We have a winner!
32 dishes battled it out, and after five rounds of voting and thousands of votes, it all came down to two Northeast culinary powerhouses: Maine Lobster Rolls vs. New England Clam Chowder.
In the final round, lobster rolls edged out clam chowder 57% to 44%, taking the crown of Northeast Food Fight champion!
14,927 total votes
Atlantic City Taffy vs. Doughboys
Doughboys – 65% (winner)
Atlantic City Taffy – 35%
New York-Style Cheesecake vs. Cannoli
New York-Style Cheesecake – 59% (winner)
Cannoli – 41%
Apple Cider Doughnuts vs. Boston Cream Pie
Apple Cider Doughnuts – 54% (winner)
Boston Cream Pie – 46%
Del’s Lemonade vs. Italian Ice
Italian Ice – 58% (winner)
Del’s Lemonade – 42%
Maine vs. Connecticut Lobster Roll
Maine Lobster Roll – 80% (winner)
Connecticut Lobster Roll – 20% (winner)
Rhode Island Stuffies vs. Clam Cakes
Clam Cakes – 56% (winner)
Stuffies – 44%
Rhode Island-Style Calamari vs. Fried Clams
Fried Clams – 65% (winner)
Calamari – 35%
Steamers vs. Oysters
Steamers – 72% (winner)
Oysters – 28%
Manhattan vs. New England Clam Chowder
New England Clam Chowder – 86% (winner)
Manhattan Clam Chowder – 14%
Disco Fries vs. Jersey Shore Cheeseballs
Disco Fries – 70% (winner)
Jersey Shore Cheeseballs – 30%
Baked Pretzel vs. Parker House Rolls
Baked Pretzel – 57% (winner)
Parker House Rolls – 42%
Matzo Ball Soup vs. Waldorf Salad
Waldorf Salad – 58% (winner)
Matzo Ball Soup – 41%
New York Pizza vs. New Haven Pizza
New York Pizza – 67% (winner)
New Haven Pizza – 32%
Hot Wieners vs. New York Street Dog
NYC Street Dog – 67% (winner)
Hot Wieners – 33%
Pastrami Sandwich vs. Sausage and Peppers
Pastrami Sandwich – 54% (winner)
Sausage & Peppers – 46%
Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese vs. Bagel and Lox
Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese – 57% (winner)
Bagel & Lox – 43%
2,527 total votes
Doughboys vs. New York-Style Cheesecake
New York-Style Cheesecake – 78% (winner)
Doughboys – 22%
Italian Ice vs. Apple Cider Doughnut
Apple Cider Doughnut – 63% (winner)
Italian Ice – 37%
Maine Lobster Roll vs. Clam Cakes
Maine Lobster Roll – 79% (winner)
Clam Cakes – 21%
Fried Clams vs. Steamers
Fried Clams – 67% (winner)
Steamers – 33%
New England Clam Chowder vs. Disco Fries
New England Clam Chowder – 81% (winner)
Disco Fries – 19%
Baked Pretzel vs. Waldorf Salad
Baked Pretzel – 69% (winner)
Waldorf Salad – 31%
New York-Style Pizza vs. New York Street Dog
New York-Style Pizza – 83% (winner)
New York Street Dog – 17%
Pastrami Sandwich vs. Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese
Pastrami Sandwich – 80% (winner)
Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese – 19%
1,204 total votes
New England Clam Chowder vs. Baked Pretzel
New England Clam Chowder – 77% (winner)
Baked Pretzel – 23%
Main Lobster Roll vs. Fried Clams
Maine Lobster Roll – 70% (winner)
Fried Clams – 30%
New York Style-Cheesecake vs. Apple Cider Doughnuts
New York Style-Cheesecake – 61% (winner)
Apple Cider Doughnuts – 39%
New York-Style Pizza vs. Pastrami Sandwich
New York-Style Pizza – 60% (winner)
Pastrami Sandwich – 40%
405 total votes
New England Clam Chowder vs. New York-Style Pizza
New England Clam Chowder -56% (winner)
New York-Style Pizza – 44%
Maine Lobster Roll vs. New York-Style Cheesecake
Maine Lobster Roll – 65% (winner)
New York-Style Cheesecake – 35%
307 total votes
Maine Lobster Roll vs. New England Clam Chowder
Maine Lobster Roll – 57% (winner)
New England Clam Chowder – 44%
Atlantic City Salt Water Taffy
The go-to Atlantic City souvenir since the 1800s. A piece of boardwalk nostalgia, salt water taffy is made in a variety of flavors and (thankfully) not from actual seawater.
Doughboys – Rhode Island
The Ocean State’s version of a zeppole or beignet, these sugar-coated fried balls of dough are best enjoyed still warm from the fryer. Available at pizzerias and clam shacks throughout the state.
New York-Style Cheesecake
Rich, tangy, dense and creamy, New York-style cheesecake is cream cheese-based and usually made with a graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust.
Crispy fried pastry shells with sweet ricotta cream filling, traditionally dipped in dark chocolate chips on each end. You’ll find some of the best cannoli in the bakeries of Little Italy neighborhoods throughout the Northeast.
Del’s Frozen Lemonade – Rhode Island
Part slushy, part Italian Ice, distinctly Rhode Island and all delicious. A hot day’s perfect companion.
A smooth summer snack that cools you down but is lighter than ice cream. Served in a range of refreshing flavors at pizzerias and franchises like Rita’s and Ralph’s.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Sugar and spice, plus everything nice about doughnuts, the addition of apple cider and cinnamon sugar transforms an already delicious dessert into something even better. No apple picking adventure, farmers market or fall festival would be complete without them.
Boston Cream Pie
The chocolate-topped, cream-filled golden sponge cake was said to be invented at Parker’s Restaurant at the Omni Parker House in Boston, where it has been served since 1856.
Maine Lobster Roll
The Maine lobster roll features cold lobster salad dressed in mayonnaise, served on a split-top New England hot dog bun. Some will add celery, lettuce and other seasonings to the mix, but purists believe that nothing should come between fresh lobster meat and mayo.
Connecticut Lobster Roll
A hot lobster roll served with warm melted butter for dunking or pouring over top.
Stuffies – Rhode Island
Stuffed quahogs (Rhode Island’s official state shellfish) baked and served on the half shell. These clam shack favorites are typically made with a mixture of celery, onions, clams, bacon, breadcrumbs, chopped clams, clam juice and seasonings.
Clam Cakes – Rhode Island
Standard on beach and roadside clam shack menus, these fried dough fritters are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and stuffed with meaty quahogs. Commonly served beside a bowl of clam chowder.
Rhode Island-Style Calamari
Crispy fried rings and tentacles get a flavor boost from a quick toss with garlic, butter and the vinegary kick of pickled cherry peppers. The official state appetizer of Rhode Island.
Breaded and fried strips of clam.
Steamed clams freshly harvested from East Coast and New England waters.
The star of local raw bars, Oyster fans say that New England oysters are some of the sweetest.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
A tomato-based clam chowder made with vegetables and notably absent of milk or cream. A polarizing contender.
New England Clam Chowder
A thick and hearty cream-based clam chowder, customarily made with salt pork, onions and potatoes.
Disco Fries – New Jersey
Found at New Jersey diners, these gravy and mozzarella-topped fries are an irresistible late-night snack.
Jersey Shore Cheese Balls
Breaded and fried balls of cheddar that made their mark on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.
Although they can be found just about anywhere, baked pretzels are a quintessential New York City street food, distinguished by their soft texture and irresistible toasty aroma.
Parker House Rolls – Massachusetts
Buttery, soft dinner rolls first created at the Boston Parker Hotel in 1890.
Matzo Ball Soup – New York
A comfort dish composed of chicken broth, aromatic vegetables, matzo ball dumplings and dill. A staple of any New York Jewish deli worth its schmaltz.
A sweet salad starring crunchy raw apples and celery tossed in mayo. Many iterations also include walnuts. First made to celebrate the 1983 opening of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
New York-Style Pizza
A “regular” (cheese) New York pizza is a round pie with large, foldable slices, thin crust, tomato sauce and nearly full mozzarella coverage. Sold as a whole pie or by the slice.
New Haven-Style Pizza – Connecticut
Sometimes referred to as “apizza,” New Haven-style pizza is a coal-fired, Neapolitan-style pie marked by its ultra-thin crust. Sold as a whole pie.
Hot Wieners – Rhode Island
Also known as New York System wieners, these craveable sausages are more than your average hot dog. Typically ordered “all the way,” with onions, yellow mustard, celery salt and a seasoned beef sauce.
New York Street Dog
All-beef hot dogs topped with onions, sauerkraut and brown mustard. Often called “dirty water dogs” but revered, nonetheless.
Pastrami Sandwich – New York
Thin slices of tender, spice-rubbed, smoked pastrami, piled high on rye.
Sausage and Peppers
Grilled sweet or hot Italian sausage on a bun, topped with cooked peppers and onions. Tastes as good as it smells.
Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese – New Jersey
A popular Jersey breakfast sandwich consisting of sliced Taylor ham or pork roll – a processed, smoky pork product, a fried egg and American cheese on a roll.
Bagel and Lox – New York
A bagel topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon is a New York classic. Complete with sliced onion, tomato and capers, if you please.
Shop our storefront to get the supplies you need to make and enjoy some your favorite Northeast foods at home.
What’s your favorite Northeast food? Do you think adding tomatoes to clam chowder is blasphemous? Are you team Maine- or Connecticut-style lobster roll? Tell us in the comments!
40 Thoughts on “Northeast Food Fight”
When you’re in Maine travel by water from Portland 12 nautical miles Northwest to Dolphin point . Dockbehind the dolphin Marina at Erica’s seafood. Walk up the dock along the ramp that your lobsters will come up. You’ll see them in the crates on your way up. Doesn’t get any fresher than this. If you can’t sail there head route 1 into Brunswick and head down route 123 it’s out of the way it’s worth for awesome lobster roll. You’ll be eating only a few fathoms away from where the lobsters come off their boats.
NY pizza & Conn Lobster Roll
There are two MUST HAVES in this survey. #1- a good slice (or whole pie) of New York Pizza .(A New Haven Clam Pie is TERRIFIC ALSO) and #2- A Maine Lobster Roll. I say “MUST HAVES” because each one could be eaten every day for as long as you have a pulse !
New Haven pizza beats all. No contest.
Thank you Frank Pepe !
Lots of great food to choose from it made some choices difficult to select
Don’t necessarily know all the food items by their names … such as a hot lobster roll (which I love as much as a traditional one). Food descriptions should have appeared BEFORE the ballot!
This was fun, but I’m pretty sure the author doesn’t know what “schmaltz” means.
Great Idea fun to fill out Good Job
Lots of great food in this food fight!
Having lived in the East from Maine to CT to NYC to NJ, this survey brought back many savory moments to me. Loved it all!
I moved to CT from Long Island 3 years ago and there are 3 things I miss: LI pizza, bagels and egg sandwiches (bacon and eggs on a roll from a deli). They just aren’t as good here.I also can’t find a good loaf of Brooklyn style Italian bread.