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May 28, 2009 09:49 PM

New England Style Hot Dog Buns


After doing a board search, I couldn't find much on finding a place to buy NE style hot dog buns. I'm specifically looking to satisfy an urge to make lobster rolls at home - and would prefer to do it the "real" way.

Does anyone have an idea of where to buy NE style rolls in the Bay Area? I live in SF, do have a car, and will travel to get them if necessary. Not willing to do mail order - would rather supplement with a "close enough" version.

I'm wondering if places in the area that serve lobster rolls would have a distributor rec or would sell direct to me. I'm new to the area - so any/all advice is appreciated .


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  1. Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City...... had a branch in North Beach but it closed. believe they have the NE style buns baked locally.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordon wing

      I saw a delivery of buns to the Old Port Lobster Shack (Redwood City) done by Le Boulanger. I have no idea if it was the "local" one. When I called MY local one, they said they did not bake anything like a lobster roll bun. King Arthur Flour has pans and recipe should you decide to make your own next round. I have used the Safeway bakery hot dog buns that come about ten in a row. You cut them apart, butter grill the sides and top split them to fill. I made 36 of them for a Superbowl party and many people commented on how good the rolls were.

      1. re: gordon wing

        I've bought them from OPLS in Redwood City. They are the real thing.

        Wodhouse Fish Co. on Fillmore has them now, but they won't sell them as of last week.

      2. I think OPLS uses a bakery in San Carlos for their buns, but don't know the name...
        My husband brought home some pretty authentic look-alikes from Safeway recently - made in the bakery department.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Concetta

          I haven't looked too closely at the Safeway bakery dept ........which Safeway do you shop at?

          1. re: gordon wing

            Safeways in Mountain View (shoreline & Miramonte locations). Gotta go there later. I'll try to remember my camera

            1. re: gordon wing

              I saw a package of buns unsliced as far as I can tell at the Mill Valley Safeway bakery dept. Bet they're at the Strawberry Safeway as well.

              1. re: Sarah

                Sarah, could you look at the blog post with the picture I posted below of NE-style hot dog buns and see if that is what you saw? NE-style buns are baked together in a loaf and then sliced.

                1. re: P. Punko

                  P, from my cursory look at the buns, there are about 6 buns baked in a row, stuck together, not cut apart like normal. I suppose you could take them apart, slice open the top to your specs, grill sides, etc. Hope it works! I had hot dogs in those buns at a shack outside of Petaluma way back when, and they made a memorable difference.
                  PS - not w/the commercial breads but on the stand that displays Safeway-baked breads and buns.

                  1. re: Sarah

                    That's exactly what we've been doing with those Safeway buns! - just haven't gotten the pics up yet.

            2. re: Concetta

              I've never seen anything close at Safeway.

              Here is a blog post describing what they are with a pic for those who haven't seen them.


              1. re: P. Punko

                If the difference is only where they are cut, Acme at the Ferry Building sells uncut hotdog buns.

                1. re: wally

                  Hi wally, it is more than that- essentially NE style is cut from a loaf between buns, then top cut for the dog. They aren't baked individually. The main advantage is they can be griddle toasted on the outside (because the outside surface is just like a slice of white bread.

                  1. re: P. Punko

                    Thanks, I am woefully ignorant of NE specialties.

                    1. re: wally

                      I gotta tell you, wally, I am just so disgusted by search on Chow right now I personally can't deal with it. It ticks me off too much ... especially since there was a work around and they removed it.

                      There are lots of good discussions on New Enlgland hot dog buns on Chowhound ... and a few recipes should the OP want to go that route. Old Port Lobster Shack is the only game in the Bay Area. They brought special pans with them when they moved here and have a bakery make them to spec. They will sell them.

                      Any way, for more patient people than me ... here's a search list with some discussions that include recipes

                      1. re: rworange

                        I'm glad it's not just me with the searches, I've resorted a few times to google and have found what I needed in so much quicker, but unfortunately that does not always work.

            3. This month's Gourmet has a recipe for these buns....

              1. Ok - Here's the pics of the Safeway hot dog buns - take 2 (in case take 1 ended up posted too...).

                10 Replies
                1. re: Concetta

                  thanks for the photos - looks like what some folks are looking for...... just add lobstah!

                  1. re: Concetta

                    Yes, thanks so much for the pictures. Looks close enough for my purposes. I wonder why they just don't go the extra step and cut it down the middle.

                    1. re: rworange

                      I think pre-cutting the buns decreases shelf life. Commercial pre-cut buns tend to have preservatives and/or are in nitrogen filled packaging. I know with the Acme buns once you cut them they start drying out and go stale faster.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        I might agree with that if they did not cut horizontal rather than vertical buns

                        1. re: rworange

                          Not sure what you're getting at but the #2 pic shows a fully intact non-cut set of buns. I assume that's how they're packaged unless I'm missing something in the photos.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            I'm just saying that most bagged hot dog buns are pre-cut. Why should it matter if the cut is vertical or horizontal. However, thinking it through, this gives the option to cut them in either direction.

                            1. re: rworange

                              In Vienna, Austria, the excellent hot dog stands sell various wursts either on a paper plate or in a bun. The bun is not cut -- they impale it with a metal rod to make a hole for the hot dog so it's nice and snug. The dogs are excellent quality, great mustard but no relish, no onions.

                              1. re: walker

                                There you go ... Safeway genius ... you can cut it either way or impale it.

                                1. re: walker

                                  The impaling it on the metal rod method is how they warm them at PukaDog in Hawaii

                      2. re: Concetta

                        Thanks, Concetta!

                        Those seem close enough for government work, as they say. The New England style I think are thinner such that they almost just look like a shorter, wider Wonder bread loaf, with less definition.

                      3. Ad Hoc did Lobster Rolls on Memorial Day and they had some NE-style buns from Bouchon Bakery. They called it a sweet roll and it was like brioche but without all the butter. Ad Hoc's manager told me you can call up Bouchon Bakery and request them, and he said he uses them for hot dogs. Probably a bit extravagant :) but I thought you might like to see their bread.


                        Bouchon Bakery
                        6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599