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By Elena Kadvany

Old Port Lobster Shack opens Palo Alto pop-up

Uploaded: Jul 31, 2017

Old Port Lobster Shack, which has served New England-style lobster rolls and other seafood fare in on the Midpeninsula for more a decade, opened a temporary pop-up at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto earlier this month.

The pop-up is a test of sorts for a shaved-down version of the Lobster Shack. Russell Deutsch, a Portola Valley resident who opened the first Lobster Shack in Redwood City in 2006, recently sold the business but is involved in the pop-up concept, he said at the new restaurant on Monday. In a follow-up email, Deutsch said that he is only involved on a "consulting" basis, "offering start-up assistance and ideas" to the new owners. Old Port Lobster Shack locations in Redwood City, Ladera, Roseville and the pop-up are under the new ownership.

Old Port Lobster Shack's Lobster ShackXpress concept opened at Stanford Shopping Center on July 4, 2017. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

Deutsch, who was charged last year with sales tax evasion, recently sold Lobster Shack to three investors from Fremont and Union City. (He pleaded not guilty in March 2016, and his case is currently making its way through the courts with a pretrial conference recently scheduled, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney.)

The pop-up, dubbed the Lobster ShackXpress, took over a small space that was going to house 3potato4, next to McDonald's. 3potato4 owner Guenevere Blanchard pulled the plug on the project last February, alleging the construction company over-billed her and that, coupled with eight months of rent, left her "broke."

The space has no kitchen, so there's a limited menu with only cold items or dishes that need to be warmed up but not cooked. Look for the classic Maine lobster roll ($23) as well as rolls with crab ($20), shrimp ($12), tuna ($8), chicken ($10) and even a veggie take ($6). There are also two salads ($8), fish and chips ($7), clam chowder ($5 for a cup, $7 for a mug, $18 for a quart) and lobster bisque ($7-$25).

Portola Valley Lobster Shack head chef Jose Gonzales serves up, from left to right, the Maine lobster roll, pan-seared mini lobster cakes and a mug of the New England clam "chowdah" in 2011. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.

Drinks-wise, there are milkshakes ($4 for a small, $7 for a large), and Deutsch said the new owners are considering applying for a beer and wine license.

Deutsch said the pop-up will also serve new dishes he's been kicking around for several years, like chowder fries (think poutine but with clam chowder or lobster bisque).

There's some seating inside the small restaurant, which is decorated with ocean-themed memorabilia and an enormous map of New England, as well as two tables outside.

Lobster ShackXpress will be open through February, at which point the owners and shopping center management will evaluate if it should continue or not, Deutsch said.

"This is a pop-up venture to see if it's a working idea," he said.

In 2015, Deutsch tried a new concept, opening a pizza and burger joint at at the Ladera Country Shopper, a few storefronts away from that Lobster Shack location. Rusty's Roadside BBQ has since closed.

Lobster ShackXpress is located at 660 Stanford Shopping Center, #240C. Check out the menu below: