Clawdaddy's looks a little like an L.L. Bean catalog come to life: white bead board, rustic lighting, even a carved wood moose head on the wall.
But instead of the lounging Labradors familiar from the catalogs of the Maine-based company, Clawdaddy's is bringing another New England speciality, fresh lobster rolls, to Lexington. Crab and shrimp rolls, too.
The tiny independently owned restaurant opened last week off the corner of Broadway and Short Street.
For anyone who has had a chain-restaurant lobster roll, Tom Rogers, who owns Clawdaddy's with his wife, M.J., promises a different and more authentic treat: a split-top roll brimming with lobster meat and no fillers, topped with a bit of mayonnaise, a smidge of butter and some proprietary seasoning.
"We don't want to give less lobster and more superfluous product," Rogers said.
Lobster rolls are $16, or $8 for a half-roll. Crab rolls are $7 and $14; and shrimp rolls are $4 and $8.
Also on the menu are freshly made whoopie pies ($3) — like two round chocolate cakes engulfing a layer of cream — blueberry pie ($5) and some seasonal desserts. The menu also has Maine craft beers and lobster bisque ($8).
Rogers is originally a New Yorker although his wife is from Kentucky. The two now live in Jessamine County. He said that before coming to Kentucky, the couple operated an upscale French bistro in Connecticut.
He called Clawdaddy's "a Maine seafood shack experience," with fresh lobster flown in twice weekly after being sustainably harvested.
Clawdaddy's plans to offer specials including a lobster BLT and lobster with guacamole to "see how many ways we can offer fresh shellfish," Rogers said.
"What we really want this to be .... is not fast food, but a gourmet experience quickly," he said.
He said the cluster of new restaurants in and near downtown "make Lexington a real downtown restaurant experience. It enriches the fabric of our lives."
IF YOU GO
Address: 128 N. Broadway
Phone: (859) 258-2529
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu.-Sat. Closed Sun. Hours might be extended to accommodate downtown events.
Note: Catering available.