There’s no real reason to discuss most national food days. A delicious exception? There is much to share about Ford’s Fish Shack and its status in the world of crustaceans. For one, National Lobster Day, which takes place on Sept. 25, will mean Lobsterpalooza, which will include special deals on lobster dishes all week long.
September is extra special to Ford’s Fish Shack this year because the month marks the business’ 10th anniversary. In that decade, Ford’s has shucked 450,000 pounds of fresh Maine lobster meat and served 100,000 whole lobsters to guests. But the pandemic meant a new chapter for chef-owner Tony Stafford in the world of lobster. This May, before Virginia entered phase one of reopening, the floundering business needed a lobster-shaped shot in the arm. Stafford found it by using his connections in Portland, Maine to help bring lobsters to customers’ homes.
The result is orderfreshmainelobsters.com, a company which allows seafood fans to have lobster delivered to their doorstep anywhere in the United States. “There are several companies out there that do this,” admits Stafford. “We felt like we could do it just as good if not better.” Part of what’s better than other companies is kits to make Ford’s famous lobster rolls. The kits come with wild-caught Maine lobster, New England-style split-top rolls and a spice kit to help customers replicate the Ford’s dish at home. Sizes range from kits that make six lobster rolls to kits that contain enough ingredients for 24 of them. Other options on the website besides the live lobsters include lobster tails and lobster meat that’s already been removed from the shell.
“July was our best month we did over 1,000 pounds of lobsters. We just keep growing,” says Stafford. That growth is likely to continue even as the holidays approach. Stafford reasons that many people don’t like turkey and might prefer to celebrate with lobster. Whenever they decide to order, they’ll be able to use recipes from Stafford that range from lobster eggs Benedict to lobster banh mi sandwiches.
What else does the future hold for the entrepreneur? Stafford is working on building connections with Maryland fishermen who might be able to make live blue crab part of the business, too. He’ll also be adding Maine-style whoopie pies to the website. “It’s helped us survive,” says Stafford. “It’s been something that kept us motivated when the restaurant business has been challenging.”
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