COLORADO SPRINGS — This Rebound Colorado story is an uplifting one for you about a business that was able to expand during the pandemic.
In landlocked Colorado, it’s hard to get a taste of back east, but a local “Lobstah Trap” is trying to bring a piece of comfort to locals during tough times.
Chef Bob’s Lobstah Trap food truck has been in Colorado Springs for three years whipping up authentic east coast eats.
“The other night we had a customer tear up. It reminded her of home, eating a lobster roll, the power of food is amazing,” Executive Chef and food truck manager Nathanial Tims said.
“It’s a real treat to be able to have that taste of Maine and the East Coast when you’re in landlocked Colorado,” customer Meegan Flewelling said.
Like other food trucks in town, their business went up during the pandemic. People could social distance, eat outside, and homeowner associations were bringing food trucks into neighborhoods to get folks some variety during the stay-at-home orders.
“We went into neighborhoods and people were coming off the front porch,” owner and chef Bob Derian said.
Things were so good, Derian was able to open the permanent Lobstah Trap at Barnes and Powers. It’s been in the works for about a year.
“So many people that come to the truck are from New England or visit and love the food. They say, 'Do you have fried clams?' No. 'Steamers?' No. 'Whole lobsters?' No,” Derian said.
So with the brick and mortar restaurant, they could expand the menu. He flies in fresh seafood several times a week. He gets Canadian Hardshell lobsters because they handle the altitude better.
“Scallops are from New Bedford, Mass. Clams from Ipswitch, Mass. Haddock from the East. Lobster from Canada,” Derian said.
Chef Bob is from Boston and has been in the food business his whole life. Four years ago while in Atlanta, he wanted to make the move to Colorado to be closer to his kids and grandkids and felt called to do this.
“I had something unique. Lobster rolls. I do them the authentic way,” he said.
The permanent restaurant was supposed to open in May but they waited because of COVID.
“I got PPP for payroll, that helped with the truck. EIDL got us $6,000 so that helped too,” he said.
Now that they’ve opened for business with a staff of 30 and have a seaport village vibe. Folks even taking pics as if they’re on vacation, which most haven’t been able to do in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s gorgeous, makes me want to go to Maine or Boston,” customer Paul Lastrella said,” We go to Maine usually once a year, except this year.”
The shop has lobster traps, buoys from Cape Cod, seagulls eyeing your food, and a mural of the Portland Head Light House which especially hit home with one older customer, “She had tears in her eyes. I said, 'What’s the matter?' She said, 'My brother and I used to play in that lighthouse when we were kids and it brought back great memories,'” Derian said.
They’ve been very busy since opening with word of mouth and longtime food truck customers stopping by. The fresh seafood can be pricey but Derian said the quality and good friendly service are what make a difference. He said he’s blessed to be doing so well during the pandemic and doesn’t take it for granted.
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