Determining the lobster capital of North America is a tricky business. I fear I’d alienate far too many readers if I declared one particular province or state to have the continent’s finest crustaceans. But I feel very confident when I say that I know where you will have the best lobster dining experience.
Since 1958, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers in the little community of New Glasgow, Prince Edward Island, (just 30 minutes north of Charlottetown) have been serving up incredible travel memories and delicious meals. Here’s what to expect during your visit.
The Lobster Suppers Are Part Of PEI Tradition
The lobster suppers are part of a community tradition you’ll find all across PEI. Churches, fire halls, recreation centers, and other groups in need of fundraising would sponsor lobster dinners (and sometimes turkey or roast beef during the holiday season). The combination of superb local seafood plus warm hospitality meant that the New Glasgow group soon found themselves in demand to offer more than just the occasional event. While they’ve grown tremendously since 1958, I’d like to think I can still see the influence of their homey early days even though they are now a large, professional organization.
The Starters Are Superb
I can’t believe I’m about to say that the best thing about the lobster supper is everything other than the lobster, but it’s true! Sure, the lobster is irresistible (and especially succulent dipped in melted butter), but there is so much else going on. All dinners come with a choice of seafood chowder or tomato basil soup (which was my choice and perhaps the most underrated part of the meal), homemade rolls, and a literal bucket of steamed mussels served with butter. I’m not normally a fan of mussels, but these were the most tender I’ve ever had. Finally, you’ll enjoy a salad sampler plate with garden salad, coleslaw, and potato salad — all before your main course.
You Can Get Seconds
Come with a hearty appetite, because you can get second helpings on any part of the dinner — save for the main course — as well as dessert and the included coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
They Make Eating Easy
Lobster isn’t exactly the most refined kind of dish to eat, but the staff at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers have your back. All platters come with the shells partially pre-cracked so you can easily open up your dish. Your server will also provide you with additional tools if you want to really dig in. They’ll even tie a bib around your neck so you don’t make a total mess of yourself. (Yes, I did indeed choose this!)
Interestingly, they also ask if you want your lobster served hot or cold. I have to admit that I was stumped by this question. Who would want anything but hot lobster — naturally, dipped in hot butter? Our server said that most people do indeed choose the hot option but some folks prefer their lobster cold. Interesting! Regardless of your preference, it’s nice that they cater to everyone.
Lobster Is Just The Beginning
Lobster is just the beginning of PEI’s culinary scene. If you’ve stuffed yourself on lobster already and need a bit of a break, you’ll have ample options in New Glasgow. Alternative main courses include scallops (which my friend ordered and loved — she was supremely satisfied with her choice), haddock, salmon, strip loin from local beef, surf and turf, ham, chicken, and a vegetarian pasta served with local cheese.
There’s also a sneaky option of having no main course whatsoever and just enjoying starters and desserts (which include their famous “mile-high” lemon pie and old-fashioned classics like raisin pie). Costing about $30, this is a great choice when you consider how many mussels you can eat. They’re practically a main course all on their own!
Prices Are Value-Focused
At about $44 for a one-pound lobster meal at the time of publication, I think the New Glasgow Lobster Suppers represent an outstanding value. Where else can you get a multi-course meal for that price, let alone one with local seafood?
You can upgrade to a 1.5-pound lobster for an extra $10 (which is what I did) and a 2-pound lobster for about an extra $20. I went in with the mentality of excitedly treating myself, but in hindsight, I’m not sure I appreciated having all the extra lobster meat. I was stuffed and I’m not sure I truly appreciated the extra bites.
Logistics And Tips For Visiting
Unless you’re part of a group, service is first come, first served. The building is larger than you think and lines move quickly. You’re unlikely to be waiting for long and there is a bar area in which you can bide your time. (On very rare occasions, New Glasgow Lobster Suppers are closed for private functions. When this happens, info is shared on their Facebook page. Additionally, as the lobster suppers operate seasonally, this is where you can find their opening and closing dates in spring and fall).
One of the reasons that things move quickly once you’re seated is that you’ve already chosen and pre-paid for your meal. When you request a table, you’ll be asked what entree you want and you’ll pay for in advance and be issued a ticket which you then turn over to your server.
When you’re done, you simply say thank you to your server, and off you go! But there is one tricky thing that might not occur to you until you’re inside: tipping. There wasn’t an option to tip in advance while paying at the door. It’s smart to have cash on hand to leave a tip at the table. Alternatively, if you’re ordering bar service, you’ll have to settle up your tab at the end of the night and that’s another option for leaving a tip.
Things To Do In New Glasgow
New Glasgow has several attractions beyond the lobster suppers. The community is home to the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. They produce homemade jams and jellies, plus pickles, chutneys, teas, and more. Their Garden Cafe operates seasonally and is a good choice for breakfast and lunch. You can also visit the onsite butterfly house in season and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Garden of Hope, which supports those in need of respite.