30 Under 30 NYC Where Are They Now? Luke Holden and Ben Conniff
In anticipation of our 2014 30 Under 30 NYC list dropping next Monday, July 28, we're taking a look back all week long at some of the most notable honorees from years past.
When we first honored Luke Holden and Ben Conniff, President and Vice President of Luke's Lobster, back in 2011, they were already two years into their careers as lobster roll game-changers, having just launched a mobile truck called Nauti and expanded to four Manhattan locations. When they started the company in 2009, they never would have predicted their overnight success. "We knew we had a really good product but we didn't have any restaurant experience," Conniff tells us. "What we had heard and knew about it was that it’s really risky. But none of us would have guessed that Luke's would take off like it did."Three years later, the duo has grown their empire to seven total NYC outposts including one in Brooklyn and their most recent (and largest) location to date in Midtown East as well as Philadelphia and Washington DC (3 locations). So what's their secret to success? "It’s definitely a combination of factors," Conniff tells us. "I would say number one is the seafood. We just have the most direct sourcing relationship with the best lobster you can get and it allows us to make the best lobster roll you can get because we don’t really add much to it." Luke's only uses fresh Maine lobster that is caught daily (with help from Luke's father Jeff) and cooked onsite before it's transported immediately south. The roll itself is toasted and buttered and topped with a squirt of mayo, fresh lobster meat and warm lemon butter. (Watch the process here.) It's safe to say that this dynamic duo has done major things for the lobster roll since 2011, so what's next for Luke's? For now, they plan to open another location with a backyard in Park Slope this fall while whispers of possible expansion to other cities like Boston are in the air.