Luke's Lobster Gets Warm Welcome Downtown
By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The newest outpost of Luke's Lobster won resounding support from Community Board 1's Financial District Committee Wednesday night.
The committee members unanimously approved the popular eatery's beer-and-wine license, and then they began discussing their favorite dish, ultimately agreeing that it's a close contest between the hearty clam chowder and the spice-dusted lobster rolls.
Ben Conniff, vice president of Luke's Lobster, told the board members that he is just as excited as they are that Luke's is opening a new location at 26 S. William St. this May.
"We already feel like a part of the neighborhood," Conniff said. "We do a lot of big lunch deliveries down here, and we've been looking at spaces here for a long time."
The 400-square-foot dining area will have 18 seats and will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. If the State Liquor Authority follows the community board's recommendation and grants a license, the seafood eatery will also serve Maine microbrews, Conniff said.
Luke Holden started Luke's Lobster in the East Village in 2009, dishing up fresh shrimp, lobster and crab from his father's seafood company in Maine. The burgeoning chain has since added locations on the Upper East Side and Upper West Side and made appearances last year at the Hester Street Fair and New Amsterdam Market.
Also Wednesday night, the Financial District Committee approved a liquor license for Blue Planet Grill, an organic restaurant on the way to 120 Greenwich Street, just south of the World Trade Center site.
The restaurant focuses on high-end, natural foods, including beef from local, hormone-free cows and meat from chickens that wandered the Amish countryside. A preliminary menu includes a $15 rib-eye steak sandwich with sautéed onions and wild mushrooms in a Cabernet reduction and a $9 Mediterranean pizza with goat cheese and olives.
The Blue Planet Grill will also offer Gimme! Coffee, an Ithaca-based brand that focuses on sustainable, fair-trade beans.
The owners haven't set an opening date yet for the 1,900-square-foot, 70-seat space.
The Financial District Committee also supported a liquor license for Toloache Taqueria, which opened late last year at 83 Maiden Ln. The 28-seat Mexican restaurant by Julian Medina features fresh tacos and burritos with tasty toppings like chipotle cabbage slaw and tamarind hearts of palm.