The History of The Best Seafood Business In New York
My parents, Rod and Joan MacGregor, opened The Lobster Place on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1974. At the time they were running a restaurant on Columbus Avenue with Rod’s brothers, and they wanted a business to call their own. Knowing a bit about what worked in New York City kitchens, they thought that bringing a taste of the rugged Maine coast to restaurants and apartments here in Gotham could be a big hit. So, they built a plywood lobster tank in their tiny store, bought an old pickup truck, and started running up to Portland, Me a couple times a week to pick up live lobsters about 1000 lbs at a time. Their approach was simple – give both wholesale & retail customers a high quality, hard-to-find product, & do it with a sense of integrity that will form a lasting relationship.
Over 35 years later, it seems to be an approach that’s stood up pretty well - even as quite a bit has changed since the humble beginnings on the Upper West Side. In the 90’s Rod and Joan moved the company down to Chelsea Market, opened a retail store there, and expanded their product line to include just about everything that swims in the ocean. By that time they had been selling lobster to some of the best restaurants in New York for a number of years, so the expansion into other products came naturally. By 2002, the early mornings and long hours of the seafood business were taking their toll and Rod and Joan were looking to change gears to retirement, so after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, I got involved with the company. Since then, I’ve been busy carrying on their legacy of quality and integrity while channeling their entrepreneurial grit to keep The Lobster Place growing.
Thanks to the groundwork that Rod and Joan put down, I’m proud to say that The Lobster Place has become an integral part of the incredible New York City food industry. Today we employ over 100 people across our wholesale and retail businesses in the Bronx and Manhattan. Our Wholesale Division operates from a state of the art facility in Hunts Point, making over 200 daily deliveries of premium quality fish, crab, shellfish, shrimp, and lobster to the best restaurants in New York City and Westchester. Our retail store in Chelsea Market features the biggest selection of seafood, sushi, chowders, and prepared foods that you’ll find in any seafood market – anywhere. And what’s most important, we still build every relationship with every vendor, employee, and customer, on a foundation of quality, integrity, and professionalism – the same way Rod and Joan did way back in ’74.
President and Chief Fishmonger, The Lobster Place, Inc.
The Lobster Place has prospered for over 30 years and through 2 generations of family ownership because we remain true to a few basic principles - Integrity, Quality, and Professionalism. These principles form the groundwork for our relationships with everyone who matters to us – customers, employees, vendors, and our community. Here’s what those principles mean to us:
Integrity: We live up to the commitments we make and stand behind the products we sell. We strive to be transparent in all that we do.
Quality: The products we sell, the service we provide, and the work that we do are always as good as they can possibly be. We want to be proud of the experience that any customer, vendor, or employee has when they do business with The Lobster Place.
Professionalism: We treat our customers, vendors, and employees with courtesy and respect. We work to become masters at our craft and are knowledgeable about our industry. We have a hearty respect for the ocean’s resources – the life blood of our business. We recognize a duty to educate our customers about our products in the interest of sustaining the industry for generations to come.