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Cheers to Lobster Shop celebrating their 35th anniversary

The Lobster Shop, a Tacoma icon on the waterfront, celebrates 35 years serving great seafood with a view. Photo courtesy Katie Driscoll

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It goes by the Latin name Homarus americanus. It can stretch to over two feet long and weigh 40 pounds. An Atlantic-dwelling, herring-munching monster, it's the heaviest arthropod on the planet. Forget Jurassic Park, this spiny devil originated during the Cambrian explosion a half-billion years ago. Pretty intimidating, right? Now imagine how delicious that Maine lobster would taste alongside an artichoke-fennel potato gratin. In your face, Poseidon! Now who's the lord of the deep?

The purchase of a tuxedo generates occasions that deserve one. Similarly, any dinner at Lobster Shop Commencement Bay is an instant special event. Last October, its patrons nominated Lobster Shop for best brunch, fine dining and seafood in western Washington. This fall, founder Denny Driscoll welcomes guests to his restaurant's 35th-anniversary celebration, which kicked off with a champagne benefit feast Sept. 21. That event raised over $41,000 for FISH Food Banks of Pierce County. The receipts from a single meal bought enough food for 25,500 more.

Why stop there? On Sept. 27, Lobster Shop launched a series of pop-up happy hours. "We're gonna announce them on random days," Katie Driscoll, the restaurant's co-owner and operations manager, explained, "Thirty-five days between now and the end of the year. We have a selection of appetizers for just 35 cents, and we also have cocktails and our house wine and beer for $3.50. Any time during the celebration, day or night, you can get a bottle of champagne for $35." That's a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, not incidentally, which normally runs $95.

Veuve Clicquot will also be the star of a champagne dinner in early December, but first comes a "35-mile fall harvest dinner." "That'll either be toward the end of October or the beginning of November," said Driscoll. "It features products within a thirty-five-mile radius. I don't know if we'll find sugar within thirty-five miles - but that is the intent, so we're working with some local farmers to develop a menu. For the champagne dinner, the purpose is to show that champagne goes with every course, and that it isn't necessarily just with appetizers and dessert."

As a further reference to Lobster Shop's anniversary, Driscoll advises guests born in 1981 to be extra careful to bring and show IDs. "They get a special surprise," she promised, "but if I told you (what it was), it wouldn't be a surprise, right? And that's every day, if they share our birth year." One thing that won't be a surprise, however: the quality of the food, thanks to chef Justin Mevs. The guy knows his way around both king salmon and Maine lobster. Do both appear on Lobster Shop's cedar-plank seafood trio? Yes, they do. Mevs "went to Johnson & Wales," Driscoll noted in passing, "one of the most acclaimed culinary schools in the world."

Conquering the crustacean for over a third of a century merits celebration. Here's to you, Lobster Shop!

Lobster Shop Commencement Bay, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays; 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday; 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4:30-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.759.2165

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