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Somewhere Beyond Sea... There's LobsterCraft for Lunch

Looking for the taste of the real thing? Two shoreline residents are serving up authentic lobster rolls in their Greenwich-based food truck, just the way they were when first created in Milford almost 100 years ago.

Customers line up at the LobsterCraft truck at 500 W. Putnam Ave., Greenwich. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
Customers line up at the LobsterCraft truck at 500 W. Putnam Ave., Greenwich. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
Whether there's a spring-like tease in mid-February or a blustery blast of Ol' Man Winter, you can sate your hunger pangs for a taste of summer in Greenwich.

LobsterCraft — a mobile truck that serves up authentic lobster rolls just the way they were when first created in Milford, CT in the 1920s — is back in town. On Thursdays, you can find the most affable Capt. Mike Harden and his lifelong friend Trond Fletcher manning the truck in the parking lot of the 500 W. Putnam Ave. office complex. And most Fridays, they're parked outside the Greenwich Library at 101 W. Putnam Ave.

It was obvious during a visit last week, the team has legions of aficionados of all things lobster didn't mind the wait for succulent lobster meat piled into buttered, toasted rolls, accompanied by thick, crunchy potato chips and a side of spicy cole slaw that Harden makes with a kick thanks to a "secret ingredient."  

Heather Andreoli, who works across the street in the Valley Drive office complex, said she's a regular customer because "the food's excellent. It's a taste of summer." As she waited for 'The Coastal,' a roll filled with buttered lobster and a pinch of an "herb and spice blend' Fletcher and Harden developed, Andreoli added, "This is honestly the best lobster roll I've ever had."

The 'Coastal' is one of several options which also include a California roll which includes avocado, a LBLT: lobster, bacon, lettuce and tomato, and surf and turf: slices of marinated, grilled flank steak atop the Coastal.  

"The Coastal is our most popular. You'll fall in love with our lobster and work your way down the list," says Fletcher, who's a Trumbull resident. He prefers doing the cooking while Harden greets customers and processes the orders.

Other options include Fletcher's homemade lobster bisque, fried shrimp, and lobster mac-and-cheese. While growing up in Darien, Fletcher learned how to cook from his father, whose family formerly owned the Darien Diner. Fletcher makes the creamy mac-and-cheese daily, using a combination of three cheeses that's infused with a smokiness from the addition of diced kielbasa from Ox Hollow Farm in Roxbury.

Some of the lobster comes from Harden's lobster traps in Long Island Sound. The Chappaqua, NY native now lives in South Norwalk where he keeps his lobster boat, the Jennifer Lynn. The rolls are custom-baked by the Mauro Bakery in Norwalk and Fletcher said they're working on developing a gluten-free rolls for customers with dietary restrictions. 

This season marks the third year that Harden and Fletcher are manning the LobsterCraft truck that's emblazoned with lobsters painted on the sides. "We do a lot of farmer's markets (in Stamford, New Canaan and Rowayton). We're booked for a lot of parties, wedding receptions," Fletcher said.

Last year, they sold 22,000 lobster rolls. This year they hope to sell even more because "We'll be getting a second truck," Fletcher said.

The popularity and quality of their food is evidenced by several awards including the Greenwich Magazine's 2013 Best of the Gold award for best lobster truck; the Number 1 food truck by the OmnomCT food blog and a third-place in the Connecticut Magazine Best Of awards.

In addition to area farmer's markets, you can find LobsterCraft at several Greenwich events including the Greenwich Town Party in May, the arts and crafts festivals at The Bruce Museum and the Adopt-a-Dog show. Last year, they also worked the Harbor Yard Beer Festival in Bridgeport. "That was insane. All day long, the line was 40, 50 yards long," Fletcher recalled.

To find out just where the Fletcher and Harden are, the men have a truck locator app on their website lobstercraft.com, which provides fans up-to-the-minute info on where the truck may be. 

"It's a lot of fun being out here," said Harden, who also handles their Twitter account.

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