A new food truck concept is on a roll – literally - and rolling into Wilmington this week.
Lobster Dogs had its premiere at Flying Machine Brewing Co. on Sunday and has scheduled stops at other New Hanover County locations through this coming Sunday. A new schedule will post on the local franchise’s website each Monday morning, according to franchisee John Suttle.
“We’re going around anywhere from Shallotte to Surf City right now, and we have requests to come up to Jacksonville,” Suttle said Monday, adding that he hopes to expand Lobster Dogs’ territory to the entire Southeastern North Carolina region.
As its name suggests, Lobster Dogs’ menu features lobster rolls, but it offers crab rolls and shrimp rolls as well. It also serves whole avocados stuffed with seafood or buffalo chicken.
“A couple of other trucks [in the area] serve lobster rolls, but the rest of our menu is completely different from theirs,” Suttle said. “We use fresh Maine lobster, Alaskan snow crab, and we try to use North Carolina shrimp when it’s available.”
Lobster Dogs was launched in Charlotte about six years ago by Chris Yelton, who became a fan of lobster rolls when he and his wife visited New York City. Soon after bringing the popular Northeastern dish to his Charlotte sports bar, he realized its food truck potential. He now operates trucks in Winston-Salem and Greensboro as well as in Charlotte and has expanded the brand through franchising to Atlanta, upstate South Carolina, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Raleigh, as well as Suttle’s two markets.
The Wilmington roll-out isn’t Suttle’s first. He also owns the Lobster Dogs franchise for the Asheville area. Managing the Wilmington operation will be his stepson, Austin Herndon, and Herndon’s girlfriend, Amanda Chason.
Suttle sees “tremendous” growth potential for his food truck concept. Not only is there demand from breweries and distilleries for drive-up food purveyors, but he is working with HOAs for residential communities.
“We can set up in people’s driveways to serve the neighborhood,” he said.
There’s also a food truck’s advantage of serving COVID-era patrons in an outdoor setting where social distancing is easy. Suttle says his operators have stepped up their health protocols as well.
“Our employees are gloved and masked up. And we’ve altered our cleaning schedule, cleaning [the truck’s food preparation areas] every 30 minutes with Clorox disinfecting wipes. We have bottles of hand sanitizer set up,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can on that end so we’ve kept our wheels rolling and not had to worry about being shut down.”
From Wednesday to Sunday of this week, Lobster Dogs will visit Amberleigh Shores Apartments, End of Days Distillery, NHRMC offices in Leland, The Sour Barn, Mad Mole Brewing, New Anthem Beer Project and the Alcove Beer Garden. Schedule details are on the website
. The truck is also available for private parties and special events, Suttle said.
Wilmington’s Lobster Dogs food truck is booked through January and into February, according to Suttle, who said he hopes to add a second truck here in early summer.