Steve was a self-described “summer brat” on Goose Rocks Beach. Most of his time was spent lounging on the beach, selling lemonade to passersby, causing mischief in town or waiting tables in Kennebunkport.
With all his stays during peak season, Steve became all too familiar with the iconic lobster in the region – his personal favorite coming from Captain’s Restaurant in Cape Porpoise (gone now) – but he had never stepped foot on a lobster boat. His only experience with lobster had been from the restaurants where he ate or worked.
Steve moved to Maine full time after graduating from Bates College. While driving back from a paper sales job, Steve saw a “for sale” sign stuck in the snowbank outside The Clam Shack – a restaurant he’d come to know well growing up. He saw an opportunity to carve out a larger role for himself in the industry. He scraped to save and did everything he could to make his lobster dreams a reality. The Jacques family, the former owners, sold the restaurant to Steve and showed him the ropes. In the summer of 2000, he opened the doors for his first summer season and hasn’t looked back since.
“My lobster experience truly began that summer, and I loved it,” said Steve. “I always say I can work an 18-hour day every day and still look forward to the next one. I love serving good food that makes people happy.”
Over his 24-year career with The Clam Shack, Steve has continued the restaurant’s legacy and the family-run nature of the restaurant, with his father, wife and daughters all stepping in to serve in various roles.
The riverside stand (shack) has served countless families visiting Kennebunkport over the years, earning many accolades – and was even deemed the best lobster roll by celebrity chefs like Antoni Porowski. Despite his restaurant’s growing accolades, he always gives credit to the lobstermen who help make it all possible.
“Our lobster rolls wouldn’t be possible without the world’s best quality lobster,” said Steve. “I primarily buy from one family of lobstermen. A lot of people come to The Clam Shack, and I’m glad that it can directly benefit the local fishing families in the community.”
As a longtime resident, Steve knows the power of lobster on the local economy. When other businesses had to close up in-person dining, The Clam Shack saw an upsurge in sales of their online lobster roll kit, which not only helped his employees but many local lobstermen in the area.
“Lobstering is a primary industry in Maine with over 4,500 licensed lobstermen and women,” said Steve. “It’s not a side gig for these families, it’s a generations-deep business. I’m proud to support our local lobstermen, and I’ll stand with them to help sustain a healthy fishery and the communities that rely on it.”
What is your favorite way to eat Maine Lobster?
“Obviously, I’m a superfan of my lobster roll with butter and mayo. But my real favorite is a pile of boiled, brine-rich lobster beauties from our time-seasoned boiler, served on the back deck of the Shack with a bunch of family, friends and beer.”
What is the best part of living in Maine?
“I can’t answer that. It’s everything and where I always wanted to be. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. It may be ‘Vacationland,’ but it’s home to me in the deepest sense of the word!”
What makes you proud to go to work every day?
“I sometimes can’t believe I get to call this my job. I’m very proud of the physical place The Clam Shack, the success of the brand, and the quality of both the food and atmosphere. I have a job that makes a lot of people happy. I’m really proud of that.”
What is special to you about Maine Lobster or the Maine Lobster fishery?
“If I step back and take a look at my life, Maine Lobster is one of the things that’s had the biggest impact. For the past 24 years, it’s been the center of my universe, providing me a career and an income. It’s brought me recognition and experiences I could never have imagined. It’s provided a direction for my need to orate, it’s brought me friends and relationships and real fulfillment in my work.”
Meet The People Behind the Fishery
A diverse group of people passionate about Maine and the lobster industry.