Maine natives Sabin Lomac, 35 and Jim Tselikis, 32 started Cousins Maine Lobster as a single food truck in Los Angeles in April of 2012, serving up authentic, sustainable lobster rolls. After an appearance on "Shark Tank" that netted the duo a $55,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran, Cousins took off. The business has seen exponential growth, and now has 20 trucks nation-wide and a fast-casual restaurant in Los Angeles. It anticipates 10 new trucks on the streets for 2017 and has plans for international expansion. Earlier in 2016, Cousins Maine Lobster reached $20 million in sales. Its two newest cities, Nashville and San Antonio, are seeing record-breaking crowds, and the brand is on track to serve over half a million customers in 2016.
It all started with a simple idea
My cousin Sabin left Maine for Southern California in 2006 to explore acting career. He loved his new home, but when I came to visit him in 2011, I could tell he felt nostalgic for Maine. We talked about growing up just outside of Portland. We reminisced about trips to the beach, jumping off docks behind ferries to ride the propulsion, and island hopping in Casco Bay during the summer. We eventually arrived at the topic of food and discussed the iconic staple of Maine – lobster. We agreed that the Maine lobster experience was an institution and California was missing out. Maine lobster was about cracking open a bright red lobster at a picnic table packed with family and friends, making a delicious mess, sharing and enjoying the bounty of the cold water you just swam in, caught by a family friend a few hours earlier. We knew there was an opportunity to bring this experience to the West Coast!