On a roll

A New Lobster Roll Business Is Coming to St. Armands Circle

Connecticut-based LobsterCraft will open its first Florida location in Sarasota later this month.

By Chloé Cuyler April 7, 2022

LobsterCraft's "Coastal" lobster roll.

Featured on Flavored Nation as the best Connecticut-style hot buttered lobster roll in the country and named Connecticut's best food truck by Eat This, Not That!LobsterCraft is now coming to Sarasota. The company's first Florida location will open on St. Armands Circle later this month.

William “Captain Mike” Harden.

The business was founded by William “Captain Mike” Harden 10 years ago. Since its start as a humble food truck, LobsterCraft has blossomed into a small, multi-state chain with three locations in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.

Harden says St. Armands stood out as a destination for the restaurant from the start. “St. Armands marches to the beat of its own drum,” he says. “It has its own vibe going on out there.”

The lobster roll was created in 1937 in Connecticut. While the sandwich traditionally consists of only three ingredients, as Harden says, “You can screw it up nine different ways.”

So what does Harden think makes the perfect lobster roll?

“There's a couple of things that I want to say to that, the first being that it's none of your damn business, because I don't want my competition to know what I think the perfect roll is,” he jokes. “But the truth is, it's all about the meat. We don't use tails in our rolls. We only use the knuckles and the claws. They provide the sweetest and softest meat.”

Lobster meat.

LobsterCraft’s menu features six hot lobster roll options. The fan favorite is, of course, the "Coastal." This is the restaurant’s take on the traditional lobster roll—fresh Atlantic lobster piled high on a toasted, golden-brown bun and sprinkled with something called “Captain’s Pinch,” a seasoning so top-secret that not even Harden knows the recipe.

“It's a custom blend of 11 different spices and is something we use on a lot of our products as a flavor profile," says Harden. "It's a spice that we developed and own. Nobody's got the recipe for this. I put in five ingredients, and I mix it up. Then I give the bowl to my wife and she goes into another room and puts the other six ingredients in. Neither of us know what the other is putting in, but the flavor is that same every time. If someone ever tries to kidnap and torture me for the recipe, I won’t be able to tell them, because I only know half of it.”

LobsterCraft's "California" roll (left) and "LBLT."

The other five lobster rolls begin with the same base as the "Coastal," but then branch off in different directions. The "Heatwave" accomplishes this through the use of serrano- and habanero-infused butter, which provides a kick that lingers in the back of the throat, but doesn't overpower.

Want a taste of the west coast? Go with the "California." This roll swaps butter for a wasabi-incorporated soy sauce and is topped with cucumber and avocado slices. Other menu items include lobster macaroni and cheese and lobster grilled cheese.

LobsterCraft will open later this month at 28A S. Boulevard of the Presidents, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. For more information, visit the restaurant's website or follow LobsterCraft on Facebook

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