In an era of seemingly limitless ice cream flavors, Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium is a forerunner. The seaside institution has been serving vanilla scoops churned with real lobster meat since 1988.
According to company lore, the proprietors invented the flavor either to prove to a patron that their ice cream was truly homemade, or in response to a customer quipping that the Maine parlor’s menu offered every flavor but lobster. Either way, the concept has proven its worth. Decades later, people still pass the cartoonish lobster statue at the emporium’s door on their way in to order the somewhat infamous flavor. The shop is located in Bar Harbor, an island town that is home to beautiful Acadia National Park. So during high season, parlor employees busily serve scoops to tourists who want to cap a day of hiking, whale watching, and lobster-roll eating with more New England fare.
Not everyone enjoys the combination, but plenty of patrons describe lobster and ice cream as pairing pretty well: The buttery vanilla matches the buttery lobster (which repudiates the belief that seafood and dairy should not mix). But if you order it and aren’t a fan, fear not: If you avoid the chunks of lobster, you’re just another person enjoying vanilla ice cream on a sunny day.
Need to Know
If you go with friends who are less culinarily adventurous, you can tell them Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium is known for a wide selection of flavors. There are also additional locations outside Bar Harbor.
Where to Try It
Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium66 Main St, Bar Harbor, Maine, 04609, United States
The original location.
Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium20a Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, 02557, United States
This Martha's Vineyard location also serves the infamous treat.