UPPER WEST SIDE — Luke's Lobster rolls are a step closer to being served in the great outdoors.
The tiny 700-square-foot Upper West Side eatery won unanimous approval from Community Board 7 Monday night to open up a sidewalk cafe on Amsterdam Avenue and 80th Street, pending a greenlight by the city.
Founder Luke Holden and co-owner Ben Conniff have jumped through a lengthy process of getting city approval, securing the approval of agencies including the Landmarks Preservation Commission to the Department of Transportation. Now, Conniff said he's just waiting on the Department of Consumer Affairs for final approval.
"I would love to get the tables up by the end of the month, if not by the end of the summer," Conniff said.
Luke's Lobster fan Christine Tuomey brought her visiting family with her for a mid-afternoon snack of chips, a specialty Maine soda, a lobster roll and a pickle.
"Right now it would be great to eat outside," she said, adding that "most other places around her have outside eating."
"It's great. It's so delicious," she added.
Coniff said sidewalk seating goes well with the restaurant's seaside aesthetic. The restaurant is outfitted with buoys, netting and lobster traps to conjure the feel of the lobster's source, the Maine coastline.
Conniff said customers had noticed that surrounding restaurants, like McAleer's Pub, Momoya, Brother Jimmy's and Cafe Con Leche, all had outdoor seating and often asked why Luke's didn't have that option.
Conniff hopes the sight of fresh lobster rolls will lure more customers.
"There's nothing better than having lobster and a beer outside," he said. "Plus, the seating will make it easier to see the place."