I look forward to spiney Lobster season every year! I used to go to Puerto Nuevo, Mexico and get a huge lobster lunch for $10, but since it’s not as safe to travel I have been to create the seaside meal at home. I've been able to buy the lobster from different vendors over the years, but either the lobster was overpriced, or they tasted old. My guess is that they probably keptthe lobsters in tanks for weeks at a time. So, I was elated to find Critters Lobster who sells every other Saturday at a dock in San Pedro.
Captain Scott built the Critters fishing boat in 1986. He has been a fisherman for over 40 years now and primarily fish crab and lobsters when in season. The company started out and have always been wholesalers. They fished and sold to different distributors. Then Covid hit. They became nervous and scared. The restaurants that would buy their daily catch were now closing or only selling take out. The need for catch diminished by 75%. So, they pivoted. They researched and obtained all the necessary licensing to be able to sell to the public. By selling their catch off the dock themselves, they knocked out the middleman and then were able to sell their catch to consumers like you and me at a discounted rate. I'm happy because I can buy fresh sustainable crab and lobster for tremendously less than buying it at a grocery store that could have had the lobsters sitting in a dirty tank for weeks.
The concept was simple. Continue to fish and sell as wholesale and then sell to the public every other weekend. The first few weekends were slow but they jumped on the social medial bandwagon and used Instagram as their marketing tool. After contacting cooking and food influencers, each week has shown a substantial increase.
All dock visits are by appointment only. Follow them on instagram and when you see the next dock sale date, send them a DM. Denise will give you an arrival time and the directions to the dock. (Kind of feels like a crustacian speakeasy) When you get there, walk down the ramp and check in. From there you literally get to point and pick which crab/lobster you want to purchase. Everything will be weighed and you'll be checked out. Its currently cash only and be sure to bring your own cooler with ice.
Quite honestly, I think the best part about going to the dock is that the owners Scott and Denise love people so much. Scott and son Ryan love to educate and will answer any question that you have. Like how can you tell if they are male or female? How can you tell if the catch is fresh? And while they are doing this Denise is greeting and talking to everyone. Don't be surprised if she asks to take a selfie with you! (Masks on) They are great people and have a great product.
If you've never had fresh lobster or crab, I urge you to follow them on instagram to find out when their next market sale is. You won't regret the experience!
Critters Lobsters San Pedro, CA