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Northeast Food Fight

food fight winner

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!


northeast food fight


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%

northeast food fight


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%

food fight r3


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%

food fight r4


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.

Restaurant Recipe Guide

Featuring more than 40 recipes and tips from top chefs and kitchens in the Northeast. Download the Restaurant Recipe Guide and get cooking!

Download Now!

Del’s Frozen Lemonade – Rhode Island

Part slushy, part Italian Ice, distinctly Rhode Island and all delicious. A hot day’s perfect companion.

Italian Ice

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.

lobster roll recipes
Connecticut-style lobster roll.

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.

Fried Clams

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.

northeast food
New England chowder and fried clam cakes from Evelyn’s Drive-In in Tiverton, R.I.

Baked Pretzel

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.

Waldorf Salad

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.

northeast food

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! 


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40 Thoughts on “Northeast Food Fight

  1. Clam Chowder
    I grew up with Manhattan clam chowder. Now I have lived in the Boston area for many years and it’s New England clam chowder all the way.
    The survey should include CT clam chowder as served Noank CT which has a clear broth.

    1. Clam “chowder” with a clear broth is usually referred to as Rhode Island Clam Chowder. I guess the recipe spilled over the border into Noank in nearby CT. As not a fan of the tomatoes -clams combination, and not able to have dairy foods, I am grateful for R.I. clam chowder, which is delicious.

  2. I thought that it was a little odd that some descriptions of the food items were given delicious details while some items weren’t. Example…Rhode Island Calamari vs. Fried Clams.

  3. Best lobster rolls served in Maine? Cold lobster meat on a toasted hot dog bun with drawn butter on the side. Eventide in Portland….lightly sauteed lobster on an Asian bun!

    1. Correction, in my prior reply I said that Maryland is not in New England. I meant not in the Northeast as the article was referring to Northeast food. Sorry about that. I believe Maryland is considered a Mid-Atlantic state.

  4. Reading this and voting made me….hungry! I grew up in California, but have lived in New England now for 25 years and love most of these foods!

  5. New York vs New Haven pizza tough choice as they are both great. I disagree on the Maine vs CT lobster roll. Maine’s version is like lobster salad. You can’t beat the CT lobster and butter version.

  6. Hands up for CT style lobster roll! I think the vote might be undercounted from people who like their lobster roll warm with butter & no Mayo but didn’t know that’s called Connecticut style.

    1. Hi Joelyn, So sorry for the glitch, the polls weren’t initially performing well on mobile. If you tilt your phone to the side it should be fine now. Thanks for reading!

  7. Show me where I can get delicious Manhattan clam chowder please. I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    1. I have learned to cook Manhattan clam chowder at home. Get a good recipe: it’s not difficult and the soup tastes delicious! Takes about one hour for prep plus cooking time.

    1. Never add tomatoes to clam chowder. New England Style is the only way to enjoy this most satisfying treat. Maine lobster with Mayo and a smidgeon of celery on a toasted bun is the best.

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