Seafood Chain Opening First NYC Restaurant in Kips Bay

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Food truck-turned-restaurant chain Cousins Maine Lobster is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in New York City after inking a lease at 77 Lexington Avenue in Kips Bay, Commercial Observer has learned.

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The seafood franchise signed a 12-year deal for 2,700 square feet at the base of the four-story, mixed-use residential building at the southeast corner of East 26th Street, according to a release from Newmark Knight Frank, which represented Cousins Maine Lobster franchisee Yunus Shahul in the transaction.

The restaurant, slated to open before the end of this year, will occupy 1,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space and an additional 1,200 square feet of lower-level basement space, NKF said. The location was previously occupied by gluten-free Italian restaurant Tali.

Asking rent in the deal was $190 per square foot, or approximately $24,000 per month, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction. NKF’s Jared Lack worked on behalf of both the tenant and the landlord—a private owner doing business under 77 Lexington Avenue Associates LLC—in negotiations.

In a statement, Lack described Kips Bay as “a thriving neighborhood for restaurants” given the “dual office and residential makeup” of the surrounding area.

“A steady flow of young professionals who live in Kips Bay, coupled with the thriving Park Avenue South office corridor, should make this an ideal spot for the first New York City Cousins Maine Lobster brick-and-mortar restaurant,” he said.

Cousins Maine Lobster was founded in 2012 by two real-life cousins, Jimmy Tselikis and Sabin Lomac, who started out of a single food truck in the Los Angeles area. An appearance on the popular reality television series Shark Tank resulted in an investment from one of the show’s “shark” panelists, Corcoran Group Founder Barbara Corcoran, and today the enterprise is franchised with six brick-and-mortar locations and 30 food trucks throughout the U.S., according to its website.