BOILING SPRING LAKES — Lovers of lobster — especially Joe Loves Lobster Rolls lovers — the beloved lobster rolling food truck plans to open up a restaurant in Boiling Spring Lakes.
Many foodies in the Cape Fear region are already rejoicing over the news Joe Loves Lobster Rolls plans to stay put in one place.
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“I get calls, texts, messages, all day long, asking me where I’m going to be,” Tony Herndon, Joe Loves Lobster Rolls’ owner, said.
Boiling Spring Lakes
The mobile man put his lobster rolls to the streets of Wilmington last May, and since, has developed a devoted following. On Thursday, Herndon announced on Joe Loves’ Facebook page his plans to open up a permanent shop.
Though he declined to disclose the exact location, Herndon said Joe Loves Lobster Rolls’ brick and mortar will take the place of a recently closed business in Boiling Spring Lakes.
It will be Herndon’s fifth Joe Loves Lobster Rolls brick and mortar store. But this time, Herndon is trying his hand at a franchise business. It will begin as a business partnership, Herndon said, and will provide the blueprint for future Joe Loves across the country.
“I’m a huge Ray Kroc freak. I love Ray Kroc,” Herndon said of the McDonald’s founder. “Not so much the food. But how he did what he did.”
If the Boiling Spring Lakes business goes smoothly, Herndon said he hopes to share his rolls in lobster-deprived communities. “My goal is to go into areas of the country — mainly the southeast — and open these up in areas that have no seafood. That have no lobster rolls.”
What and when to expect
Boiling Spring Lakes’ menu will be the same as Herndon’s previous brick and mortar stores. The permanent menu will include, of course, lobster rolls. Items will also include:
- Lobster grilled cheese, lobster tacos, lobster Reuben, lobster over mixed greens, lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese (only on Fridays), half-pound Reuben, true south Philly cheesesteak with an Amoroso roll, Ipswich belly clams, gator bites, and calamari.
Seasonal menu items, which may vary, will include soft shell crab and various game meat options, subject to change due to availability, including:
- Wagyu burger, elk burger, venison burger, wild boar barbecue, and ginger orange duck.
Herndon said he only got into game meats after domestic lobster prices ballooned. “Four years ago, the Chinese got a huge taste for lobster,” he said. “Why I don’t know. But Maine started shipping millions of pounds to them.”
Joe Loves Lobster Rolls is taking over the building the first of April and expects to open the business by mid-April. He said his daughter will help out with the permanent shop, while he continues to operate the food truck.
Hours at the store will be limited and geared toward the weekend. For now, Herndon is thinking he’ll have the shop open four days a week, and definitely keep hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He’s in the process of getting an alcohol permit and plans to host a grand opening party.
“It’s going to be my first franchise,” Herndon said. “My goal is to open this, then I’m on the road.”
Stay tuned with Joe Loves Lobster Rolls’ plans on its Facebook page, or follow Port City Dail’s Food Truck Tracker, updated every Monday in our Brews and Bites section.
Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at email@example.com