Civic Center Eats kicked off earlier than ever this year, with the first food truck rally of the year scheduled for May 5. But Mother Nature has had other plans for Denver and rain has washed out several of the bi-weekly events, including Tuesday's. But weather permitting, the Civic Center Park lunch brigade will be back in full swing — and one new food truck, Lobster Bliss — will be making its debut on Tuesday, May 26.
Lobster Bliss is the brainchild of Rich Manzo and Jeff Reebie, who aren't just cooking up lobsters, they've actually started their own wholesale fish company, which means they're also sourcing lobster — and other East Coast specialties — from sustainable fisheries with whom they have direct contact.
The idea started when Reebie was on vacation in New Hampshire and had some of the best seafood of his life in the local lobster shacks there. "I thought 'It's a shame that we can't get this good product back in Colorado,'" he explains.
Manzo and Reebie contacted a marine biologist who designs state-of-the art holding tanks that replicate ocean conditions for live lobsters. Unlike those murky tanks at grocery stores and even at many seafood restaurants and fish counters, the setup they purchased is meant to help the lobsters thrive, not just hold them until they're sold.
Lobster rolls are the primary focus on the menu that also includes chowders, bisques, clam and scallop rolls, and other weekly specials based on which products are freshest. "We're offering outstanding sustainable seafood," Manzo notes. So outstanding in fact, that they already count Guard and Grace and Mercantile Dining & Provisions among their wholesale customers.
For those seeking great street food and for lobster-roll purists, Lobster Bliss offers two versions of the classic New England sandwich: a cold lobster roll made with lemon and garlic aioli will satisfy Boston natives, while a hot version tossed in butter with lemon and herbs is what the two refer to as "Connecticut-style."
At $16 — including a side of slaw — the lobster rolls aren't cheap, but Manzo notes that a boring burger and fries can run you almost as much. And he points out that the Lobster Bliss rolls are definite two-handers. The price is surprisingly competitive with East Coast restaurants, where the lobster is more readily available.
Look for Lobster Bliss every Tuesday at Civic Center Eats, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They'll also be hitting the craft brewery circuit and will appear at a few special events throughout the summer, with plans to serve the streets of Denver three or four nights a week.
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