A popular lobster roll chain from LA is making its way to NYC. Cousins Maine Lobster — known for its Shark Tank appearance — plans to open an outpost in Kips Bay later this month.
The fast-casual seafood restaurant backed by cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, who are originally from Maine, began as a food truck in California six years ago, but a $55,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran on Shark Tank led to a robust nationwide expansion. Opening at 77 Lexington Ave. on October 27, the franchise location marks the seafood shop’s sixth brick-and-mortar outpost in the U.S., although dozens of food trucks exist across 21 cities. Besides the shop, a food truck will also roll through NYC next year, the cousins tell Eater.
The NYC location of Cousins Maine Lobster will fit nearly 40 diners and will also have a retail store, where they can purchase lobster cakes, crab cakes, and lobster meat by the pound, as well as a lobster mac and cheese.
Its menu bears some ties to the West Coast, Tselikis says, with a lobster taco and quesadilla representing the “California flair.” Aside from the signature rolls, the restaurant offers additional variations of Maine lobster in a grilled cheese sandwich, or with a side of tater tots. The menu goes beyond lobster with items like a chicken sandwich, fried clams, and fish and chips.
The cousins have traditionally targeted markets where lobster rolls aren’t a commodity like Sacramento, Raleigh, and Nashville, aiming to promote the traditional Maine dish beyond the Northeast region. They have also expanded globally to Taiwan. It was met with long lines when it opened in Charlotte earlier this year, and its L.A. trucks garner a lengthy wait, too.
But New York has its fair share of lobster roll destinations. Luke’s Lobster has more than a dozen locations here, and Red Hook Lobster Pound has several outposts, as well. Lomac says he sees this move the company’s first dive into a big U.S. city that’s considered a major food mecca.
The cousins hope that their broader seafood menu besides lobster rolls will help set them apart, they say. And the new location makes sense, Lomac says, considering the founders’ Northeast upbringing laid the foundation for the restaurant. Cousins Maine Lobster was created to celebrate Maine, and the fresh, steaming-hot lobster they remember eating as children, they say.
Cousins Maine Lobster opens October 27, and most items will be priced between $15 and $17. It will be open everyday starting 11 a.m.