The Coolest McDonald’s Menu Item Ever!

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One of my favorite parts of travel is eating local food. I mean, one of my favorite things in general is eating, so this really is no surprise. Once kids came along, some meals on the road (and at home) become just fuel instead of a fun experience, and our first meal in Rhode Island held true to that pattern. However, just when I thought I was doomed to McDonald’s nuggets, there was a fun surprise waiting on the menu.


We had an early morning flight from Houston to Boston, so by the time we landed in Massachusetts it was already lunchtime. We had snacked our way through breakfast on the plane, and were fully ready to eat a real lunch at Legal Sea Foods in airport in Boston before continuing our journey to Rhode Island. However, our toddler was getting very tired and cranky, the seats at Legal Sea Foods were far from kid-friendly, and after sitting for a couple minutes no one had come over to start our order. That was our cue to give up on that plan of lobster rolls in the airport and just get in the rental car and start our trip to Rhode Island.

Since the day started at 4:30AM and neither of the girls napped on the plane, we fully hoped/expected them to nap on the drive from Boston to Rhode Island. Once we got out of Boston traffic, that was exactly what happened. That was great news, but it meant that our lunch choices had narrowed to a drive-thru or starvation. I was a little bummed at ‘wasting’ a meal in the Northeast on McDonald’s drive-thru, but such is life.

As we waited in the drive-thru line and I prepared myself for our road trip staple of McNuggets and Hot Mustard Sauce (the hot mustard is what makes the meal….the nuggets are just dipping vessels), I spotted a sign on the menu advertising….LOBSTER ROLLS!

I know McDonald’s can have local specialties, but I had no clue a McDonalds’s could have a lobster roll?! I hesitated ordering since seafood is typically either really good or really bad without much in-between room, but I simply had to try an $8.99 McDonald’s lobster roll. I mean, when else does a Texan get the chance to do that? Worst case scenario I could just steal the girls’ fries if it was horrible and hold out for a better dinner.

Keeping in mind that I don’t get lobster rolls very regularly in Texas, the McDonald’s lobster roll was totally decent…once you took off some of the annoying lettuce. At less than $10 it is also 1/2 the price of most lobster rolls I have encountered.

McDonald’s Lobster Roll

I couldn’t find much written recently about this McDonald’s menu item anomaly, but based on last year’s info, it seems that they use 100% North Atlantic lobster and toss it lightly with mayo. It is available at select McDonald’s in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Albany, NY during the summer months.

Now, is it nearly as good as a real deal seaside mayo-free lobster roll? Of course not! But, if you are in a situation like we were, desperate for a taste of New England, but not able to get out of the car quite yet, it may be the best $8.99 you can spend.

Our real oceanside lobster roll in Rhode Island

And of course this story wouldn’t be complete without sharing that the second we pulled away from the McDonald’s drive thru, both girls woke up with just 20 minutes of napping under their belts and stayed awake the rest of the drive….enjoying their own nuggets and fries.

I’d love to hear about some of the fun local McDonald’s menu items you have found on your travels!

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  1. I live in Spring now, but I am originally from Maine. While it is far from the best lobster roll around, McDonald’s does manage to put together a decent roll, for a not-awful price.

  2. This made me smile. My husband loves to stop at mcdonalds whenever we visit other countries to see how they differ (although it’s rare we step foot in one in the u.s.). Our latest favorite finds were wacko fries (fries topped with cheese and jalapeños) in Belgium, Cadbury egg Mcflurry and curly fries in Ireland, and potato wedges in Germany. If I recall, there are usually some interesting rice dishes at the Hawaii McDonalds too.

  3. In Houston try Mainely Sandwiches, they make a relatively decent lobster roll and fried clams. It’s not quite like eating a lobster roll along the docks of a Kennebunkport, but a relatively good substitute until the next trip to New England.

  4. Thanks for the tip! We’re headed to Maine in August, and even without any kids along, I think we may just have to look for a McDonald’s Lobster Roll! And while the only thing I usually get at McDonald’s on the mainland is a $1 iced tea, I love the coconut (haupia) pies and Passion Fruit iced tea in Hawaii.

  5. Anyone who would eat Anything from McDonald’s, let alone Seafood, is just looking to get sick.
    Garbage food. And people incorrectly think it’s “inexpensive” food…. it’s NOT. It’s VERY Expensive in relation to Any alternatives.

  6. I can remember a family trip about 25 years ago where my dad had a McDonald’s lobster roll in Rhode Island. We’re Californians (of 8 generations), so he wasn’t too impressed with it. Still, a nice change of pace from a Big Mac.

  7. While travelling through India we went to McDonald’s. As cows are considered sacred they didn’t have any beef but they did have a fairly decent Chicken Maharaja Mac burger.

  8. Welcome to New England. I see you experienced two different types of lobster role. The McDonald’s mayo based lobster roll is more prevalent in northern New England: Maine, New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts. The other one that you had in Rhode Island, is called a “Hot lobster roll” and comes from Southern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

    We could also talk about Manhattan, Rhode Island and New England clam chowder, (All from different parts of New England I might add) but we can save that for another day.

    • Now I have to go to Rhode Island.
      “It’s the true seafood-lover’s clam chowder, containing neither dairy nor tomatoes to mask the fresh sea flavors.”

  9. Australia’s version of a hamburger includes a pineapple slice, a fried egg, and I think a beet slice. Sydney’s McDonald’s had a version of it.

    I grew up in New England (RI when we arrived from Japan, then greater Boston) before moving to LA after MIT. I’d be happy to give you a list of things to check out on your next trip there.

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