Local Treasure: The Barking Claw

I first noticed The Barking Claw, a pushcart set up a couple miles down the road from me, some time last year. Something about food sold on the side of the road generally turns me off, though, especially in the heat of summer — so I’d always pass by it. But then I started to overhear conversations about how good the lobster rolls were, and my friends kept going on and on about it. So, a couple weekends ago, I stopped by. Since then, it’s become a new Sunday tradition to pick up lobster rolls and share them on our friend Flannery’s houseboat. They are so good, so much better than any lobster roll I’ve had in town (this reporter and I are on the same page!)

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The Barking Claw, which sets up shop in front of Grumpy’s pub in Falmouth every day except Monday, is run by owner, Billy, who got the idea to start a lobster roll and hot dog cart from his son, who lives in Maine. “I said alright,” Billy recalls, “I’ll commit 5 days a week, four hours a day.” In reality, he says it’s become more like 12 -14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It’s clear that Billy takes it seriously, and his thoughtfulness shows: every morning, he wakes up and individually wraps 4 ounce portions of fresh, hard shell knuckle and claw meat. He sticks to a strict 3 day shelf life, but most of the time, you’re eating lobster that was prepared that morning.

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The lobster roll itself is simple and spot on: a bun is toasted, then in goes some lettuce, a sprinkling of celery salt (his secret ingredient), ice cold lobster meat, and hot, melted butter, which immediately warms up the lobster. “Basically the way you would eat a whole lobster,” Billy points out.

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The Barking Claw also sells hot dogs, which were taste tested before he settled on one brand. Below: the “everything” dog.

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What I love about this little business are the homey touches — his wife, Carolyn, makes tomatillo and jalapeño relish, for those interested in a spicy topping, and you can also buy one of her homemade chocolate chip cookies for $1. This year, they added Sriracha to the cooler of condiments. “People love this stuff,” he said, laughing.

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Billy also makes the stuffed quahogs, which are moist and a little spicy, with both linguica and chorizo. I downed it while asking him questions, and just lol’d at the recording of me saying, with my mouth full, “dis is deliciouth.”

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You can meet Billy and his two sweet helpers, and try one of his lobster rolls Tuesday-Sunday, between 11-3, until September 30th.

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Such a great, local spot. As I hung around, people came and went, ordering lobster rolls and chowing down in the parking lot. And everyone has the same reaction — something along the lines of, “holy crap, this is good.”

I highly recommend stopping by!

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