Meet The Crew
Portland Pier Events Manager and Shack Catering Manager
A Brazilian turned Mainer, Rita loves to celebrate and is infatuated with the details and the joy of being involved in the organization of events. Anything from get-togethers with childhood friends to dinner parties, Rita is the planner and organizer for it all! A lover of writing and reading, Rita graduated from the number 1 Latin America university where she studied Brazilian Portuguese and Greek Literature. After school, she found her passion for advertising and creative planning, and built a 10-year career at some of the top agencies in Brazil planning events and live experiences for global brands. Rita is also crazy about live music, a staple in Maine culture. Through her love of music and her roadie husband, whom she met at a concert, she made her way to Maine after he proposed to her on one of Portland piers. Together, along with their dog Tito, they made their home in Maine, where Rita found her passion for the restaurant industry and decided to put her creativity and planning skills to work creating unforgettable experiences that put smiles on people’s faces.
General Manager, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Tracy has been with Luke's since she was scouted by our Plaza GM Gonca in 2016, and then quickly became an integral part of our Brooklyn Bridge Park shack. As a shift leader in BBP, Tracy was there when we took over the whole smokestack building and is excited to move to the Upper West Side to bring her talents to a new neighborhood. When she's not giving our guests the Luke's experience that we're known for, Tracy is spoiling her granddaughter Brianna.
GENERAL MANAGER, LAS VEGAS
Alyson was born and raised in New York. In 2001 she moved to Las Vegas, then from 2009-2021 she lived in Georgia before moving back to Las Vegas to be with her family. Alyson is a mom of four children - her two oldest sons live in NYC, she has one daughter who is currently attending college at Valdosta, and another who has followed in her mother's footsteps as a GM for a restaurant group in Georgia. Don't forget her three fur babies though, a 10-year-old Rottweiler and two Dachshund puppies! Alyson is a 30-year restaurant veteran who loves every aspect of the job. Now that Alyson’s self-proclaimed softball mom days are over she’s found a passion for baking cooking in her free time.
General Manager, Portland Pier
Kevin Bowen is the General Manager of our Portland Pier location. Kevin joined Luke’s in May 2021. He was born in Camden, Maine but grew up within a military family that moved all over the country (Illinois, California, South Carolina, a stop in England, Arkansas, and New York). Kevin returned to Maine for college and never left. Proud father of two amazing daughters that are his entire world. Before Luke’s, Kevin spent 15 years with Ninety Nine Restaurants as a General Managing Partner. When away from work, Kevin likes to hike, golf (terribly), and might be known for taking a vacation or two.
People and Culture Generalist
Kristin joined the Luke's team back in the summer of 2015 after years slinging pizzas with California Pizza Kitchen. She started off as the Catering Coordinator in the City of Brotherly Love - where she was born and raised. In 2016 she took on the role of General Manager, and now spends lots of time on Amtrak traveling along the East Coast as our Director of Operations. If you ever need a train discount, she's your girl! When she's not at Luke's you can find Kristin hanging at home with her husband and her puggle, or slowly losing her hearing in a SoulCycle class.
Customer Experience Director
A Mainer through and through, Allison found Luke's during her time studying at George Washington University when she answered a Craigslist ad looking for teammates who loved Vacationland. After graduating, she worked her way from a teammate to eventually become Director of Catering. In 2018 she returned to Maine, where she grows our catering program around the country, all from her "temporary" office in a large, unused, cooler at our seafood company, affectionately known as the "Catering Cave." When she's not delivering lobster rolls to Joe Biden, you can find Allison taking pictures of her food, doing Sunday crosswords, and wearing too much LL Bean. Just kidding, there's no such thing as too much LL Bean.
General Manager, FiDi
Kevin Casey is the current General Manager of our Park Slope location. Kevin started as a Teammate and delivery person at our Upper West Side shack back in 2013 and has worked in many of our New York shacks throughout the years. Hailing from Western Massachusetts, he spent many summers in Maine growing up with his family, where he determined that the lobster roll is the very best way to eat lobster. When not at a Luke's, Kevin spends his time in the great outdoors, surfing, biking, gardening, writing music, enjoying all of the fine cuisine in the city, and especially working on creative and artistic projects.
Restaurant Group Controller
Narie joined the Luke's Lobster crew in 2017. Prior to Luke's Lobster, she spent 4 years on the accounting team at Momofuku working closely with their various restaurants and other ventures. Narie graduated from New York University and also earned a degree in Classic Pastry Arts from the French Culinary Institute. Narie and her husband, Anthony, love to travel and plan their trips around where and what to eat. You can spot them around Long Island City with their 3 dogs.
Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer
Ben Conniff is the co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Luke’s Lobster, with over 30 locations across 9 US cities and internationally in Japan and Taiwan. After answering Luke’s Craigslist ad in the summer of 2009 and opening our first location in the East Village one month later, Ben remains heavily involved in the day-to-day workings of Luke’s since the beginning.
Ben is also the author of Real Maine Food, and has written for Saveur, GQ, Tasting Table, and more. He was named to the Inc. and Zagat “30 Under 30” lists and serves as an advisor to restaurant, fishery, and agriculture businesses. He spends the majority of his time in Portland, ME.
Director of Operations
Chris is a twenty-year veteran of the hospitality industry. He comes from brands such as TGI Friday’s, Panera Bread, and Chipotle Mexican Grill where he was a Director of Restaurant Operations. Chris prides himself on having developed many leaders across several brands and he has a passion for investing in his people. Chris is the father of five amazing children: Alexis, Aiden, Ethan, Aubrey, and Ava. Chris is active in the community and coaches ice hockey. Chris also plays competitive hockey and played D1 in college. Lastly, Chris is a die-hard New York sports fan, particularly the New York Rangers!
General Manager, Upper West Side
Darren has been with Luke's for more than two years, and is the 2018 recipient of the 2018 GM of the year award! He started his manager career flipping ice cream and singing for tips at Coldstone Creamery. Now you can find him watering his beautiful plants and training new managers in the Upper East Side. Darren does not enjoy long walks in the park but prefers playing hours of playstation talking mad smack online.
Meaghan spearheads the marketing efforts of the brand which explains why she has more photos on her iPhone of lobster rolls than she does of people or dogs combined. Meaghan is a graduate of Fordham University and developed her love for all things food and culinary while working at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo. She moved on to work on the development team at Marcus Samuelsson Group where she was integral in opening a number of the celebrity chef's restaurants from Harlem to Bermuda. Meaghan currently lives in the East Village mere blocks from the original Luke's shack, where she alternates weekly between a shrimp roll and a lobster roll. She's also a passionate lover of pizza and all the reality TV that Time Warner has to offer.
General Manager, Back Bay
Elena is originally from Moldova, but she has been living in the US for seven years, previously living in North Carolina and New York before settling in Boston. Elena has worked in hospitality for six years, working her way through the ranks from server to general manager. She is passionate about the connection between team members and guests alike. Outside Luke's, Elena has an interest in the arts, music and is big fan of the Boston Red Sox.
Vice President, Ops Services
Emily is a Luke's original in both hire date and personality and is the rock of Luke's Lobster. She's the one that ensures all the LL stores are running smoothly and is the first call respondent to any emergencies that arise at the shops. When not running from store to store, Emily can be found enjoying the finer things in life. Whether that's watching a movie on her projector screen or making tomato sauce that would make any nonna jealous (secret ingredient: butter) - she's a quality over quantity gal, and that's probably what makes her so great at her job. If you're ever feeling stressed get in line for one of Emily's killer back rubs. While her hands may be slight, they are freakishly strong.
General Manager, Brickell City Centre & D+I Co-Chair and Internal Communications Liaison
Addie was raised in Hanover NH where she grew up competing with her brothers both on the field and on the slopes. Her passion for the arts allowed her to travel overseas where she had her first exhibition in photography and the love of traveling the world grew. Addie studied photography in college and was a high school art teacher before making the trip down to Miami to showcase her work at Art Basel in 2015. She fell in love with art, warm weather, and knowing she will never see snow again until she returns home for a snowy Christmas with her family.
Addie joined the Luke's family two years ago as the manager in Brickell City Centre. When shes not spending hours in her shack talking with guests and making memorable experiences, she teaches a dance class where her inner Beyonce takes the stage. Luke's lover by day, slaying queen by night.
General Manager, Farragut
Caleb Fisher started at Luke's in 2019, running our Georgetown shack in Washington, D.C. With a passion for service and food, it's no wonder that he's worked in the food service industry for most of his professional life. A determined and hard working individual, most of Caleb's friends and family consider him shy, but just wait until there is a crowd and you'll see him in his element.
General Manager, Union Square
Juan is the youngest out of 4 children. His parents immigrated to this country to give their family more than what they had and Juan continues to strive for more for his own family.
Juan has worked in restaurants for 10 years now, from the back of house to front of house, from a bar back all the way up to General Manager. He makes sure that everyone he works with is valued and cared for.
Juan has been with his wife for 11 years and married for two, with a 1-year-old son. When he's not working you can find him spending time with his son watching sports or singing Old McDonald had a farm.
Vice President, E-Commerce + Retail
Lauren joined the Luke's team in 2011. As Director of Culinary Development, Lauren works alongside our Marketing and Operations teams to develop new and seasonal menu items for our shacks, and develops efficiencies and quality improvements to our core menu items. Lauren oversees sourcing and purchasing for all Luke's shacks, and spearheads the development of our line of frozen retail products available at Whole Foods Market and other retailers. Lauren's entrepreneurial spirit and passion for cooking stems back to age 10, when she held regular lemonade stands in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art - which helped fund her BA degree in History & Chinese from the University of Pennsylvania. Although born and raised in NYC, she's happy to call Portland, Maine home now where she lives with Chris Jordan (Luke's Logistics Director) and their rambunctious pup Otis.
Logistics Coordinator, D+I Co-Chair and External Communications Liaison
General Manager, Downtown Crossing
Imer is a recent college graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia. He was initially hired as a teammate and has moved up within the company to Assistant General Manager in our Rittenhouse shack. He's been with the company for 5 years now and enjoys the pace of the restaurant industry. One of his biggest accomplishments in life was hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2018, which he completed in 5 months and 1 day. His free time is spent cooking and discovering new mountains!
President & Chief Development Officer
Having grown up in Cape Elizabeth and attending Bowdoin College, Bryan is the epitome of all things Maine. After stints in banking and consulting, Bryan decided to join the family business. Known as the Doze, Bryan is the ultimate Renaissance man: All-American lacrosse player, lover of theatre and art, deft carpenter and flexible yogi. It was once rumored that he grew the best mustache on the East Coast, an allegation he will neither confirm nor deny. But perhaps Bryan's most admirable characteristic is his uncanny ability to bring his unique sense of humor to any situation.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Luke Holden grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine – a third-generation lobsterman who started learning the trade at age 13. After attending Georgetown University and beginning an investment banking career on Wall Street, Luke was remiss to find that every lobster roll available in New York was overpriced, drowning in mayo, and diluted with celery. He craved a real Maine-style roll and simply couldn’t find one.
Luke saw an opportunity to bring a casual seafood spot, like the homegrown lobster shacks of his childhood, to New York’s culinary landscape. In 2009, Luke decided to harness his passion for excellent seafood and his family’s 40-plus years in the Maine lobster industry to open the first Luke’s Lobster in the East Village with his dad Jeff, a lobster processor, and Ben Conniff. To keep up with demand, Luke and partners opened Luke’s Lobster’s own seafood processing facility in 2012. The complete vertical integration ensures every lobster served at Luke’s is handled with care and kept pristine.
Today, Luke spends the majority of the year in Maine, where he maintains relationships with lobstermen and oversees production at Luke’s Lobster’s processing facility. He also sits on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, the Island Institute, and the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op, which he helped found. Luke’s donates a portion of its proceeds to The Ocean Foundation and the Island Institute, helping preserve Maine’s fishing communities and the sustainability of our oceans. Over the years, Luke has also been included on the Forbes’ 30 under 30, Inc 30 under 30, Zagat’s 30 under 30, and Crain’s 40 under 40.
Michael Holden, affectionally known as Mikey, has been with the company since 2012, working in various operations and development roles in Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. He graduated with a business degree from Skidmore College in upstate New York. Today, Mikey is the glue that holds the team together during new openings. A Maine native and the youngest Holden brother, Mikey approaches problems with a strong work ethic and a sense of humor. In his spare time he enjoys Boston Sports, playing golf, and strategy based board games.
General Manager, Rittenhouse
In true Luke's fashion, Cassandra found her way to the company as a teammate through a Craigslist ad recruiting for the opening of our Rittenhouse shack in Philadelphia. From Teammate, to Shift Leader, to Senior Shift Leader, Cassandra grew to love lobster shack life so much so that - even when she took a brief sabbatical from the company to move to the 'burbs - Luke's was never far from her mind. As soon as she had the opportunity, she jumped back on the line as the GM of Rittenhouse. Now, 6 years from answering that fateful ad, she's followed the bright LobStar of Luke's all the way to San Francisco to GM our first west coast shack! When not slingin' lobster, you can find Cassandra... well, actually you probably can't find her. Because she's most likely at home with her husband and mustachio'd cat Tom Selleck or off exploring the wilds of California.
Assistant General Manager, Penn Quarter
Heather was born in the U.K. and lived overseas while her Dad served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years. Her parents met in Thailand where Heather’s Mom grew up. Her family moved to the U.S. when she was 12, but Heather is proudly Thairish. After working in various restaurants over the years, Heather has developed a passion for food and she’s become a true foodie. She is either out exploring new restaurants or cooking new recipes from all over the world. You can find Heather spending time with friends and family or indulging in spa days, which are a must.
People and Culture Manager
After graduating from St. Lawrence University with a B.A. in Spanish & Fine Arts, Morgan thought she'd spend just a summer in Portsmouth, NH working in restaurants while she figured out how to apply her obscure double major. Instead, she stuck around and built a career in the hospitality industry growing from Server, to General Manager and ultimately VP of Operations of J.Group - a hospitality group founded by James Beard nominated restaurateur, Jay McSharry.
Now, as People + Culture Generalist at our processing plant in Saco, Maine, she loves using her Spanish daily to support our diverse, multi-lingual team. Nicknamed "The Morganizer" at age two, Morgan has a knack for bringing order and building systems. Outside of her Luke's life, she is most often hanging with her husband doing projects on their "almost fixed" fixer-upper in Cape Neddick or enjoying the beaches and hiking trails of southern Maine.
Kevin Koon was born and raised in New York City and joined the team in 2021. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a BS in Business Management, he worked in private equity and M&A with MidRail and US Grid Company. Kevin loves to go hiking and looks forward to the rare chance he gets to go crabbing or fishing. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, keeping up with sneakers, and binge watching Pawn Stars or anything with Gordon Ramsey on YouTube.
Assistant General Manager, Las Vegas
Heather joined the Luke's team in 2017 when she decided she wanted to participate in something healthier than bartending. When she's not chatting up the guests at our shack on the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, she can be found perusing museums, riding roller coasters, reading classic literature (from Bukowksi to Austen to Kafka!) , sipping craft beers, and hanging out with her super duper rad kiddo. As a self-proclaimed "steward of the Earth," her favorite part about working at Luke's is how our respect for the environment has a huge impact on all aspects (big and small) within our company.
Vice President, Sales
Adam Joined Luke's in June of 2016. He manages all of the wholesale and grocery business, both domestic and international. Born on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Adam moved to Maine in 2009 for College. He graduated in '13 from the University of New England. He worked for a local branch of Xerox in Portland, ME for two years, managing multiple territories in Southern Maine during that stretch. In 2015 Adam was recruited by Designs for Health and managed all Sales & Marketing initiatives for Northern New England overseeing 100+ medical practices.
Outside of work, Adam spends his time playing hockey and golf, at the gym, and grabbing a couple beers pretty much anytime the opportunity presents itself. Adam reluctantly self-identifies as an emotionally-drained, lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan and has one son, named Gilmour, seen in his photo with him.
Area Manager, NYC
Thanh Le aka Le, comes from a long line of restaurants including TGI Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, and Houlihan's. Originally from Northern Virginia, Le came to New York in 2015 to join the restaurant Vapiano. After traveling the world and becoming a certified international trainer, Le joined Luke's Lobster in 2018. He is a family man with three beautiful daughters and a stunning wife to match. He enjoys princess tea parties and spending time with his family. Check him out at our FiDi and Midtown East locations.
Chief Marketing Officer
Katie Livesay joined the Luke’s Lobster team in 2020 as the Chief Marketing Officer. Hailing from upstate New York, Katie has called Maine her home base for the past 15 years. She moved to the Pine Tree state after accepting a job in Marketing at L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine. She spent over 14 years in the marketing department at L.L. Bean overseeing media, brand strategy, partnerships, and consumer insights. Katie graduated with a BA in Economics and Health Care Administration from Union College, NY and MBA in International Marketing from Boston College.
In addition to being passionate about branding and marketing, Katie is an avid running, running full and half marathons annually and a longtime coach of Girls of the Run.
A proud mother of three: Ryan and Lauren (10) and Keira (7), Katie and her husband, Nick, are always planning their next family adventure.
General Manager, Midtown East
Darwin enjoys the outdoors, especially when he is working on his garden planting herbs, vegetables and snapdragon plants! He loves working in the hospitality and food service industry where he gets to meet all types of interesting personalities which make for good storytelling. Darwin grew up in the beautiful island of Barbados and moved to New York where he received his education.
Julia is a native Mainer, born and raised in South Portland, ME. She’s been working in the seafood industry since 2014, getting her start serving all things seafood at a local restaurant and fresh fish market. In 2016, she moved to Boston to attend Simmons University. A couple of months later she joined the Luke’s team at our Back Bay shack, initially as a teammate and then as a shift leader. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Public Relations and Marketing Communications, she traded in her apron to join the Luke’s Marketing Team as a Marketing Coordinator. In her free time, you can find her cooking, exploring Boston neighborhoods or taking a bus up to Portland to visit with her family.
Customer Experience Coordinator
Jake is a native Mainer having grown up in South Portland, Maine for the majority of his life. He left the state to trade pine trees for palm trees as he attended The University of Tampa and received his BA in Communications with minors in Advertising and Public Relations. He returned back to Vacationland amidst 2020 and joins the Luke's team as a Customer Experience Coordinator servicing our Online Market.
He enjoys everything the Portland area has to offer whether it be breweries, beaches, the good food, and the good people. You can find Jake where the people are, always prepared to have a good time.
General Manager, Upper East Side
A self-proclaimed urban mountain man, halal food connoisseur, and fantasy sports expert, Jay is the General Manager of our Upper East Side shack, having recently celebrated his 8th Anniversary with Luke's Lobster. After answering a Craigslist ad, he began at the Upper East Side in 2013 and moved across several NYC Luke's shacks before returning to the UES in 2020. You can sometimes find him at his home in Queens or his favorite trail, but you are most likely to find him on E. 81st St, where you'll be sure to receive a warm welcome from him and his team!
General Manager, Chicago City Hall, Customer Service
JP McIntyre grew up in Baltimore near the Chesapeake Bay, which engendered in him a lifelong love of seafood and a passion for sustainable fishing methods. He is incredibly proud to bring his decade of hospitality experience to the team at Luke's Lobster. Look for him at Luke's Lobster Chicago City Hall, where he'll be happy to serve you the best seafood you've every tasted.
Vice President of Operations, Seafood Company
Hailing from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Ben started at Luke’s in the summer of 2011. His first project, building our Georgetown shack with his bare hands, led him to opening our seafood processing facility in Saco, ME shortly after, and running operations there ever since. A proud alum of The United States Air Force Academy, you can find Ben in his truck driving to various harbors along coastal Maine and Canada meeting with lobstermen, or at the plant in Saco making sure operations are running smoothly.
Assistant General Manager, Portland Pier
Meghan was born in New York but raised in Florida, she brings a good mix of the Northern charm and South hospitality to the pier. She joined the Portland Pier team in August of 2020 as a FOH manager and in 9 short months was promoted to Assistant General Manager. She has spent the last 9 years in the restaurant industry here in Maine. The years before she found her passion in our industry she spent her time in the animal care field with the Humane Society. When she isn't on the pier you can find her out and about with her husband and pups enjoying all the outdoor activities Maine and New Hampshire have to offer.
Assistant General Manager, Portland Pier
Brian Noble was born by the ocean in Bridgehampton, NY and grew up in love with jumping and riding the waves at Scott Cameron Beach. He was a 3-sport athlete in High School, playing Football, Basketball, and Baseball. He began his service industry career as a dishwasher at 14 years of age and moved up the ranks to become a bartender on his 18th birthday. During his summers in the Hamptons as a local on the South Fork, Brian worked two jobs; cleaning beachside mansion pools by day and bartending late into the summer nights. He began bar managing in 2008 and brought his hard work ethic north to Vermont in 2010 where he continued his management career for several establishments in and around Stratton Mountain Resort. Shortly after the opening season as the first GM at "Bar 802" in VT in 2016, Brian fell in love with his gorgeous fiancee Lia and moved south to be with her, first in Stamford and then in South Norwalk CT.
Mr. Noble sharpened his restaurant skills for 3 more years before the newly engaged couple moved to Portland, Maine where they couldn't be happier! Fun Fact: Lia & Brian are currently planning to be wed right on the pier at Luke's in September of 2022!
Head Bartender, Portland Pier
Kai was born and raised on Peaks Island, ME, taking a boat to school every day. His life and identity have always been entwined with Maine's coast and it's fishing communities. Escaping the isolated lifestyle of a Maine island boy, he went to college in Switzerland Franklin College traveling all through Europe and then ended at New York City and Hunter College. Like so many, Kai paid his way through school by joining the service industry. He was trained by some of NYC's finest cocktail experts and at 23 years old he and his business partner built their own whiskey bar in Brooklyn, NY named Post Office. After ten years they sold the bar and he was looking for a new project, enter Bryan Holden. They met up at a bar to talk about the newest Luke's Lobster in Maine and Kai decided to take a trip home and see what it was all about that February in 2019. Blown away by the care and craft Luke's had put into the Portland Pier (and the prospect of coming home after 15 years in NYC) he asked to become a part of the Luke's team, applying for his position, which did not exist. He has now been at the Portland Pier longer than any other teammate and would probably have to be dragged off the pier if we ever wanted to get rid of him. Kai, his wife Edith and their dog Ruffian now live in the house they bought during the pandemic in South Portland where they garden, look through their telescope at the stars and sip on concoctions that Kai makes in his lab.
Vice President of People + Culture
Haleigh Petroe is the VP of People + Culture for Luke's Lobster. She was one of the first hires in 2009 at our original East Village shack and climbed up the ladder from roll slinger to General Manager to Director of HR to VP of People + Culture. She doesn't much like ladders though. Over the last 10 years, Haleigh has focused on bringing great people into the organization and growing the Luke's community, most recently at our processing plant in Saco, Maine. In 2016, she earned her SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Professional Certification through Pace University. Also, Haleigh has notably won 2nd place in our office Halloween costume contest 3 years running (next year is her year). You can find Haleigh in Brooklyn, NY walking her dachshund Begbie or trying to fix her '96 Jeep Cherokee.
Senior Staff Accountant
Klaudia Ramos was born and raised in New York and joined the Luke's team in 2020. After graduating from Baruch College with a BA in Accounting, she worked for The Standard, High Line and The Brooklyn Brewery in the accounting department. KlaudiaI loves to travel to new places and see Broadway and Off-Broadway shows with her partner. She also has a maltese dog who she spoils with treats and hugs, and who loves to take car rides with her.
Director of Operations
Maria is a lifelong Jersey girl who is excited to be in the New York City world as a Director of Operations! In addition to being passionate about business operations and logistics, Maria is an avid autumn enthusiast, she’s always looking for the ultimate fall-themed adventures with her family. An adrenaline junkie, you can find her on the next plane to skydive, parasailing in the Caribbean, or zip-lining in Puerto Rico! Growing up in an old-school Italian household, family dinners are what she looks forward to every week, with a big pot of gravy on her stove, of course!
A proud mother to her eight-year-old son Ethan Elias, Maria and her husband Miguel are always looking forward to planning their next family adventure!
Chief Operations Officer, Restaurant Group
Virginia watched the Muppets take Manhattan so many times as a child that at 22 she packed up a U-Haul with $600 in her bank account and moved to New York City. Like many failed actresses, she quickly realized that being able to pay rent and eat was more important than seeing her name in lights. Little did she know her true love, hospitality was waiting just around the corner. Virginia has run operations for TGI Friday's, BR Guest Hospitality, Joes Crab Shack, The Meatball Shop and found a forever home here at Luke's Lobster. Virginia has opened up 17 restaurants in her career and can't wait for the next ones to come. She's fed everyone from Warren Buffet, to the Rockettes, to our community soup kitchens.
Virginia oversees operations all across the country so you can most likely find her with our awesome teams from coast to coast, working reg during our busiest shifts, inspecting under refrigerators, in the nearest airport lounge on her laptop or phone, or doing very important research for new cocktail development on the beach.
We are so lucky at Luke's to build a family who truly embodies our core values of Taste, Transparency, and Purpose-Virginia feels constantly humbled by the hard work, good vibes, and passion of those around her.
Regional Sales Manager
Erica dabbled in a few different career paths, and finally while working as an accountant/analyst for a renewable energy investment company, she realized it was about time she ditched quickbooks and set off on a big adventure. She moved to a rural town in Thailand and taught English to a class of 35 sixth graders, and backpacked throughout Asia for a year. Here she realized she would not return to a career in accounting and learned a better idea of the type of company she'd like to work for.
She landed back at Stonewall Kitchen (where she interned in college) in the marketing/sales dept. Wanting to be closer to her home in Portland, Erica found her next job as a Regional Sales Manager at Luke's Lobster, which she believes will be her career home for a looooooong time. She's super pumped to work for a company like Luke's in her home state, and feels destined to be in sales slinging lobsters in this innovative and fast growing company.
Chief Financial Officer
Steve Song is the Chief Financial Officer for Luke's Lobster having joined the crew in 2016. Prior to Luke's Lobster, he spent 14 years as a private equity investment professional working with various companies and management teams across a variety of industries. He began his career at JPMorgan in 2001 before working at hedge funds and private equity firms including Magnetar Capital and Altpoint Capital.
Since 2011, Steve has also served a Board Member of Minds Matter of NYC, a nonprofit organization serving low-income high school students, and served as its board chair until 2018. He has served on the Board of Directors for private companies, including Ford Models, AHN International and Sanchez Resources. Steve graduated with a joint Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics-Mathematics from Columbia University in 2001. He has traveled to over 30 countries and has watched a game at every Major League Baseball stadium. He is based in New York City.
Performance Marketing Manager
Alex is a native Californian having grown up in the Los Angeles area and also living in the San Francisco area for a handful of years. He has a BA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in conceptual design from UCSB and an MBA from Boston University in Marketing Strategy and Organizational Behavior.
He loves to cook meals inspired by a single ingredient or theme, watch the Dodgers, and explore the Portland food and microbrew scene. He is an avid home brewer and fitness enthusiast. Since 2017 he has called Maine home and lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife Carly and Bernedoodle Libby.
Shelbi Wassick is a born and raised Mainer. She grew up in the Sebago Lake region and now resides in Portland. She joins Luke's as the Marketing Manager, assisting the marketing team with content creation, social media, and customer service. She developed her love of all things Maine during her time as online editor for Maine and Maine Home+Design magazines. When she is not eating her way through Maine's burgeoning culinary scene you can find her enjoying the natural resources of Moosehead Lake during all the seasons or spending quality time with her large, loud, and lovely family.
February 2020 LobStar: Meet Adrian Velasquez
Adrian Velasquez joined Luke’s just last June in our Downtown Crossing shack. A born and bred Bostonian, he’s in his third year at Northeastern as an undergrad, and balancing crushing lobster rolls with a 40-hour per week internship in finance learning data analysis. No big deal.
With Luke’s as his first restaurant gig, Adrian was a clear choice as this month’s LobStar, not only for his A+ work ethic but for the awesome attitude he brings to every shift.
Adrian hopes to one day continue working in finance, ideally remotely so that he can travel the world. Until then, you’ll find him lifting weights, meditating, and listening to music (when he’s not serving up Boston’s favorite lobster roll of course). Thanks for choosing Luke’s Adrian!
January 2020 LobStar: Meet Kin Lau
Kin Lau, a shiftleader in our FiDi shack, joined the Luke's fam in spring 2017. Kin joined Luke's straight after graduating from City College as a psych major and a theater minor, but his real passion lies in food. After growing up in NYC's Chinatown, Kin's father owned his own Chinese restaurant in Sunset Park, igniting his love for all things culinary.
When he's not at work making lobster rolls, Kin is cooking daily, whether it's stews in the winter or stir-frys in his Astoria apartment. With the goal of being a chef, he finds himself in Flushing trying all different kinds of food, like his favorite fried prawns with candied walnuts.
After two and a half years in FiDi, Kin finds comfort in the structure of Luke's -- not to mention the serious storage of his home shack which is the envy of many of our other shacks, but he says it's the guests that he loves coming into work to see. "A lot of our regulars have come in weekly or sometimes more since I've been here, and it's nice to know they're coming in for the lobster but also for the company." Congrats Kin for being our first LobStar of 2020! 🌟
December 2019 LobStar: Meet Joao Paco
Joao Paco has been working in the sanitation department at Luke’s Seafood Company for just under a year, but he’s already made a serious impression on everyone he’s worked with.
Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joao arrived in Maine in December of 2018 after his wife’s encouragement and her own love for Maine. When some friends suggested he apply to Luke’s, he took their word for it and joined the team last January.
His tasks include thoroughly sanitizing every single surface and piece of equipment after processing, but according to Joao, it’s the people he works with that keep him coming back. And according to his manager Peter, “Joao is the perfect role model for Food Safety Engineer, leaving no task unfinished and spreading his positive attitude and pleasant disposition to all team members.” He’s also newly a father of two, welcoming his second child, a baby girl, this month. Congrats Joao and thank you for being our December LobStar! 🌟🌟🌟
November 2019 LobStar: Meet Alex Daley
Alex Daley has been crushing rolls and designing chalkboards at Luke’s in DC for almost five years now. Originally from Brooklyn, she started working in our Penn Quarter location during undergrad at Howard University. 📚
Despite currently working a full time job for the Department of Education, applying for her Masters in speech pathology, and working on her calligraphy (check out @daley.lettering ✍️), Alex still manages to be a leader in her shack, an unsung hero working the grill daily.
Even with her jam packed schedule, Alex manages to come into work with a smile every day, and says she’s stayed at Luke’s because of the team and the guests. “It’s the first job I’ve had that I was excited to come into work for.” We feel the same way — Alex really demonstrates what a true LobStar is.⭐️
October 2019 LobStar: Meet Sopheak Lay
Working at a lobster processing plant is in Sopheak Lay’s blood. He started at Luke’s Seafood Company in Saco, ME in 2012 working part time as a high school student in our RTE room (or ready-to-eat, where the lobster goes right after it’s perfectly steamed in order to be cooled, picked, and packed).
Originally from Cambodia, Sopheak moved to Maine about 13 years ago, and started at Luke’s as a picker after his parents suggestion — they too work in the RTE room and have been pickers for Luke’s since we opened as well as for Luke’s dad Jeff's lobster processing plant even before that.
After a few years in RTE, Sopheak eventually became full-time during college, where he's getting his degree in theoretical math. He's since shifted to our logistics department where he gets to use his own analytical skills, which he hopes to put to good use down the road in his career. In his spare time, you’ll find him studying for school of course. Congrats to our October #LobStar! ⭐️
September 2019 LobStar: Meet Heather Krieger
When Heather Krieger started at our Las Vegas shack in 2017, she had just come off of a bartending gig so she was no stranger to hospitality. After quickly moving up from being a teammate to a shift leader, Heather shined in her role, and her energy and commitment to customer service in the shack made her a no-brainer for our September LobStar. ⭐️
Heather’s 15-year-old son, affectionately nicknamed Gumby is a regular face at the shack too, consistently ordering our Lobster Grilled Cheese, as a growing boy should. Fun fact: Heather and her son are Disney fanatics, with annual passes for Disneyworld AND Disneyland, and big plans to visit Tokyo Disney. We’ll be sure to let our Japan locations know to throw on the Lobster Grilled Cheese when they’re coming. Thanks Heather for choosing Luke’s!
August 2019 LobStar: Meet Carlos Ayala
Carlos Ayala joined our team in 2013 while looking for a job during his time off from school at USM. His first task was in our raw tail room, grading lobster tails by size before they’re shipped to our partners, but he was always peeking over his boss Freddy’s shoulder, interested in the documentation of it all.
After a few years going back and forth between getting his biology degree and working at our Seafood Company up in Saco, ME, Carlos was recently promoted to assistant supervisor. He’s responsible for ensuring that our tail grades are accurate and we’re shipping 4-5 oz tails, while looking sharp doing it.
His next goal is med school, where he hopes to study pediatrics — he’s got plenty of practice with 9 nephews and nieces. After a long day at the plant and a 5:30 am start, you’ll probably find him watching movies like the self-described cinephile he is. #LobStar
July 2019 LobStar: Meet Imalia Gansop
Imalia Gansop started working at Luke's in 2017 while a sophomore at NYU. She was on the opening team at Union Square, after seeing a Luke's hiring post on Craigslist (where else?) and has been part of the family ever since. After a study abroad stint in Berlin late last year, Imalia returned to Luke's, this time switching over to Midtown East, quickly adjusting to the pace of midtown lunch!
Imalia graduated from NYU this past May with a degree in Cinema Studies, and naturally spends her time away from Luke's watching movies on Netflix and HBO. We are thrilled to have Imalia on our team, and as our Director of Operations, Kristin put it, "she's an absolute staple for morale in the shack.” And that's why she's our July LobStar. Photo credit: @vanumal
June 2019 LobStar: Meet Chenda Chamreoun
Chenda Chamreoun starts her day by waking up at 2:40 am to get to Luke's Seafood Company in Saco, ME by 4 am. She jumps right into action by doing a sanitation inspection to make sure all of the equipment in our production rooms is perfectly clean and sanitized before we begin processing thousands of pounds of lobster or crab that day. Not only does she ensure the cleanliness of our equipment, but she's a crucial member of our quality assurance team in Saco, making sure that after our lobster and crab is steamed and picked, that it's been thoroughly inspected for shells and cartilage before being packed and shipped to our partners and shacks around the country. Yes, she gets to eat a LOT of lobster(#workperks).
Chenda has been with Luke's since 2013 after moving to Maine from Cambodia, and we couldn't be more appreciative that she chose Luke's to work and grow at as such an important member of our team.
May 2019 LobStar: Meet Briana Battle
Briana started working at our Farragut location in DC on our second day open in 2018. Known throughout 17th St for her charisma and friendliness, she literally brings in lobster lovers off the street to try our rolls, and she’s even been known to convince some Secret Service staffers that they need their Luke’s fix during their coffee breaks next door. Briana’s charm and knack for hospitality are what make her our May #LobStar and we couldn’t be happier that she chose us as her home.
April 2019 LobStar: Meet Carla Wright
Carla Wright was born and raised in San Francisco, and we're lucky enough to have had her on our team in SoMa since day 1. Since working at Luke's, Carla's been able to further develop her passion for food and restaurants, preferring to be on the line prepping our signature lobster rolls for the good people of SF.
A Food Network fanatic, when she's not at Luke's crushing rolls, you'll find her at home with her 11-year-old daughter in the kitchen (where else?). Replicating the food from her favorite shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, the duo likes to put their own spin on these chefs' signatures.
Carla hopes to continue working in restaurants throughout her career, and has just recently started thinking of attending culinary school to hone her skills. With our SoMa being one of our busiest shacks in the country, having a rock like Carla has made us settle right in on the West Coast. Make sure to say hello next time you grab a lobster roll in SF!
March 2019 LobStar: Meet Denny Fiaalii
After fishing on the Bering Sea in Alaska for 10 years and meeting his wife Sabrina, Denny Fiaalii ended up moving to her home state of Maine almost four years ago, where they both work at our Seafood Company in Saco, Maine.
Denny started in our production facility (where we cook our seafood to perfection right off the dock to bring you those tasty rolls) and is an integral part of our crab and lobster production while also managing our lobster buying station at Portland Pier.
Running the Portland Pier station includes everything from offloading lobster from our fishermen’s catch that day to supplying bait for a lobsterman’s haul. Our buying station sits right beside our new restaurant in Portland (opening this summer ☀️) so make sure to say hey to Denny when you’re getting your lobster fix on the pier!
February 2019 LobStar: Meet Sam Garber
Born in NYC but raised in San Francisco, Sam Garber found himself back in New York when he attended the Stella Adler Studio of Acting at NYU. After graduating and looking for some part-time work, Sam thought back on his many visits to Luke's in the East Village and figured, if he liked eating there, he might like working there.
As part of the post-Hurricane Sandy team after our FiDi shack closed for several months in 2012, Sam’s been crushing rolls at Luke’s now for almost 6 years. Considered "the mayor" by his team, Sam's been known to recognize not just regular guests' orders, but their online orders as well.
While several hours of his week are spent making lobster rolls, his passion is acting, whether in a web series, public access talk shows, or on stage, in a 5 1/2 hour long play with breaks for dinner and dessert (the performance he will remember the most, he says). Be sure to give him a shout next time you’re in our FiDi shack!
January 2019 LobStar: Meet Tiffany Patterson
Tiffany Patterson started at Luke’s over four years ago, and has made lobster rolls in most of our New York shacks since.
Currently at our Nomad shack on 25th Street, she spends half her time at Luke’s and the other half running two e-commerce businesses, a mobile nail spa, and a vegan catering business. Somehow she still has the energy to bring a smile while crushing rolls at Luke’s.
Originally from the Lower East Side, she now lives in Brooklyn, chasing after her two Jack Russells. Say hi to Tiffany next time you’re in our Nomad shack!
December 2018 LobStar: Meet Sierra Heinzman
We’re really lucky that Sierra Heinzman was working the dessert station at her last job in Philly when she realized she was looking for something a bit more fast paced (and also, she didn’t like dessert).
Enter her sister Brittah, who already worked at Luke’s in Rittenhouse, which led to Sierra joining the team a couple of years ago. She’s now a shiftleader and integral part of our Rittenhouse shack.
When she’s not crushing rolls (and maybe having a Crab Grilled Cheese on her break ), you might find her perfecting her sushi skills with the techniques she picked up in her culinary school training. You’re a LobStar, Sierra and we’re lucky to have ya!
October 2018 LobStar: Meet Davon Shelton
Davon Shelton was one of the original teammates who opened Luke’s Lobster City Hall in Chicago in 2015. He joined us as a teammate while finishing up college at Chicago State, where he studied Communications and graced the stage in theater performances and the mic in radio broadcasts. Davon continues his passion for communications and radio today in his weekly Friday radio show on WCSU, where he talks about the intersection of sports and music.
Davon’s the guy that you cannot talk to without breaking out in a smile, either from one of his Davon-isms (“Happy Friday Eve” if you meet him on a Thursday), or just because his own smile is so big you can’t help imitating. Davon is more than just tag lines—his genuine conversation with guests and helpful hospitality has earned him 10x more mentions in Yelp and Google reviews than any other teammate—all of them glowing. His infectious personality is what qualified him to be one of two shift leaders to head to San Francisco and open our newest shack —and he shined from open to close.
Congratulations Davon on going above and beyond to earn the first ever monthly Luke’s Teammate Spotlight!