New Waterfront Eatery on the State Pier Offers Steamed Lobster Dinners, Fresh Lobster Rolls, Lobsterman's Bisque and More Made from Lobsters Landed Right in Newport at Pier Nine on Long Wharf
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management, in partnership with the Fishermen in Newport, hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event today at State Pier Nine in Newport for the new Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen.
The Kitchen is an outgrowth of the popular Newport Lobster Shack Cooperative at the state pier on Long Wharf, where the Fishermen in Newport have been selling their catch – lobsters, crabs and conch – directly to the public since 2010. Now, with the new kitchen facility, the public has an opportunity to purchase a variety of freshly cooked items made directly from lobsters landed at Pier Nine. Visitors to Newport can now enjoy an affordable, local seafood meal 'picnic-style' under the shade pavilion on Newport's working waterfront.
According to DEM Director Janet Coit, the Newport Lobster Shack Cooperative is a powerful model for the survival of local fisheries. By selling their catch directly to the public, the fishermen can earn better value for their product, while ensuring that visitors have a stellar Rhode Island seafood experience.
"I am pleased that economic and environmental sustainability were addressed with this innovative idea to support Rhode Island's hard working fishermen," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "I thank Director Coit and her staff for their work to support our environment and economy."
DEM Director Coit noted that this collaborative initiative with the Fishermen in Newport is one of DEM's efforts to add economic value to the Rhode Island fishing industry. "All of the Kitchen's menu items including fresh steamed lobster, lobster rolls, lobster bites, lobster cakes, and hand-picked local lobster meat come straight from the lobsters plucked by fishermen in local waters and landed right here at State Pier Nine. You can't get any fresher than that!"
Lobster typically ranks as Rhode Island's second most valuable commercial fishery, behind squid. Lobster landings in Rhode Island (including dockside sales) in 2013 totaled 2.1 million pounds for a value of $9.7 million. Approximately 645,000 pounds were harvested by Newport fishermen fora value of $3.1 million. As Rhode Island-landed lobster are processed and move into the wholesale and retail markets, the total value of the fishery increases substantially – likely approaching $28 million – making it a crucial part of the state's economy. Rhode Island has approximately 250 lobster fishermen, with 45 landing lobster in Newport.
"I want to congratulate the Newport Fishermen's Cooperative and all the fishermen here at State Pier Nine for coming together to make the Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen a success. This endeavor is really their vision supported by their investment of time, hard work, funding, and resources. I hope it will be a boon to their businesses and that continues to draw even more people to the Newport waterfront to enjoy some locally caught, fresh off-the-boat-fresh lobster and seafood," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, who has worked with Rhode Island lobstermen over the years to secure federal funding for lobster gear exchanges and an ongoing lobster data collection project led by the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Reed has also been a champion of the "eat local" and tide-to-table movement in Rhode Island and led efforts at the federal level to help local growers, fishermen, and farmers market and sell their products.
Today, Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee, announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce will be providing another $190,000 in federal funding for URI, in cooperation with the Rhode Island Lobsterman's Association and others, to design and test new types of lobster and crab gear.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said, "I have focused my energy since becoming Speaker earlier this year on improving our state's economy. The fishing industry is a very important industry, and I am proud to support efforts such as this one to promote our hard-working fishermen and women."
President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed said, "This is a creative partnership that helps keep jobs in Rhode Island. The Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen supports an important industry, enabling fishermen to market locally harvested and locally prepared seafood direct to consumers. It wouldn't have been possible without Director Janet Coit, and the Senate appreciates her commitment to working with the state's fishermen to help maintain this vital industry."
"I visit the fishing pier regularly and I am very excited to see this new facility being opened that will be so helpful to our local fishermen," noted Representative Peter Martin of Newport. "As a former commissioner on the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission, I truly value the importance of Rhode Island's fishing industry."
Representative Deborah Ruggiero of Jamestown added, "The fishing industry is so important to our state's economy and I am thrilled about the opening of the Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen. I buy lobsters year-round at the pier and it's exciting to see the expansion from retail sales to a restaurant. I encourage everyone in our state to buy local and eat fresh!"
In addition to the Lobster Shack and Lobster Shack Kitchen, Pier Nine is the site of a farmers' market that opened in collaboration between DEM and the Pier Nine fishermen in 2011. Located at the edge of Newport Harbor, the market is open Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through October.
The family-friendly Newport Lobster Shack Kitchen is open daily from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is offering several grand opening specials through Labor Day.