DENVER — The owner of a popular Lake Norman-area food truck that specializes in Maine-style seafood rolls is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Denver.
Lobster Dogs, which hit the road as a food truck in 2015, operate the restaurant at 1219 N.C. 16 Business N., the former home of Fat Fork BBQ.
Over the last year and a half, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the truck has expanded to more than 20 locations nationwide, owner Chris Yelton said.
“When COVID hit I thought I was in trouble,” Yelton added. “Restaurants were getting shut down, so I thought I made a mistake by franchising, but food trucks weren’t as restricted as restaurants, so business was pretty good.”
Yelton, the former owner of the now-shuttered Sports Page in Mooresville, opened the food truck as a side gig and ran it alongside the restaurant. As popularity grew, he opened more trucks, and now operates three in the Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas.
“I think the creativity in food trucks is really broad,” said Yelton. “It’s a fun atmosphere, and I think it’s a different variety of food that you don’t get in your normal sit-down restaurant.”
As a Denver resident with his wife, Beverly, a Denver native, Yelton said the support from customers who live in the area led him to choose eastern Lincoln County as the location for his first restaurant.
“When we come to Denver, the response is always really great,” said Yelton. “We feel like we’ve been in this area long enough to where people are really familiar with our brand, so it just makes sense.”
He added: “It’s just part of the next phase of my brand. There was always the vision to do the food trucks and franchising, and eventually being able to offer franchise brick-and-mortar restaurants as well.”
The restaurant will offer its signature chilled lobster, crab and shrimp rolls, topped with warm butter and seasonings; and avocados stuffed with black bean corn salsa, pico de gallo garnished with chimichurri and chipotle ranch.
As the food truck expands into a brick-and-mortar business, the menu will grow as well. Yelton plans to add hot dogs, a lobster grilled cheese, a shrimp burger and more to the lineup. Craft beer and wine will also be served at the restaurant’s 20-foot bar.
“We’ll have quite a few different offerings, but we’re still going to focus on our core,” Yelton said, adding that the interior of the eatery will reflect the appearance of a New England seafood hut. “We’re trying to make it feel like you’re sitting at a shack in Maine.”
The restaurant is scheduled to open in late November. For more information, visit lobsterdogsfoodtruck.com.