Lobster Love

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Restaurants, Surf City

The family of Maine Lobstah Shack serves up authentic Maine lobster on the Carolina coast.

Once you put your hands on a lobster roll and your feet on the grounds of Maine Lobstah Shack in Surf City, your heart will be filled with love.

“From day one, we just wanted to love on people,” says co-owner Trevor Dostie. “From the start, we knew the food was going to work. We’re blessed to have the best. But the number one thing is, I want those people to feel more loved than any place they’ve ever been in their life.”

And it seems to be working. Dostie says according to online reviews, the biggest focal point of the restaurant is the service. Then, the second is the food.

Dostie runs and operates Maine Lobstah Shack with Jen Williamson, his former wife, and their daughter, Addi Dostie, along with Chris Williamson, Jen’s current husband. It’s a family dynamic and working relationship that is a rare gem in this world, and the family wouldn’t have it any other way. Addi’s younger siblings, Corbin and Eastyn Williamson, also pitch in over the summer.

Surf City NC Lobstah Shak

Lobstah Shack opened in July 2022, only three months after they met with the landlord of the vacant building, which looks identical to a fish shack in their native state of Maine. Addi spotted the shack while crossing the Surf City Bridge with her mom one afternoon.
“She looked over and said, ‘That’s the shack we should have,’” says Dostie. “We should start praying about it.”

Aside from family and food, faith is one of the cores of this group. A scripture they live by is Psalm 133:1: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Trevor and Jen remained great friends after their divorce, with Trevor moving here from Maine shortly after sending Addi off to Liberty University.

“Jen, being the visionary, has always said there should be a lobster shack down here,” says Dostie. “And I was so blessed to have connections back home in Maine.”

Dostie’s entrepreneurial gifts landed them a partnership with a lobster processor near Bar Harbor, Maine. The lobster meat is cooked in Maine and gets flown in fresh the next day.

“Many years ago we used to joke about the idea and then, when we did leave Addi at college her freshman year, that’s when it really became, okay, let’s do this.”

Lobstah Shak NC Surf City

Without any traditional restaurant experience, the two hit the ground running, with Jen playing around with logos after renting the shack and securing the processing partner, and Addi promoting the business on social media. Then their dream of a Maine lobster eatery came true.

“People from far and wide have heard about the Lobstah Shack already,” Dostie says. “It’s been unreal.”

And it’s all because of the “Lobstah Shack Love,” a saying that they take to heart and that you’ll see in many places throughout the Shack. The Maine Lobstah Shack menu offers a variety of lobster rolls (¹∕8, ¼, ½, or 2 pounds of fresh Maine lobster served chilled on a grilled New England roll with mayo hot-drawn Plugra butter on the side (all rolls served with chips, coleslaw and a pickle), lobster mac and cheese, lobster bisque, lobster grilled cheese and New England Clam Chowdah.

Choose to dine alfresco on one of their picnic tables that overlook the Surf City Bridge crossing over the bay for killer views of the sunset. Or order one of their take-home packs, which includes one pound of fresh Maine lobster meat for six rolls, six New England split tops rolls, Plugra butter, mayo, chips, pickles, a lemon, bisque, chowdah or lobster meat to go. For dessert, a must-order is their Maine-made whoopie pies: classic, peanut butter, chocolate chip and seasonal varieties. They also serve beer, including a Maine IPA, and wine.

Running the kitchen at Maine Lobstah Shack is chef Olivia Maddox, a native of Georgia, who was always told by her grandmother to cook with love.

Lobstah Shak Surf City

“She’s amazing,” Dostie says. “She just headed a fundraiser for Make-a-Wish of Eastern North Carolina held at UNCW, and we were chosen out of 12 restaurants to serve our lobster bisque to 400 people, and now they want us to be on the board of directors. We believe Olivia is the one that will be long-term and maybe run our franchise division, training new people.”

In addition to future plans to franchise Maine Lobstah Shack, Dostie says they also have purchased a trolley in Key West, the Harry S. Truman, that used to cart people around Truman Square, which they plan to convert into an indoor dining area for inclement weather.

“We’ve been trying to get the trolley mechanically sound,” Jen says. “We think it’s going to be something really cool and like a landmark for Surf City as well. … And, when it’s running and functional, someone can rent it for an event. We’re also looking to buy a food truck or trailer for catering because we’ve had a lot of people asking about that.”

Lobster Roll Lobstah Shak Surf City NC

The good food and love combine into an experience that folks want to return to again and again – both for dining and working.
“Besides the fact that I absolutely love the food, I just love working with my entire family in one place,” Addi says. “And the people we’ve brought onto the team have been so incredible and we’ve fostered so many close relationships with them … It’s just become a home away from home.”

“For us, we really believe with every ounce of our soul that God has had a hand from the second we stood on this property until now,” Dostie adds. “It’s unbelievable and the blessing is incredible.”

Want to go?
Maine Lobstah Shack
411 Roland Ave., Surf City
(910) 548-6789
Facebook: MaineLobstahShackSurfCityNC

Photos by Daria Amato

About the author

Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels

I am a full-time freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons. My folio boasts nearly 20 years of regionally and nationally published work, including profiles on such South Carolina celebs as Darius Rucker, Dustin Johnson, Vanna White, Nancy O'Dell, the late author Mickey Spillane and more. I've also taken home two Best of Show ADDY awards and numerous silver ADDYs for my copywriting work that ranges from travel/tourism and hospitality campaigns to food and apparel retail, telecommunications and more. I received my BA in English writing from the University of Pittsburgh and my MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. When I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm by the water on the beach or on the water on the boat with my family.