to become a lobsterman. When she got her student license at 7, he gave her some of the 800 lobster traps allotted for his commercial license until she got her first boat at 14. She later got her own commercial license and a number of traps that came with it.

Despite Samuels’ dream of spending a career on the water as a fisherman, her father still asked that she get a bachelor’s degree. She majored in printmaking while attending a school in California but continued to fish in Maine every summer.

Most of her sketches in school were about Maine and fishing. Fishermen near her college tried recruiting her but she decided it was best to focus on school. It didn’t take much for her to realize that she needed to return to Maine after college graduation.

Now Samuels is focused on offering new ways to sell her product. She hopes her food truck will be mobile in the future and she can offer her fare at different events and locations. Giving back to the community that has supported her career is one of her biggest desires.

“I grew up here and I just love this community so, so, so much and, really they’ve just been so encouraging and supportive of me taking the next step and going for it,” Samuels said. “Which I probably wouldn’t have done if I didn’t have a bunch of people who believed in me around here.”

Samuels’ lobster roll food truck will be open from Wednesday through Sunday near Heritage Park on the Harbor Walk for the rest of the summer.


Must Be Nice Lobster Co. food truck sits beside the Harbor Walk near Heritage Park July 19 while owner Sadie Samuels prepares to open for the Maine Celtic Celebration. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Lobster meat Sadie Samuels caught from her boat, ready to go into rolls sold from her new food truck, Must Be Nice Lobster Co., July 19 during the Maine Celtic Celebration. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Sadie Samuels' new food truck, Must Be Nice Lobster Co., on the Harbor Walk near Heritage Park offers fresh lobster rolls caught off her lobster boat. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Sadie Samuels prepares lobster she caught for her new food truck on the Harbor Walk July 19. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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Comments (2)
Posted by: from the kitchen | Aug 07, 2019 05:54

Kudos. You go girl!

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Aug 05, 2019 03:48

Instead of straight mayo, try 2 parts mayo, 1 part buffalo salad dressing. Puts a little kick in the flavor.

Sadie's lobster shack is an example of what we need more of in Belfast, the entrepreneurial spirit. If Paul Naron can get his Phase 2 project approved, he might be willing to expand the # of food trucks allowed for The Season down in the area of Sadie's truck and that would be a real treat to being able to buy food and hang out near the water.

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