Back before my daily commute involved an almost two-hour trek out to the northwest 'burbs, I spent seven years of my life working in the Loop (and as much as I love my current job, I have to say that I sure do miss that quick train ride downtown!). While my fellow Loop colleagues and I always enjoyed the summertime arrival of food trucks, farmers markets, and festivals, we spent most of the year lamenting the lack of casual, but still high quality grab-n-go lunch spots in the area. It was absolutely saturated with fast food and fine dining, but if you weren't looking to grab a greasy burger or to plop down $50 for lunch, you were usually SOL.
Of course, now that I don't work in the Loop anymore, a few fantastic new places have suddenly popped up in that area - and I have to say that I totally jealous! Why did they wait so long?! The newest spot to join the Loop is Maine-based seafood shack (well, as shack-like as you can get in the middle of Chicago!), Luke's Lobster. The east coast fast-casual seafood restaurant opened its first Midwestern and tenth overall location this past May and has been garnering rave reviews for their simple and flavorful selection lobster, shrimp, and crab. Being sworn lobster roll-lovers and former frustrated Loop lunchers, Ashley and I just had to scuttle over to the new hot spot to see if it really does live up to the hype.
The small storefront's design is simple and meant to evoke a New England seafood shack with its barnwood lines, salvaged buoys, and cutesy Maine-themed paraphernalia.
Luke's buys directly from independent lobstermen off the coast of Maine (no distributors or wholesalers) to ensure the freshest product possible and prides itself on sharing the locations of each day's catch with diners.
We kicked off our seafood fest with an order of steamed Jonah Crab Claws. These juicy claws were great on their own, but we also both enjoyed dipping them into the tangy cocktail sauce!
Next, we moved on to Luke's signature Crab Roll. Similar to their Lobster Roll, this sandwich is simply prepared (toasted bread, crab & celery salt) and completely satisfying! Ashely and I had heard there was great debate over whether the best Luke's roll came stuffed with lobster or crab... as much as we enjoyed this delicious roll, we actually saved the best for last.
The epic Lobster Roll! It's impossible to express exactly how much we both loved this amazing roll. Unlike so many others you find in Chicago, it was unfussy - there were no chunks of celery (yuck!) lurking between thinly shredded bits of lobster, globs of mayonnaise, or random fillers. It was straight up toasted bread, a swipe of mayo, and huge chunks of sweet, succulent lobster. The lobster roll alone guarantees that Luke's Lobster most definitely lives up to its well-deserved hype! *Swoon*
We also split a cup of the Corn & Shrimp Bisque Soup. While the soup was certainly flavorful, we both found it to be a bit too salty. However, the rolls were so fantastic, they more than made up for the soup (I've also heard that the Clam Chowder is actually quite delicious).
Just an aside: I'm in love with my new House of Harlow bracelet from Rocksbox and had to show it off (for those of you who don't know, I love jewelry almost as much as I love food!). I've cancelled all of my other subscription services, but I cannot leave Rocksbox - it's way too fun to get new pieces to wear every month! Want to try it for yourself? Use code starrnxoxo for a free month!
You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Luke's Lobster: 134 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.