Da Lobsta celebrates this January and February
Chicago’s lobster lovers have good reason to celebrate. This January, Chicago’s own Da Lobsta restaurants mark their first anniversary and business is-forgive the pun-on a roll. Last winter, owner and founder J Wolf brought his unique, inspired take on the Lobster Roll sandwich to the world, opening his first location at 12 E. Cedar (telephone 312-929-2423) in Chicago’s Gold Coast. A second location, at the Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton; telephone 312-207-5705), opened this past autumn and more locations are planned for 2014 but no dates are set.
“We’ve had a great run thus far, and it’s only the beginning,” said Wolf. “We are thrilled, but it was not unexpected that we would build a fan base pretty quickly. We knew Chicagoans love their lobster and there was pent-up demand for lobster served at an affordable price. We have solved the riddle as to how to do it really well at a reasonably low price point.” Da Lobsta’s Lobster Roll sandwiches are priced at $12.95, and they have clearly raised the bar on fast casual dining.
The key to Da Lobsta’s success has been its ability to prepare an amazingly good Lobster Roll sandwich, with big pieces of lobster claw meat, while keeping the price in line with what the average diner can afford. Served in a fun, colorful atmosphere, with a wide range of flavor combinations to choose from and accompanied by a host of tasty comfort-food side dishes, Da Lobsta’s sandwiches are delicious and satisfying for people who want to move beyond hamburgers and sub sandwiches and still enjoy a very casual meal.
Da Lobsta’s success also has been due to J Wolf’s foresight about Chicago food lovers. He understood that Chicagoans were sophisticated about food and would appreciate creative takes on the traditional Lobster Roll sandwich. He created a menu that features a variety of regionally and globally inspired renditions of the sandwich, such as The Greek. He also offers blue crab and shrimp, which bring the prices down even further.
“Until Da Lobsta came along, Chicagoans had basically two options for enjoying lobster: first, sit down at a pricey restaurant and spend a lot of time and money or second, buy live lobsters and prepare them at home,” said Wolf. “Neither of these options is convenient nor inexpensive. Our goal was to change all that. We made it possible for people to satisfy their lobster craving while on the go and in a budget-friendly way. Da Lobsta is a guilty pleasure, without the guilt. Our customers feel like they’re part of a lobster-loving community of people in the know and it makes the experience really enjoyable.”
Much more than the traditional New England Lobster Roll
Among the sandwiches choices are the Traditional, with tarragon mayo and garlic butter; the Asian with soy mayo, Asian slaw, Szechwan sauce and scallions; The Mexican, with salsa, Chihuahua cheese, avocado and lettuce; the Greek, with feta, tzatziki sauce, cucumber and tomato; the Indian , with cilantro mayo, mango chutney and potato-paneer salad; the Surf & Turf, with tarragon mayo, apple smoked and maple glazed bacon; and the Skinny with low fat mayo, whole wheat pita, garlic oil, celery, tomato and slaw.
The Lobster Grilled Cheese sandwich is $12.95 and Da Lobsta also serves up daily specials, such as the Lobster BLT with bacon, lettuce, tomato and lobster.
For those who really want to indulge, the signature sandwich is the Gold Coast, a large combo piled high with all three sea foods (lobster, blue crab and shrimp) and truffle mayo. It’s meant for sharing but more than a few guests have gobbled it down single-handedly.
Salad lovers can also enjoy their lobster with Da Lobsta’s Chopped Salad, which comes with a choice of lobster, blue crab, or shrimp and Romaine lettuce, hearts of palm, ricotta salata, chickpeas, tomato, garlic croutons, tossed with green goddess or balsamic dressing.
Every day is New England Clam Chowda day along with a daily soup special. Potato chips, coleslaw and spicy butter pickles round out the menu. Da Lobsta’s Whoopie Pie is the sweet finale. For more information about Da Lobsta, please contact J Wolf at (312) 929-2423 or visit the website at www.dalobstachicago.com and find them on Facebook and Twitter.