Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Well here we go, we're doing this!
We thought it was only fitting that our very first post on the road, should be the place where we first met, the Gloucester House Restaurant. A long standing icon of the city, the Gloucester House Restaurant has been family owned and operated since 1957, when Leo Linquata first opened its doors with his son Michael by his side. The family business has been passed down from father to son, today in the hands of Michael’s son Lenny and his wife Dottie. Now entering the fourth generation, David is heading the helm of a new venture that takes the successful model of the family business, and strips it down to just the bare essentials: lobster, lobster & even more lobster. Blue Collar Lobster Co. is here to bring seafood to the people in the only way they know how, right off the boat; and we just had to try it out!
If there is one thing to know about the people of Gloucester MA, they are the most thick-skinned, hard-headed, and most loving people you’ll ever meet (why do you think I fell in love with Chris & his entire family?). Anyone that comes from Gloucester‘s shores, will welcome you in with open arms & treat you like part of their family, and that’s exactly what The Gloucester House did for me. And like any family, there’s always the good, the bad & the ugly to go with it. When we both worked there, I definitely felt like I was part of their family, so much so, I would often find myself in the middle of some family disputes. More often than not it ended with someone rolling their eyes and walking away... HEY! Just like my family! And just like my family, I knew I couldn't stay away for too long.
Just like when we left all those years ago, the ocean view was something to look forward to. The Blue Collar Lobster Co. is situated in the back of the main restaurant, on a wharf overlooking Gloucester’s inner harbor. Bright blue lobster traps line the perimeter, encircling a charming dining area composed of hightop & picnic tables large enough to seat eight. Ample seating, fresh caught seafood, a nice ocean breeze, what’s not to love? The salty sweet air brought me back to my early twenties, when I hated coming home everyday smelling like beer & lobster. And now, all I've ever WANTED is to smell like beer & lobster again. I even want to listen to Lenny Linquata's speeches about the history of Gloucester again (Gloucester is actually steeped in history, it’s America’s oldest seaport, established in 1623, before America was even a thing!). Throughout the summer the main restaurant would host tour busses, and Lenny would regal them with tales of Gloucester and the deeds of its notable citizens. Well, a new bus is in town & I wanted to dive deep into that lobster pool.
We walked up through the parking lot, weaving between seagulls & a lively game of corn hole. We came up to an A-frame chalkboard display, containing their offerings of the day. Hot boiled lobsters, lobster salad, lobster rolls, oysters on the half shell, clam chowder, exactly what we‘re looking for. My dress billowed in the wind and me & Chris smiled at each other. We were both thinking the same thing...we needed that clam chowder!
When you work in a restaurant, you tend to eat readily available things, bread, fries, etc. While working at the GloHo (what the employees called The Gloucester House), the servers poured their own soups & chowders, so more often than not, we would snack on the chowder (Sorry Lenny). It was and still is, THE BEST clam chowder I have ever had. I saw them make it every day, and at that high-volume of a restaurant, they made about 10 gallons at a time. And yet somehow, I never got sick of it. So yes, I like the chowder, and how could I not? Fresh caught clams, hand-ground bacon, I devoured it in seconds. It’s so good you’ll never want to share, or you’ll just forget to...sorry Chris.
Regardless of how good the chowder is (the absolute best) we were here for lobster, and lobster we shall have. We got the twin lobster special, two 1.25 lbs lobsters, served with lemon and butter, truly the trifecta of New England cuisine. If there’s one thing to know about lobster, the smaller the crustacean, the better the meat is. I remember one customer of mine, big ole guy from Texas. He got the Gloucester House Special: a 1.5 lb lobster, cut down the middle, stuffed with another half-pound of lobster meat, topped with breadcrumbs, drizzled with butter, and baked in the oven. An explosion of lobster. But everything is bigger in Texas, and this guy wanted the biggest lobster we had. The largest one we had at the time was a 6 pounder! His meal was well over $100! In this case Texans, bigger isn't always better. The bigger the lobster, the tougher the meat, & in my opinion blander as well. Those smaller chick lobsters are where it’s at; way sweeter & much more succulent.
The minute I opened up my lobster, I just went to town on it; I don't think I came up to breathe. The meat was much juicier than I remembered! As always I had my trusty lemon wedge & melted butter at the ready, not that the meat needed it, it was just as juicy & mouth-watering on its own. I just had to get every last piece, and yes I eat the tamale and suck on the legs, because I’m a professional!
After picking our shells clean, our crustacean craving still weren’t properly satisfied. To remedy that, we split a lobster roll, a Cape Ann classic, served with Cape Cod chips, a perfect Massachusetts meal. Now I’ve had lobster rolls in many different places, served in many different ways too. Sometimes restaurants get a little too fancy with it, and create some rather funky lobster concoctions. But at Blue Collar Lobster Co. they know that simplicity is key. A little bit of mayo, celery, lemon juice, and freshly picked lobster meat, that’s all you need. And this thing was stuffed! I ate an entire lobster mind you, picked it clean, and didn’t get a thing on me (Chris was another story...). One bite into that lobster roll, and a good hunk of knuckle meat fell out on my dress, and I do not waste lobster. But that bite was perfect, wasn't dripping in mayo, the greens were mixed in with the lobster rather than just a big hunk of greens blanketing the roll. But what really makes this lobster roll a step up from the rest is the meat.
A lot of restaurants, even ones by the water, tend to use pre-cooked lobster claw meat. When lobsters are processed in facilities, the claw and tail meat are packaged and sold separately. At Blue Collar Lobster Co. they catch their own lobsters, and process them on site. So when you’re enjoying that lobster roll on a picnic bench, you can know that you’re getting the full spectrum of lobster meat. Like cows and pigs, different cuts of meat have different flavors, and lobster is no different. The claws are delicate & light, the tails meaty & dense, but without a doubt the best & most succulent part of the whole lobster is the knuckle (arms). And you can be sure, you’ll get the fullest flavor of lobster at Blue Collar Lobster Co.
While I ate my lobster roll (and Chris glared at me because he was still waiting for a bite), I watched the fisherman toil away in the summer sun. Riding up to the dock, tying off their boats at the wharf, & unloading their catch. Almost 400 years later, Gloucester harbor is still a bustling city, thriving on the backs of their fishermen. I sat there just taking in the living watercolor that is Gloucester. With each breathe the ocean air, revitalized my body. Oh man, I needed another beer! Thankfully David Linquata was a gracious host, and made sure I didn't go thirsty.
All of their beers were only $5, domestic, imported, and craft alike. They had a good pick of local beers to choose from, like Notch Brewery, Ipswich Brewery, & Harpoon Brewery. They also had wine, soda, water & even lemonade to wash down all of that delicious seafood. Other than lobster and clam chowder, they also serve peel & eat shrimp, oysters on the 1/2 shell, chicken garden salads, lobster salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, grilled chicken sandwiches and even hot dogs & burgers for the kiddos if seafood freaks them out. When I was a kid, my family went to this restaurant down in Florida. They had a hot dog on the menu, but called it a ‘sea dog’, and in my young mind, I thought it was literally from the sea...and caused a huge scene...
The air was starting to cool off and I could hear the boats rocking back and forth on the glistening Atlantic Ocean. As we packed up, I remembered all the time I spent here, back when my life didn't yet have a purpose or direction. The people of Gloucester & the owners of Blue Collar Lobster Co. were a very pertinent part of my life. They picked me up & knocked some sense into me, when I needed it most. This is the place where I first gained a deeper understanding of the restaurant industry & how it operates. The Linquata's, like the people of Gloucester, need to be hardworking in order to survive. They’ll work tirelessly to do what needs to get done, all the while looking out for family, friends & neighbors. At the Blue Collar Lobster Co., they modestly support the core of the community, the local fisherman. Without them, we wouldn't have any of the delectable seafood we take for granted today.
The Blue Collar Lobster Co. is a laid back environment that encompasses the true meaning of Gloucester. Great seafood, great views & even better company. Next time you're in Gloucester, check out this must-try seafood gem. Make sure you get some heavenly lobster meat that those Gloucester fishermen worked so hard to catch for you. Or better yet, try the clam chowder, I bet you wished you got a second cup the minute you finish the first!
More Pictures of Blue Collar Lobster Co. down below!
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