After Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac emerged from ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2012 with a $55,000 investment in their business, Cousins Maine Lobster, they opened 25 lobster-themed food trucks around the country. But they’ve never parked one of them in Maine.
That’s like not serving hot dogs at the ballpark.
All that is about to change. Cousins Maine Lobster will fire up its first food truck in Maine sometime in May. Tselikis said it will wander around southern Maine, probably from Kennebunkport up to the Freeport area, and be available for catering and weekend events.
Tselikis said he and Lomac, his cousin, started their business in California because it was a market that didn’t have access to affordable lobster meat, and the food truck industry there was well established and thriving, “which is how we’ve picked some of our other markets as well throughout the country.”
The timing is right to bring the idea back home.
“Now there’s a little bit more of a food truck scene in Portland and southern Maine,” he said.
They’ve also had requests from customers who like their food and are puzzled why they can’t get it in Maine when they vacation here, Tselikis said.
The cousins also own a restaurant in West Hollywood, California.
Tselikis and Lomac, who are from Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough, respectively, return to Maine every other month or so to visit family or to do business. (Their lobster is sourced from the Gulf of Maine.)
Their food trucks serve two kinds of lobster rolls: warm lobster served with butter (also known as Connecticut style) and cold with mayonnaise (Maine style). They also serve 4-5-ounce lobster tails in the shell, lobster tacos, lobster quesadillas, shrimp tacos, clam chowder and lobster bisque. Tselikis said the Maine food truck will serve the company’s two newest items as well – lobster grilled cheese and “lobster tots.” Lobster tots are tater tots served with lobster meat on top, a little warm butter, pico de gallo and cilantro lime sauce.
“People call that their food crack here,” Tselikis said.
The cousins still stay in regular touch with their “Shark Tank” investor, real estate guru Barbara Corcoran, who received 15 percent of the company for her $55,000 investment. Tselikis said they talk every other week by Skype or phone, and their relationship has gone from dealing with details, like designing marketing brochures, to larger discussions about the big picture of the business – for example, what kind of infrastructure they’ll need as the business grows.
Mainers can follow the new food truck through Twitter or Instagram (@cmlobster), Facebook, the website cousinsmainelobster.com, or the Cousins Maine Lobster app.
Tselikis said while they don’t envision having a dozen food trucks in Maine, they have high hopes for this first venture.
“I don’t know what it will turn into,” he said, “but we hope this unit, at least, will be very successful.”
Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: