As summer gets underway, many folks are longing for a trip to the beach and a taste of some seafood.
The beach might have to wait, but another food truck is coming to town and bringing the seafood with it.
The Mooresville-based Lobster Dogs Food Truck will be in downtown Morganton on Wednesday. Setting up shop on the Historic Burke County Courthouse Square, the vendor will be onsite from 4-9 p.m.
“Lobster Dogs Food Truck is excited to be making our first appearance in downtown Morganton at the courthouse square, serving up the best lobster rolls and stuffed avocados in the Carolinas,” a post on the vendor’s Facebook page reads. “Come check us out.”
For those who do give Lobster Dogs a try, the menu on the vendor’s website consists of a selection of seafood “dogs” and stuffed avocados.
All seafood dogs are served in a split-top hot dog-style bun with a swipe of mayonnaise and a pile of chilled lobster, crab or shrimp topped with warm lemon butter and special seasonings and served with potato chips. The lobster roll costs $16, the crab roll is $14 and the shrimp roll totals $11.
As for the stuffed avocados, one variety is the Free Bird, a fresh whole avocado stuffed with grilled and chilled spicy Buffalo chicken topped with pico de gallo, mixed cheese, Hickory-smoked bacon bits and drizzled with house-made ranch dressing for $11.
The regular stuffed avocado costs $10 and is topped with a black bean and corn salsa and pico de gallo, drizzled with chimichurri and chipotle ranch. Lobster can be added for $5, crab for $4 or shrimp for $3.
At a price of $12, the seared tuna avocado is topped with citrus-seared tuna, queso fresco and pico de gallo and drizzled with sesame ginger sauce.
Mooresville’s Chris Yelton, who owns Lobster Dogs and multiple locations of a restaurant called Sports Page Food and Spirits, told The Winston-Salem Journal earlier this year that the idea for his food truck came after he discovered why business was slow at one of his restaurants one night.
“It was a Friday night, and I asked one of the waitresses why she thought we were so slow and she said there was a food truck rally in town,” Yelton told The Winston-Salem Journal.
Yelton went down the street to check out the truck rally and was blown away by what has become a common sight — the hundreds to thousands of people who will flock to any gathering of a handful or more of food trucks.
After noticing how many were there, the other thing that struck Yelton was how similar all the food was.
“It was all the same kinds of trucks — barbecue, tacos, burgers,” he said. “My wife and I had just come back from vacation up north and been introduced to lobster rolls, and I fell in love with them,” he said.
That’s when the idea hit him to start his own food truck with lobster rolls. He calls them dogs, mainly because of the bun, but other than that they are similar to the New England specialty.
Yelton calls his truck a “premium” food truck because it uses expensive seafood. “People told me I was crazy to do seafood on a truck and charge $15 for a lobster roll,” he said.
But customers seem to like it. The truck sold out early on its first forays into Winston-Salem, at Juggheads Growlers and Pints and Wise Man Brewing Co. Some people waited an hour in line in the cold.
His lobster rolls feature claw and knuckle lobster meat. He said he buys Maine lobster meat already cooked but fresh, never frozen.
“Some lobster rolls have a lot of mayonnaise, and it’s like chicken salad — mine aren’t like that,” Yelton said. “I want you to taste the lobster.”
The News Herald’s Justin Epley and The Winston-Salem Journal’s Michael Hastings contributed to this report.