A Maine-sourced Lobster Roll in New York City

Photo: J. Bradford

On a list of tough ways to make a living, owning a restaurant in New York City has to be somewhere near the top.  But what’s so great about it is that if you find a niche and that niche has a market, then owning a restaurant is a rewarding experience. So it is with Luke’s Lobster, a collection of focused seafood shacks in decidedly urban premises run by the eponymous Luke Holden. During the commercially troubled year of 2008, Luke decided to leave his lucrative investment banking job and open his first restaurant in the East Village.

The strategy, as most successful ones are, was stunningly simple with the premise that it was difficult to get a decent lobster roll in NYC. The ones on offer at the time typically were filled with less tasty parts of the lobster and then overly mayo-ed and plopped into a hard bun.  But you had to say it was good because you ordered a lobster roll, right?  Right.

Such culinary sensibility clearly offended a guy like Luke, who hails from Portland, ME and whose family business is lobster wholesaling.  As part of his growing up with this legacy, Luke was a hands-on character, running the boats, baiting the traps, and collecting up the catch to take back to port. In fact, artifacts like his fishing license and other items serve as the decor for the original Luke’s Lobster.   So putting a guy who knows his way around shellfish in NYC was like putting the fox in the henhouse and Luke offers up some of the gains of this bargain to his customers.

For instance, the quality of the lobster is top notch. A plenty good mix of tail, claw and leg meats make up a 6oz portion. The meat is added to a true New England-style split top hot dog bun.  To that, a small portion of warm liquid drawn butter is added along with celery salt.  Simple, yes, but also perfectly delicious.  The rolls are sold as-is or can be combined with chips and a boutique soda – both sourced from Portland to make NYC’s main streets more like Maine streets.

Luke’s success is manifested with expansion to two other shacks in NYC and one in Washington, D.C.  This proves that even in a competitive environment a good idea and a passion for providing an authentic, fresh and high quality dining experience always wins out.  Lucky for us!

Luke’s Lobster has eight locations in New York City, Washington D.C. and Bethesda, MD.

Luke’s Lobster also has a shrimp roll on offer that is just as tasty as the lobster roll with the same butter and celery salt preparation.

Luke’s Lobster (original location)
93 E. 7th Street
New York, NY


New York Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Financial District, Plaza Food Hall, The Nauti Truck

Washington, D.C.

Bethesda, MD


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Correspondent:Jack Bradford

Originally from the East Coast, Jack travels extensively for his personal and professional projects. No matter which city, town or village, whether on business or vacation, Jack looks for establishments which are the ones he’d revisit with his best friends or clients. To him, these places accommodate and create an excellent and memorable experience – regardless of busy schedules. Jack is currently based in London.

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