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Lobster in Detroit? Sure, Why Not.

nick and kathryn wilson

Nick Wilson of Detroit’s Lobster Pitstop and Food Truck is a seasoned chef whose resume ranges from exclusive resorts to hospitals and universities. He was cooking for the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale when his aunt Kathryn Wilson from Michigan approached him about opening a food truck. At first he didn’t think she was serious. Until she called and said she found a truck. The only caveat? Both wheels and an ignition were missing.

He liked the idea and started flying back and forth from Florida to Michigan to work on the truck and set it up for service.

It didn’t take long for word to spread about his deep-fried crabcake over creamy Cajun fettuccine, cheesy grits with sauteed shrimp, lobster and fresh herbs and fried lobster with garlic on a buttered roll. Pre-Covid, they could be found in various parking lots around Detroit, but then pivoted to just one. Now, they’re back on the road (the location is always listed on their Instagram) and they have also added a brick and mortar location in Dearborn.

We sat down with Chef Wilson to learn about the truck’s humble beginnings, what makes his seafood so good and to find out what’s next.

lobster pitstop truck

How did you develop this concept?
In Florida, I was working with fresh seafood day in and out. I enjoy the ocean. I also am inspired by Italian food. I really loved it growing up, just making pasta with tomato sauce. Kathryn wanted the food truck to be related to seafood and she loved lobster. Also, people love fried food. It’s one of the top sellers in America. I thought I would try frying lobster and see how it went. I experimented a lot and finally came up with a delicious batter for the fried lobster.

What are the trials and tribulations of starting a food truck?
In 2016, there were only about five food trucks in Detroit. It was difficult trying to figure out how to do it properly and how to work with the health department. Everything— stoves, fridges, etc.— all must be custom made. Standard equipment won’t fit in a food truck. I spent hours researching to make sure we did it correctly.

Many food trucks do not get wide name recognition. What was your secret?
I stay true to the food, making sure it’s fresh and authentic. We source our lobster from Maine and our produce locally. Also, people love fast food. If you can make quality food fast and it’s fresh, that’s a winning combination. Also, my grandparents are from Mississippi and Alabama. The African American Community does a lot of soul food cooking. I learned from them about cooking with love and making sure we’re not taking too many shortcuts.

lobster roll

Tell us about your plans for the community.
We are currently looking into starting a community garden to help our business and the community. Here in Michigan the inner and surrounding cities don’t have fresh produce nearby. We’re hoping to partner with Detroit public schools to teach young children meal planning with fresh produce and gardening.

Any other future plans?
We plan to expand this year. I can’t say anything just yet, but you’ll start seeing more and more of us.


Victoria Pardo

Victoria Pardo is a practicing historic preservationist for FEMA with a dual interest in food and architecture. She earned her master’s in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, and enjoys consulting with historic sites and house museums, finding ever-changing ways to interpret food history. She has worked in the restaurant industry since the age of 16. She spends most of her time between Nantucket Island, MA, and Maine, working on her website, Food and Architecture, sharing stories, recipes and travel recommendations.



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