My Top Chef Moment #4: Luke Holden Left Wall Street for His Luscious Lobster Rolls

Mama Cho is Gonna Have a Heart Attack After She Reads This

This is Luke Holden. When he graduated with a finance/management degree from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in 2007, he naturally went on to become an investment banker at Cohen & Steers Capital Advisors. Having spent two years already as an intern at UBS, he was on path to racking in the dolla dolla bills.

Two and a half years later, he made the brave decision to leave his job and take a 75% salary cut so that he could open up his first lobster roll restaurant in East Village. According to Luke, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Luckily, he found his restaurant partner, Ben Conniff on Craigslist. Ben had no experience in the restaurant industry, BUT he was a food lover and a writer for Playboy at the time.

In 2009, Tiger Mom would have slapped the shit out of him for leaving such a lucrative position. Fortunately, it was a great decision after all. Luke’s lobster rolls are absolutely delicious and has branched out to six other locations (+ a sexy food truck named Nauti).

The Tiger Mom Approval Rating has probably gone from “not my son” to “just don’t come home during the holiday season.”

Luscious, Luscious Lobster Rolls

I had my first Luke’s Lobster Roll last week. It was so succulent, so tender that I experienced a tremendous level of sadness once I finished my last few bites. Large knuckle and claw meat doused with lemon butter on a split-top bun make my mouth so happy. They use around three lobsters to fill just one lobster roll. It’s actually quite a mouthful.

At many New York seafood restaurants, the gourmet lobster rolls can cost around $25 and be heavy-mayonnaise based. At Luke’s, the goods directly come down from his father’s seafood company in Maine guaranteeing top-notch quality. My favorite part about Luke’s is that there are only small traces of mayonnaise which allows the taste of the claws to shine. It’s the complete opposite of a really bad tuna sandwich. 

NYU Stern Alum Aziz Ansari Can Afford Multiple Lobster Rolls

I would normally need about three of these babies to become satisfied, but the lobster rolls are fifteen dollars each. Either I’m having ramen for the next five days or I’m bitterly ordering just one. For now, I’m counting down the days until my next big paycheck.

P.S. Luke Holden recently opened a Luke’s Lobster in Bethesda, Maryland. I’m definitely looking forward to going home now!


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