Texas is probably not the first state that comes to mind when someone mentions lobster rolls, but Maine might be. Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, a seafood chain from Maryland, is bringing that famous Maine lobster all the way down to Austin with a new downtown restaurant at 200 Congress Ave.
The fast-casual restaurant, which opened its doors last week, sells lobster that was sustainably raised in Maine. You can get it on a roll, in a grilled cheese sandwich, in mac and cheese or over greens. Mason’s also offers shrimp rolls and shrimp salad, as well as classic New England sides like clam chowder, potato salad, coleslaw and Cape Cod chips. That can all be chased down with a Maine Root soda, in blueberry or root beer flavor, and followed by a Whoopie pie.
Taher Dhilla is at the helm of the Austin location, which is the first Mason’s in Texas.
“I grew up outside of Boston and used to go up to Maine all the time as a kid, and I missed having lobster rolls easily at my convenience when we moved to Austin,” Dhilla said. “We’re really so excited to open our doors, for a concept in Texas that is on occasion novel to a lot of people.”
Dhilla is hoping that Mason’s will serve to introduce lobster rolls to lots of Austinites. He made sure to open up before Austin City Limits Music Festival so that hungry festival-goers could stop by.
Though the location on Congress is the first Mason’s in Austin, it won’t be the last. Dhilla has a multi-store deal, and is already scouting spots in Austin and across Texas for the chain’s next location.
As Dhilla peeled butcher paper off the windows in the weeks leading up to the restaurant’s grand opening, he began to see folks peeking inside. Sometimes he’d head out to the streets to chat with them.
“I’ve tried my best to walk out and talk to folks and get their pulse,” Dhilla said. “And there’s just a really large amount of excitement for us starting up. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the response. We hope it carries through, tomorrow and into the future.”
Mason’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 200 Congress Ave.