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Monday, November 20 Food

Lobster rolls net generations of customers in Rowayton

NORWALK, Conn. — Hot or cold, the long debated style of the lobster roll in New England will likely be a never-ending war.

In Rowayton, that debate may boil over at The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood, where both styles are offered to customers.

The Restaurant, now in its 20th year of operation, recently received Moffly Media's 2016 Best of Gold Coast award for seafood restaurant. It's a recognition that Christopher Deist, executive chef and assistant manager at The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood, said is something that comes from a strong following.

"People remember this exact location getting a lobster roll," Deist said. "The property has changed, we do more fine dining but we still have many requests for lobster rolls at dinner."

"People hold it close to their heart. Very few restaurants down on the water now-a-days," he added.

Lobster rolls all around

Offering both lobster rolls was a no-brainer, Deist said, and keeps as many customers returning as possible.

"It just seems like a natural thing of the bat to me. To be right on the water and offer both, is just something that if we can do it, we're going to do it," Deist said.

As for a favorite, it may not even be an argument anymore.

Just steps away from The Restaurant sits Rowayton Seafood Market, which was once the oldest operating lobster coop on the Long Island Sound. Market manager Scott Bennett said he is up for either style.

"It depends on the type of day. Hot day, I'm going to go cold. If it's a cold, windy, rainy day I'll go hot," Bennett said.

Not to be outdone by The Restaurant, Rowayton Seafood Market also earned a Moffly Media's Best of Gold Coast seafood award this past year. They also make their own hot and cold lobster rolls.

Two of a kind

The market supplies the restaurant with fresh fish and lobster from the New England area. It's a responsibility Bennett doesn't take lightly.

"The goal is finding suppliers who are sustainable, who catch fish the proper way," Bennett said. He works with suppliers from Maine to South Carolina in order to provide as fresh and sustainable products as possible. "We like to catch [all the customers] we can."

Diest said it's a very natural partnership, as The Restaurant and market are both owned by owner Kevin Conroy. Many of the customers that still eat at The Restaurant remember the days when the area was just a lobster shack.

"People still feel at heart that this is still that property," Deist said. "Because [the market is] connected, it's really natural."

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