The possessive in the name of the forthcoming Luke’s Lobster (134 N. La Salle St., Loop, no phone yet) applies more literally than you might think. The company buys from the independent lobstermen who pull the seafood out of the ocean off Maine, and then steams it locally in a convection steamer to ship to the Luke’s Lobsters in New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, so by the time it leaves the dock, it really is Luke’s lobster. “It gets down there much quicker,” says Ben Conniff, a cofounder along with the eponymous Luke, whose last name is Holden. “There are no distributors or wholesalers between us and the source.”
The restaurant’s core business lies in lobster rolls ($15), crab rolls ($13), and shrimp rolls ($8), constructed from chilled seafood, some lemon butter and seasoning, a little mayonnaise, a Country Kitchen split-top bun, and that’s it. “The bun is really important for getting the right sandwich composition,” Conniff says, adding that they also offer New England–style clam chowder and poppy-seed vinaigrette slaw.
The smallish space will seat 12 to 20 at tables built from wood salvaged from Maine. With the Loop location, the owners expect a big takeout business. A few details need to be worked out before the late-May opening, but they’ve got the Maine idea.