Lobster Is Making Its Way To Fast-Casual Menus

By Michelle Castillo, Social Media Coordinator and Brand Analyst

Well-known chef Marc Forgione opened a fishy fast-casual concept, Lobster Press at The Pennsy in New York City, on Jan. 11. Lobster has always been considered an ingredient that is found on fine-dining menus and associated with special occasions. However, Fargione isn’t letting that discourage him from bringing it with him to the fast-casual world.

The new concept is serving a hot lobster panini based off a popular Chili Lobster dish at his higher-end establishment, Restaurant Marc Forgione, in Tribeca. Forgione partnered with lobster purveyor, Homarus, so his menu at the Lobster Press includes fresh tail, knuckle and claw meat sandwiched in between buttered Grandaisy Ciabatta bread. The meal is paired with a side of Chili Lobster dipping sauce for dunking, similar to that of a French press.

"Even though we're using a high-priced item like lobster, we've figured out a fun and creative way to use the whole animal, in soups, the sauce, the sandwich, so that the price of our sandwich is competitive with other vendors in the Pennsy," said Forgione, who plans to expand downtown later this year. "It's a perfect example of tail to claw cooking. And so far it's been very well received."

Other menu items that will be offered are a Coconut Lobster Bisque; Da Dip (grilled cheese with a side of lobster sauce dip), Lobster Press with or without cheese, The Chance, which is the special sandwich of the day that started off as a House-Cured Corned Beef with Jarlsberg, red sauerkraut, Russian dressing on rye; Chili Lobster Salad with arugula, local vegetables, wonder grain sorghum (gluten-free) and The Press Box, which is a Lobster Press with pickled veggies and kettle chips. Drinks items will include fresh pressed juices, seasonal lemonade and seasonal iced tea.  

The lobster is handpicked every morning from the coast of Maine. Prices will fluctuate at market price and right now the Lobster Press is $17 and the The Press Box is $21. According to Technomic's MenuMonitor database, lobster has increased 2.7 percent at fast-casual restaurants in a year-over-year comparison with an average price of $14.46. Lobster is starting to build its home in the fast-casual world and consumers seem to be more than happy to welcome it. Read More