2013-05-31 / Community

Food truck owners to ‘rumble’ in NYC

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer


Bite Into Maine, a food truck operated in Fort Williams Park by Karl and Sarah Sutton, will compete in the Lobster Roll Rumble in New York City Thursday, June 6. The 72-square-foot food truck will be the smallest-ever competitor in the event. (Courtesy photo) Bite Into Maine, a food truck operated in Fort Williams Park by Karl and Sarah Sutton, will compete in the Lobster Roll Rumble in New York City Thursday, June 6. The 72-square-foot food truck will be the smallest-ever competitor in the event. (Courtesy photo) CAPE ELIZABETH – Karl and Sarah Sutton always had a plan to compete in the Lobster Roll Rumble in New York City, a charity fundraiser hosted by Tasting Table that brings the best lobster roll chefs from around the U.S. together under one roof for $150 a ticket. But the co-owners of the Bite Into Maine food truck thought the invite would come 10 years after they started their business.

Instead, Karl and Sarah received an email from organizers of the Lobster Roll Rumble in December, less than two years after they opened at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth in summer 2011.

Bite Into Maine will be one of 20 establishments to compete in the event Thursday, June 6. Four are from Maine: Eventide Oyster Co. of Portland; The Galley Restaurant & Pub of Naples and The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, which won the fan favorite award last year.

In addition to the four Maine contestants, two restaurants in the competition were started elsewhere in the country by native Mainers. Cousins Maine Lobster of Los Angeles, Calif. was started by Jim Tselikis of Cape Elizabeth and Sabin Lomac of Scarborough, and Luke’s Lobster of New York City is owned by Cape Elizabeth native Luke Holden.

The Suttons said the Cape Elizabeth connection at this year’s rumble is likely a coincidence, but Maine’s representation is not. Last year, The Clam Shack was the only Maine restaurant in the competition, so, according to Sarah Sutton, the organizers likely made an effort to include find more Maine participants this year.

“We’re hoping that someone from Maine takes home the prize, whether it’s us or somebody else,” Karl said.

The Suttons will go to New York hoping to win, but whether or not they do so, Sarah said the event will be a great opportunity to prove themselves on a national scale with other prestigious, established restaurants, despite coming in as the smallest competitor ever.

“Literally, our booth is bigger than our cart,” Sarah said.

However, Bite Into Maine’s small size presented a financial challenge that many of the food truck’s larger competitors do not have to worry about. With just one truck, the owners need to close up shop, plus pay for hundreds of pounds of lobster meat, along with travel expenses, lodging and staff.

To help cut into the huge cost, the Suttons turned to their fans on the Internet for some assistance.

Karl and Sarah started a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $5,500 to help pay for the New York trip. In return for donations, the Suttons offered T-shirts, lobster rolls and other prizes. The project raised $6,571 from 106 donations, more than $1,000 above the original goal.

Sarah said the positive response on Kickstarter exemplified the strong local following Bite Into Maine has built despite its location in the middle of a tourist destination.

“The people in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth have really embraced us. Either they’re repeat customers or they bring their guests,” she said.

To learn more about Bite Into Maine and follow updates from the Lobster Roll Rumble, visit their website at biteintomaine.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at sentry.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top