2014-06-13 / Front Page

Clam Shack on a roll as awards continue to pile up

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Clam Shack owner Steve Kingston holds a lobster beside Steve Harvey during the taping of Harvey’s show, “Great American Food Fight!” Kingston’s lobster roll beat Colleen Williams’ of J’s Oyster in Portland. Kingston was awarded the trophy-sized Golden Spatula. 
(Courtesy photo) Clam Shack owner Steve Kingston holds a lobster beside Steve Harvey during the taping of Harvey’s show, “Great American Food Fight!” Kingston’s lobster roll beat Colleen Williams’ of J’s Oyster in Portland. Kingston was awarded the trophy-sized Golden Spatula. (Courtesy photo) KENNEBUNK — Steve Kingston, owner of The Clam Shack in Lower Kennebunk, recently took home the Golden Spatula in Chicago after winning “Great American Food Fight!” hosted by talk show host and comedian, Steve Harvey.

Kingston competed against Colleen Williams, owner of the Portland-based down-to-earth staple for seafood, J’s Oyster.

Kingston and Williams competed by preparing their best version of a classic lobster roll on the set of Harvey’s show. Samples were given to the studio audience, who determined the winner.

“We flew out the day before with fresh shucked product that we’d shucked that morning,” Kingston said.


Steve Harvey addresses his “Great American Food Fight!” live studio audience in Chicago before the lobster roll competition began between Steve Kingston, owner of The Clam Shack in Lower Village Kennebunk, and Colleen Williams, owner of J’s Oyster in Portland. Kingston and Williams prepared sample-sized portions of their famed lobster rolls for the audience before a winner was chosen. Kingston defeated Williams and earned Harvey’s coveted Golden Spatula. ( 
Courtesy photo) Steve Harvey addresses his “Great American Food Fight!” live studio audience in Chicago before the lobster roll competition began between Steve Kingston, owner of The Clam Shack in Lower Village Kennebunk, and Colleen Williams, owner of J’s Oyster in Portland. Kingston and Williams prepared sample-sized portions of their famed lobster rolls for the audience before a winner was chosen. Kingston defeated Williams and earned Harvey’s coveted Golden Spatula. ( Courtesy photo) “To be doing that in that environment was tremendously exciting and nerve-wracking,” Kingston said. “Every time we win one of these competitions it sets the bar a little higher.”

“We’ve done several TV shows here, on site, but actually going to the studio, this was the original studio where Oprah began, it was just completely buffed out and beautiful with all kinds of equipment,” Kingston said. “At 3 million viewers, I’ll take it any day.”


The Clam Shack’s award-winning lobster roll. 
(Courtesy photo) The Clam Shack’s award-winning lobster roll. (Courtesy photo) Kingston described the experience as nearly out of body.

“It was almost surreal. There were several times where I said to my wife, ‘I can’t believe we’re really doing this.’”

Kingston said he was nervous, but once he got in front of the audience with his own lobster, “it was very easy.”

The Clam Shack has won numerous awards and has been featured in many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Gourmet, Coastal Living and Travel + Leisure.

It has also been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel’s “Food Wars.”

Down East Magazine recently closed a poll asking viewers which restaurant makes their favorite Maine lobster roll. The Clam Shack’s is a contender; the winner will be announced in the August issue.

The Clam Shack, located at the base of the Mathew Lanigan Bridge that connects Lower Village with Kennebunkport, is well known for serving a long line of patrons in the warmer months.

The shack even has a ready-to-order lobster roll kit, consisting of half a dozen New England-style hot dog rolls and one pound of fresh lobster meat with a recipe and greeting card.

A publicist for “The Steve Harvey Show” wrote of Kingston’s lobster rolls, “They use only soft shell lobsters and cook them in fresh ocean water, which Steve (Kingston) says creates a naturally sweet seasoning. The finished product is served with your choice of butter or mayonnaise – or both!”

After winning the coveted Golden Spatula, Kingston posted on The Clam Shack Facebook page that he was “so thrilled to win Steve Harvey’s Golden Spatula! Come see it on display this summer in our seafood market.”

“The best part,” Kingston said, “After I won, he (Harvey) said to me, ‘Man I’m coming to Maine soon, and I’m definitely coming to your restaurant.’”

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