Why would a guy who surreptitiously sells a controlled substance (OK, shellfish) out of his Brooklyn apartment allow journalists and camera crews to broadcast news of his operation’s existence? Even more curiously, why would such a person, after getting busted, go public again? Thrillist today reported that The Lobster Pusher Man (formerly known as the Underground Lobster Pound) has now taken his Maine lobster rolls to the street.
“I’m very willing to takes press,” says the Pusher himself, Ben Sargent. “But you have to realize that whatever I say runs the risk of getting me shut down.”
Soon after the Daily News article about his Greenpoint operation ran, the fire department showed up to close him down. He says that the article mentioned certain details, like his use of propane, that he’d meant to be off the record. So, why continue talking to the press?
“I could use the boost in business.”
Sargent says he now uses a commercial kitchen and no longer serves out of his apartment. To get your hands on his illicit rolls, you have to reach him via his Facebook page, and if you pass muster, he’ll arrange a drug dealer-style text-and-deliver appointment with you.
“I’m always checking up on people to see if they’re for real,” he admits about prospective clients. “You can usually tell by their profile. But you never know; it’s always a risk.”
Sargent has no plans to go legit with a restaurant or even a food truck. He hopes that, despite continued media attention, he won’t get caught again for peddling his not-quite-legal fare.
“The empanada guy never gets busted,” he points out. Maybe if he had a few more Twitter followers, he’d have to start watching his back, too.