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Cheap Bugs At The Pound Don't Translate To The Plate

Low prices for Maine lobster have prompted protests in Canada and are a boon for those who buy the bugs at the pound and cook them up at home. At restaurants, though, menu prices haven't moved, reports the Kennebec Journal and most tourists don't seem to care. Writer Edward D. Murphy interviews visitors at the Lobster Shack at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth: "When you're at a place like this, and you're on vacation, you just spend," says a woman from Florida. Another tourist had no idea that she had just paid $37 for two lobsters rolls and three sodas. "I thought it was kind of expensive. I feel taken advantage of. It says market price, and I thought market price was $2.99."

Really? Lobster Shack owner Katie Porch won't reveal how much she pays for lobster, but she doesn't buy directly from the boat and the she buys the meat for the lobster rolls already cooked and picked, adding significantly to the price. Steve DeMillo at DeMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland says he also uses the cooked meat, which has "been stuck at about $24 a pound for months," despite the price plummet for whole lobsters. Murphy also talks to Glen Sanokklis, resident manager of the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, who says they keep costs down by dealing directly with a local lobsterman.

· Maine Restaurant Patrons Not Enjoying Low Lobster Prices [KJ]
[Photo: Serious Eats]