Editor’s Note: The following appeared in the Rockland Courier-Gazette, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1953. It has been edited for space and clarity.

The fire of Dec. 12, 1952, destroyed a widely known Rockland institution called affectionately “Sim’s Lunch” and operated at Park Street for many years by Carl Simmons of this city. Now a new “Sim’s Lunch” has been opened at the corner of Park and Union Streets…

It follows closely the equipment and seating arrangement of the original institution with new and improved equipment. No change will be made in the policy, cooking and food stuffs of the first Sim’s Lunch because it would be next to impossible to improve those factors. Carl Simmons himself will be in personal charge of the new operation and associated with him in the venture and supplying the choice lobsters required is his brother, Harold Simmons, proprietor of Sims Lobster Pound of Spruce Head.


Few people realize that Carl Simmons, as the lobster salad sandwich inventor, is well known far beyond the confines of New England. He is also recognized as one of the earliest promoters of the small restaurant chain lunch rooms and as highly successful in his operations.

Sim’s Lunch was part of the Fales Block in the 1940s. Courtesy of the Rockland Historical Society

…The invention of the lobster roll was not made in a minute, but evolved gradually. During his boyhood Carl made constant trips with his late father, for 40 years a smack captain for the McLoon lobster interests, and was with Captain Simmons on the first “lobster well” trip made from Monhegan to Boston in a revolutionary experiment. His associations were constantly with lobsters and naturally he thought of his future in connection with the shellfish. He had seen too much of the hazardous life and constant discomforts of the lobster catcher or smackmean, so his mind turned to the idea of selling the product of the toil.

The constant fluctuations of the market price of lobsters disturbed him, and finally he came up with the plan to market lobster in salad rolls at a modest price direct to the public in a small, low overhead lunch room, and Sim’s Lunch came into being, wholly on an experimental basis.

The idea of a low-price lobster salad roll was a highly pleasing experience to the public and Sim’s Lunch was an almost instant success. He found the lobster roll needed a companion low price meat special, so the hamburger became the second string to the bow. He built his reputation as a restauranter on high quality products, with his lobster and hamburg always the best obtainable at any price, and added top grade pastry and a number of other products to the menu.

His brother, Captain Harold Simmons, came home from the wars and entered the lobster business at another level, that of the wholesaler and retailer, and was also successful, serving also as chief supplier to Sim’s Lunch. Together they expanded a chain of small restaurants, based on the low cost, little style but high quality policy and now operate similar establishments in Boston and Lewiston, with four in the latter city in successful operation over 15 years.

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