The bright red food truck with the cartoon lobster on the sign didn’t just happen; it is the product of circumstance, a little bit of luck and a plan.
Longshot Lobsta began selling its lobster rolls, bisque, chowder and biscuits a few weeks ago, but the idea goes back about four years, and really got rolling when co-owner Phil Goldsborough drew a floor plan. And it was a full-scale floor plan, at that.
“Phil drew it out on his garage floor with his kids’ sidewalk chalk,” said his business partner, Rick Torres.
“We did a floor plan,” Goldsborough reiterates, “on the garage floor.”
The plan was, essentially, to give them an idea of how much space they’d have in which to cook and serve their sandwiches and soups; he sketched out where the freezer would be, the warmer, the sink, etc.
More important than the size of the interior, however, is what is created there: lobster rolls, including traditional cold lobster tossed in mayo, celery and seasoning; Maine-style, tossed in Greek yogurt, celery and seasoning, and Connecticut style, served hot and dripping with melted butter.
Here’s how the concept was originally hatched: The pair was on a trip to New Jersey a few years ago when they noticed a crowd of people around a food truck – it was impossible to even tell what was selling.
“There was a line, and it was deep,” Goldsborough said. “And they were only selling one thing – one item. All they asked you [at the window] was how many you wanted.”
Those items, of course, were lobster rolls.
Goldsborough and Torres are both restaurant industry veterans who’ve known each other since they were teenagers. Goldsborough formerly owned Longshot’s Tavern in Clifton (thus the name Longshot Lobsta) and worked at a number of other restaurants around town, while Torres was a chef at Jack Fry’s and others, and is the former proprietor of Alameda, which was located in the space on Bardstown Road now occupied by Impellizerri’s.
They get their lobster from Bluefin Seafood and Clearwater Seafood here in town and, based on the Connecticut lobster roll I had, the stuff is darn fresh. Heck, after taking the first bite of the flavorful sandwich, I began to wonder if they were hiding a lobster tank in that truck somewhere.
Torres said at a recent outing at Headliners Music Hall they sold 45 to 50 rolls, proof these things may be catching on already. Also, the bisque has been popular. Longshot Lobsta also sells New England-style clam chowder and cheddar bay biscuits. Rolls are 10 bucks each, soups are four bucks each, and a “Pick Two” combo with a roll and soup is $12. Biscuits come with the bisque or chowder, and are just a buck each a la carte.
“When they were leaving” the Headliners show, Torres said, “the drunk people were just buying biscuits.”
Hey, Longshot Lobsta even makes for good sober-up food.
While they plan to keep the menu fairly simple to help ensure quick turnaround on orders and shorter waits, Torres said the plan is to add oysters on the halfshell, shrimp cocktails and possibly grouper bites in March. They also may add a salad version of the traditional roll, served on a bed of greens rather than in bread.
“We want to keep it as healthy as we can,” Goldsborough said.
The Connecticut roll I had was so buttery that healthfulness may have gone right out the window, but the big chunks of tender claw, knuckle and tail meat sure did hit the spot. It’s one of those sandwiches you can’t seem to eat fast enough, and not just because of the hot butter dripping down your fingers and onto your hand. The thing was just that tasty.
Goldsborough actually left the area for a while, which is why he sold Longshot’s in the first place. Upon his return, he simply was wondering what the heck to do. He and Torres recalled those lobster rolls in Jersey and set their plan in action. The result has been full circle and, so far, worth the wait.
“Here I am,” Goldsborough, “back in a restaurant, sitting on Bardstown Road.”
Longshot Lobsta’s Facebook page is updated daily to inform lobster lovers of their whereabouts. Today they’ll be at 6th and Chestnut downtown for lunch, and then at Headliners Music Hall starting at 7 p.m.