Bringing it home: California restaurateur aims to enhance lobster shed sequence …

March 7, 2015 - Picnic Time

When New England transplants in California’s Silicon Valley get a emotional for a lobster roll, they conduct to a Old Port Lobster Shack.

Wait, what? There’s a lobster shed named after Portland in California, land of fever and sushi?

Actually, there are three. And now, a owners of a California restaurants wants to open a fourth Old Port Lobster Shack during 425 Fore St., in a heart of a strange Old Port.

Restaurateur Russell Deutsch of Portola Valley, California, was in Maine this week to seem before a Portland City Council and start a needing process. His wine permit focus was authorized unanimously.

“My dream was always to have one in a Old Port,” he pronounced during an talk while he was in town.

But is there room in Portland for another grill portion lobster rolls, boiled clams and other lobster shed fare?

Jonathan St. Laurent, a Maine cook remembered widely for Uncle Billy’s Southside BBQ, his South Portland grill that sealed in 1995, now works as a caterer and grill consultant. He helped longtime crony Deutsch launch his renouned California lobster shacks. When he initial listened Deutsch was formulation to open a fourth shack, this one in a genuine Old Port, he called a thought “completely ludicrous.”

“I don’t know what he’s thinking,” St. Laurent pronounced from his winter chateau in Florida, where he was fishing for a repast of redfish and sea trout. “But that’s all right. He’s something different.”

St. Laurent pronounced Deutsch’s California restaurants are “really, unequivocally successful” given they are stuffing a niche. Even with a good location, lots of feet trade and Portland’s good grill scene, opening a lobster shed here “strikes me as being a small some-more challenging.”

“It’s not going to be so novel to get a lobster roll,” St. Laurent said. “Gee whiz, we can get them during McDonald’s in Maine.”

But he also believes that if anyone can lift it off in Portland, it’s a “very ambitious” Deutsch.


Who is Russell Deutsch and because does he wish to open a landlocked lobster shed in Portland?

Deutsch is a Boston local who lived in Portland for 12 years while he ran a lobster trade business. He lived in an unit above Gritty McDuff’s and had a permit image that pronounced “OLDPORT.” In 2001, after he married, he changed to California. For a while, after he and his mother had dual sons, he became a stay-at-home dad.

Deutsch’s large epiphany about removing into a grill business came when he went to watch a Red Sox play a Oakland A’s. He embellished himself out in his Red Sox top and shirt, entirely awaiting to be a usually member of Red Sox Nation in a ballpark.

“I’m meditative I’m going to get kick adult in there,” he recalled. “And lo and behold, there’s some-more Red Sox fans than A’s fans. we pronounced ‘OK, we consider there’s a business in here somewhere.’ ”

It dawned on him that a lot of a graduates of New England schools worked in a San Francisco Bay area, including Silicon Valley, and were substantially lobster starved. So he wrote a business devise and got in hold with his aged contacts from a exporting business. He non-stop his initial lobster shed in Redwood City, in a frame mall subsequent to a Super Cuts. It struggled during first; afterwards 3 or 4 months in, a San Francisco Chronicle wrote a review. “The subsequent day we had 250 people in line during my door,” he said, “and it hasn’t staid down since.”

The second grill launched in Portola Valley, where a lot of Silicon Valley executives live. The third lobster shed is in San Jose, in a second busiest mall in a country.

St. Laurent has helped him with all three, drifting out to sight a mostly Mexican staff on how to make Maine specialties like lobster rolls and whoopie pies.

The Old Port Lobster Shack restaurants (and a food lorry Deutsch calls a “ShackMobile”) offer New England clam chowder, steamers, boiled clams, blueberry cake and other lobster shed fare. Lobster rolls are served dual ways: The “Maine Lobstah Roll” is churned with Hellmann’s mayonnaise, scallions and salt and pepper, and served with fries and cole slaw for $19.75, according to a representation menu. The “Naked Lobster Roll” comes plain, with mayo and drawn butter on a side.

The restaurants even offer Shipyard and Allagash beers on tap. And in a present shop, you’ll find furious Maine blueberry syrup and jam.

Deutsch flies in uninformed seafood from New England 3 times a week. His cruise list seating comes from Aroostook County. The lobster buoys, lobster traps and other shed taste also come from Maine. When a J.J. Nissen plant sealed in Portland, Deutsch bought 25 of a custom-made baking pans for creation split-top rolls so he can offer a some-more authentic lobster roll.

“It’s distant and above a best bread I’ve ever had in a lobster roll,” St. Laurent said.


St. Laurent, who grew adult clamming in Cape Elizabeth, pronounced one of a things he’s schooled from operative with Deutsch is how most Mainers take vital here for granted. “When we got out there and started operative with him,” St. Laurent said, “I satisfied what a extensive apparatus Maine seafood is and how sought after it is. It represents so most nostalgia.”

Not prolonged ago, Deutsch asked his crony Michael Michalski to come to California from Maine to be his arch financial officer. Michalski’s wife, Helene, owned Helene M, a woman’s attire store on Fore Street, subsequent doorway to Gelato Fiasco. The integrate changed to California final August, that done that sell space accessible for an Old Port Lobster Shack.

The 1,800-square-foot Portland restaurant, that will be open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., will be flashy like a California restaurants and embody an oyster bar and outside seating. “It’s going to be nice, though really shacky during a same time,” Deutsch said. “I call it shackadelic.”

Deutsch hopes to open someday in May, though he also is perplexing to launch another grill in Portola Valley – Rusty’s Roadhouse Grill.

“Two during once on conflicting coasts is going to be a challenge,” he said.





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