It’s hard to get a real lobster roll around here.
Thanks to Deb Keller, however, it will be much easier to find one come Saturday.
That’s when she’ll launch her new food truck, Los Angeles-based franchise Cousins Maine Lobster, and she’ll start serving up all things lobster, including those real rolls of fresh meat and mayo served on a split-top buttered-and-toasted bun.
The meat on the truck will come fresh from Maine. It’s mostly harvested from the rocky-bottom, cold-water coasts of places such as Stonington.
The lobsters are processed and cooked in the company’s Maine facility, then shipped to the cold-storage units of Cousins’ 14 food trucks around the country, including Keller’s in Raleigh, said Cousins corporate co-owner Jim Tselikis. The trucks’ owners then prepare the menu items as they’re ordered.
“That way we can really focus on quality control,” he said. “When it comes to the trucks, it’s going to be the same every time. ... It’s up to Deb and her crew to make sure the presentation on the truck is the same going out the window.”
Keller’s truck will serve two types of lobster rolls, one with chilled meat and mayo, and the other, called the Connecticut roll, with meat that’s been warmed in butter and lemon. Both are served on those New England-style buns that also comes from Maine.
The menu also includes tacos with lobster or shrimp, lobster quesadilla, lobster tater tots, lobster bisque, lobster ice cream and lobster tails, which are raw until they’re skewered and cooked in a fryer on the truck.
Items like pico de gallo and a cilantro-based sauce will be made on the truck using fresh ingredients.
Prices range from $5 for lobster ice cream to $10 for three shrimp tacos to $14 for either style of lobster roll.
Tselikis, 30, and his cousin Sabin Lomac, 34, debuted the first Cousins food truck in Los Angeles in 2012. That same year, the pair appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” getting a marketing boost and a $55,000 investment from shark Barbara Corcoran.
The company has since increased its fleet to what’s soon to be 14 trucks in 11 cities that include Atlanta, Las Vegas and Sacramento, Calif.
Keller, 53, a Wake Forest resident who’s been a stay-at-home mom for the past 22 years, is not starting small.
Her first stop in the truck will be at Saturday’s 35th annual Meet in the Street festival in Wake Forest, followed by Sunday’s Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo.
The 26-foot truck expects to serve about 300 pounds of lobster meat to about 250 to 500 people at the two events, Tselikis said. He hopes the truck will sell about 40 to 80 pounds of meat on an average day.
“The beauty is that there’s a quick ticket time,” he said of how long it takes to fill an order.
After this weekend, Keller and her food truck will be busy.
The truck, which is parked in Rolesville and serves the Triangle, is already booked through December, and she’s getting inquiries from people in Pinehurst.
“It kills me to say no,” Keller said. “I can’t do it, but I look at the calendar and try to find a way. But everybody I’ve been working with has been amazing.”
The Egg & I, a breakfast and lunch franchise, is opening a 3,550-square-foot restaurant at Crossroads Plaza in Cary.
The eatery will offer dishes such as omelets, French toast, pancakes, a variety of eggs Benedict, breakfast burritos, meats, oatmeal, salads and sandwiches.
The Egg & I, which will be the second in the Triangle and state, will be at 1104 Ledsome Lane, across from REI.
The remodeled Disney Store at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh is having a grand opening May 9 at 10 a.m.
The event will include characters Donald Duck and Daisy Duck from noon until 4 p.m., along with free gifts for the first 500 guests.