Red Hook Lobster Pound was born at the kitchen table in the midst of the recession by Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich in 2008. While sitting at their dining table in Red Hook, Brooklyn devouring fresh lobsters that they had just brought back from a friend in Portland, Ralph proposed a crazy idea to his wife Susan. He suggested they open a lobster pound in an empty storefront in the building that they owned but were unable to develop due to the contracting credit markets. Red Hook was a natural location for a fish business; it was on the water and like the lobstering communities of Maine, it was inhabited by fiercely independent do-it-yourself’ers. As it is cut off from most of Brooklyn by the BQE, it has developed a supportive community just like the Maine lobstering community. Both Susan and Ralph had the backgrounds to make this idea work too. Susan’s grandfather was raised in Bar Harbor in an orthodox Jewish Family that ran a rooming house with a furniture store. With the growth of the Bath Iron Works during World War II, her family then moved to Bath to open a men’s clothing shop; the kind of store that would sell work clothes, boy scout uniforms, wedding suits and funeral attire. Not only did Ralph possess experience from the docks of South Boston, his native city, he was also a natural builder and explorer, a man who could delve into any new area and quickly become an expert.
Ralph and Susan opened the Red Hook Lobster Pound six months later in April of 2009 and it quickly became the food success of the year. Since we have relationships with the best lobstermen in Maine and all our lobsters are hand picked to insure the highest quality, people were traveling hundreds of miles to Red Hook to sample the freshest lobster in NYC. Susan oversees the lobster roll extravaganza and Ralph is the Chief Relationship Officer and Captain of our ship. He spends his days making sure that we obtain the finest crustacean available.
Not only was the Red Hook Lobster Pound one of the first food vendors at the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, we can also be found at Madison Square Eats and Broadway Bites along with shops in Montauk and Manhattan (March 2014). Red Hook Lobster is also part of Brooklyn Taste at the Barclays Center! With all this success we asked “Why not lobster on wheels?” and launched our first Lobster Truck (or lobby roll #1) in Washington, DC in late August 2010. The DC lobster truck was an immediate sensation garnering raves and cult-like followers. It is a flash-mob machine truly delivering the “Best Crustacean in the Nation.” We then launched Lobby Roll #2 for DC and Lobby Roll #3 (or Big Red) in NYC in 2011. Big Red was crowned the “Best Food Truck in America” by the Daily Meal in June 2013, which rated 400 food trucks nationwide.
Red Hook Lobster Pound suffered debilitating damage from Hurricane Sandy as did the entire Red Hook neighborhood. After closing for four months, the lobster pound roared back and rebuilt to better sustain itself in its low lying environment, serving its first post-Sandy lobster roll on March 1, 2013 to the Mayor.