Utah is hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean, but according to a recent BuzzFeed article, a Park City restaurant has mastered the art of one popular seafood dish.
“We were really excited (to be featured on the list),” said Lorin Smaha, owner and founder of Freshies Lobster, in an interview with the Deseret News. “We really try to keep it very authentic and fresh. We use fresh lobster meat and don’t add a lot of fillers to it. We kind of let the lobster shine so you can tell that it’s quality lobster.”
BuzzFeed enlisted Yelp to determine which lobster rolls were the best, and the business reviewing website used an algorithm “that looked at the number of reviews plus the star rating for every eatery on Yelp,” according to BuzzFeed.
Freshies Lobster takes its motto “shore to door in 24” seriously, which was highlighted by BuzzFeed.
“Lobster probably isn't the first food that comes to mind when you think of Park City, but Freshies has attracted quite the following for its fresh Maine lobster, shipped from the shores of New England in under 24 hours,” the article states.
The company uses lobster meat that is caught, processed and cooked early in the morning in Maine. The meat makes its way to Boston by the afternoon, and from there it is flown to Salt Lake City. By the time Freshies Lobster picks up the meat from the airport, eight hours or less has passed from the time it was put on the plane in Boston.
Smaha said the authenticity and simplicity of their lobster roll recipe set it apart.
“We have a couple other items on our menu that play around with different flavors with the lobster, and that’s great and people love it, but I think people just love the flavor of butter and lobster, and put it in a little toasted bun and that’s really all you need,” she said.
Smaha, who is originally from Lebanon, New Hampshire, came to Park City after graduating college, intending to take a break to ski before starting dental school.
“I enjoyed the lifestyle and didn’t go to dental school,” she said. “I just came to ski for a year, and it wasn’t my intention to move out here permanently.”
Once Smaha decided to stay, Freshies Lobster Co. got its start in 2008 at the Park Silly Sunday Market. It was at the market that Lorin Smaha and her now-husband, Ben Smaha, who is from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, channeled the New England flavors they grew up with into cooking lobster rolls.
“We had a different recipe back then, then I kind of just started playing around with different recipes (using) what I’d been used to growing up (back East),” Lorin Smaha said. “I came up with a different recipe, and I think people had a good response, and every year it gets busier and busier.”
From there, the two opened a Freshies Lobster food truck, which Smaha said has served as a side business in the summers as she stayed at home with the couple’s two sons, Zack, who is 5, and Nolan, who is 2.
Now that their youngest is old enough to start going to preschool and daycare, the Smahas decided to open their restaurant in December 2016. They also still operate their food truck, which often makes stops in Salt Lake City at the Gallivan Plaza, in Holladay at the Soho Food Truck Park and in Daybreak as it serves Freshies Lobster’s signature rolls.
“I think the biggest part is quality,” Smaha said. “I cook a lot, and I think quality of ingredients, no matter what you’re doing, is really important.”