Fans who’ve driven across town, only to wait in long lines for a taste of the Lobster Food Truck, are in luck. The Lobster Pitstop, a carryout storefront spinoff of metro Detroit’s popular food truck, opened Saturday, November 20, at 10405 Ford Road in Dearborn.
The business serves a variety of difficult-to-find-in-metro-Detroit lobster dishes such as hot and cold lobster rolls with garlic butter and fresh herbs, lobster mac ‘n cheese, lobster bisque soup with crackers, waffle fries with ketchup, and cheesy grits with sauteed shrimp, lobster, and fresh herbs.
Chef Nick Wilson, co-owner of the Lobster Food Truck and Pitstop, says the Pitstop will also feature items such as lobster grilled cheese and salmon, with a weekly rotating menu.
The Black-owned food truck co-owned by Nick Wilson and his aunt Kathryn Wilson has boomed in popularity since opening in 2018, mostly via word of mouth. The Lobster Food Truck sets up for drive-thru service in parking lots across metro Detroit. A weekly online calendar displays the locations, venues, and events where they will be stationed and there’s always a long line of automobiles of waiting customers.
Kathryn and her nephew grew up cooking together, before he worked in the restaurant industry in Atlanta and South Florida. The seafood business was her idea, and she thought it would be more efficient to start with a truck. Once they began to grow, they decided to expand by opening the Lobster Pitstop for more space to cook for commercial business, catering, and events.
During the early days of the pandemic, as events — the lifeblood of mobile restaurants — dried up, the owners reached out to partners in the business community for support.
“When COVID hit, nobody wanted us in their parking lots,” Nick says. “We ended up teaming with LA Fitness to park in their parking lots. They said, ‘As long as you make great food, we can take some of it,’ which was a win-win situation. We’ve been going to all of their locations.”
The restaurant now offers bookings for private events and games, has served Detroit’s sports teams, and this year the truck will be stationed in downtown Detroit for the tree lighting. Nick says his goal is to expand in metro Detroit and throughout the state.
In addition to its fresh lobster flown in from Maine, the Lobster Food Truck and Pitstop also prioritize fresh produce. Nick and Kathryn plan to open a community garden in their native Westside Detroit neighborhood to not only provide veggies to the community, but also to support their business. They’ve experimented with growing fresh herbs, and learned they have green thumbs for gardening and growing. “In a lot of areas in Detroit, there are no fresh products unless you go to Whole Foods,” Nick says. “There’s not a lot of local fresh products and if I can grow it every time that would be amazing.”
Kathryn says the urban garden will also give them the opportunity to give back to the community. “I believe that the next step in the evolution of our business is to have the ability to have some control over our produce,” she says. “To be able to grow it ourselves.”
Whether it’s in the food truck or at the storefront, Kathryn says the main goal of the business is to connect with the community. “My motto is, ‘We work hard, we laugh harder,’” she says. The Lobster Food Truck and Pitstop “is our way of being a part of the community. It’s not just about making money, it’s about establishing something and being a part of something bigger than ourselves.”