Cousins share their love for lobster with Neptune Beach community

Cousins Maine Lobster opens up brick-and-mortar restaurant on Atlantic Boulevard

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. - Seafood lovers in the Jacksonville area now have the best of both worlds, with lobsters from Maine and shrimp from Mayport. 

Two cousins' love for lobster runs deep, and they're sharing that love with the Neptune Beach community. 

Cousins Maine Lobsters began when two cousins, Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, started a food truck. They grew the business and built it into a national franchise, opening up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Neptune Beach last weekend. 

The excitement over the grand opening was so popular that the restaurant actually had to shut down briefly because they ran out of lobsters.

"Wow is right. That's all I can say. Wow," said Julianne Lilly, owner of the Cousins Maine Lobster in Neptune Beach. "I never expected it."

An entire weeks' worth of lobsters was sold in one day. 

"I had no idea," Lilly told News4Jax. "I mean, they were lined up at noon to open at 5 p.m. and it didn't stop." 

By the end of the weekend, Lilly said, they were scrambling.

"We made a decision on Sunday evening to close for Monday because we had the extreme enthusiastic turnout, that we would regroup and reorder, and ensure that it doesn't happen again," Lilly said.

From the lobster rolls to the lobster bisque and clam chowder, customers who waited in line said it was worth the wait.

"I mean, they have great food," said a customer named Noriko.

"Oh it's delicious," customer Lauren Chase said.  

"There aren't many places where you can get good lobster in this area," Rick Robinson said.

"I just got back from Maine and it tastes exactly the same," Jackson Chase said. 

Lilly said the restaurant's success is a dream come true -- with people driving 50 to 100 miles for a lobster roll. 

The restaurant on Atlantic Boulevard, just east of Mayport Road, doesn't take any reservations, but the line moves pretty quickly.

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