Cousins Maine Lobster, a food truck delivering fresh lobster from Maine to the streets of Los Angeles via overnight UPS, is opening its first brick-and-mortar shop in the heart of West Hollywood.
The company first gained local and national prominence as two likeable, hungry guppy cousins pled their case on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” securing a deal back in 2012.
On the eve of the July 2 store opening, select VIPs, friends, and family filled the Santa Monica Boulevard location, neighboring the Starbucks and Trader Joes in “boys’ town.” They will be serving up lobster rolls ($15), lobster tacos, lobster BLT’s, and a very dry lobster martini. (It’s just lobster chunks in a glass, no booze.)
Back in October 2012, cousins Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis closed a deal with “Shark” Barbara Corcoran on the ABC hit show. Corcoran invested $55,000 for a 15% stake in the business, giving it a valuation of $366,666.
She’s prominently displayed in a frame near the door, nestled between Tselikis and Lomac. Their wall of fame is impressive, even by L.A. standards, with pictures of the owners with Katie Couric and Kathie Lee, and clips of the media savvy duo on the “Today Show”.
“We could not have done this without Barbara. Barbara is fun,” cousin/owner Sabin Lomac told TheWrap amidst balloons, giant ribbon cutting scissors, and West Hollywood elected officials. “Sometimes we work so hard she says ‘Are you going to the gym?’, ‘Who are you dating?’, ‘Are you having fun?’, ‘Are you taking some time for yourself?'”.
At the time they closed their deal on the Mark Burnett and Clay Newbill produced “Tank”, they had one food truck in Los Angeles. Now, they have 14 trucks roaming 10 cities and franchisees across the country. The WeHo shop though, is the first brick-and-mortar under the Cousins Maine Lobster name.
Fellow “Shark” Daymond John, who passed on the opportunity to invest three years ago, stopped in on Monday night during a pre-pre opening.
“After we went on ‘Shark Tank’ we had so many opportunities,” Lomac said. “We were young. We didn’t know anything. We were like ‘Yeah, let’s do everything!’ Barbara really honed us in and said ‘stay focused, stay to the path.'”
Proceeds from Tuesday night’s pre-opening festivities and the public grand opening itself will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. Cousins is an official partner of the mentoring organization coast-to-coast with monthly events, and both cousin-owners are “big” brothers in the group. Several local “littles” got an advance munch on lobster rolls and fried clams at the opening party.
The Cousins will get a second helping of TV time. They will be featured on “Shark Tank” spinoff “Beyond the Tank” this September on ABC.
Cousins Maine Lobster is at 8593 Santa Monica Blvd.