LobsterCraft Highlights Connecticut State Sandwich

Good Bite

Pictured: A lobster roll from LobsterCraft brings New England taste to Florida. Photo Courtesy of LobsterCraft.

In 2000, a massive die-off of lobsters caused financial difficulties for Captain Mike Harden, a Connecticut-based lobster fisherman and Coast Guard Captain. Unable to make a living from fishing alone, Harden needed to find a solution. He tried a variety of ventures, including a dinner cruise and selling lobsters himself. “It was my wife’s idea to take the small amount of lobster that I was still catching and start a food truck,” says Harden. When he opened the LobsterCraft food truck in 2012, selling delicious lobster rolls, the official state sandwich of Connecticut, it was one of the state’s first gourmet food trucks.

“The two things that I’m good at are fishing and cooking,” he adds, “and we were so well received that it was a no-brainer to continue.” Because lobsters are expensive, the best way to profit from a lobster roll company is by vertically integrating the business. This means that the establishment that cooks and serves the lobster rolls also sources the lobsters themselves, instead of purchasing them elsewhere.

LobsterCraft exploded in popularity around Connecticut, expanding from food trucks to brick-and-mortar locations, but Harden saw the potential to grow the business further. “People in New England think lobster rolls are only available in the summer,” he says, “but in Sarasota, the seasons are flipped, and sales of lobster rolls are higher during the winter.” In April of 2022, Harden opened a brick-and-mortar LobsterCraft location in St. Armands Circle. He also runs a LobsterCraft food truck in Sarasota, available to book for events, farmers' markets and catering.

Having been voted the best lobster roll in the country twice, Harden takes pride in his products. His guests’ favorite roll is the Coastal roll, featuring hot buttered lobster on a toasted bun, followed by the Heat Wave roll, lobster finished with a spicy habanero and serrano pepper-infused butter. The Dirty Maynard, a cold lobster salad roll perfect for the Florida heat is also popular, along with the homemade lobster mac n cheese.

“It’s the perfect lobster roll,” says Harden, careful not to give away any of the secrets that make the product stand out, but eager to share it with hungry customers.

LobsterCraft, 28A S. Blvd. of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, 941-346-6325.

Pictured: A lobster roll from LobsterCraft brings New England taste to Florida. Photo Courtesy of LobsterCraft.

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