When Tony Christofellis was kicking around ideas for his new Angie’s Lobster drive-through restaurants, he knew he wanted the first to be in South Tempe.
“We selected Baseline and Hardy because of the density and diversity of the trading area,” Christofellis said.
He also knew that he wanted to borrow from the business and efficiency models of his Salad and Go, a drive-through chain he launched in 2013 and then sold last summer to make way for Angie’s Lobster, which opened Nov. 30 at 835 W. Baseline Road in South Tempe.
The shop, open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., is operating out of a food truck until build-out of the drive-through brick-and-mortar restaurant is complete in early 2022.
No cash is accepted. Payment is by debit/credit card and electronic benefits transfer only.
“The Salad and Go model was developed when I was young, while I was studying the business models of Southwest Airlines and Walmart,” Christofellis said. “It got further defined with two key mentors, Ed Kolodzieski and Jerry Schafer. More importantly, the team at Salad and Go problem-solved every day and worked super hard to do more with less. Without their sacrifice and our prior focus on efficiency, Salad and Go could never offer $5.74 salads.”
The same is true of selling a lobster dinner for less than 10 bucks.
Choose from the Lobster Roll Meal or the Fried Lobster Finger Meal, both served with french fries, toasted buttered bun, Angie’s Sauce and an iced tea or lemonade for $9.99. They’re the only two items on the menu, in keeping with the simplicity of Salad and Go.
Angie’s uses only wild-caught Maine and Canadian lobster, no langoustine (Norwegian lobster) or warm-water lobster.
“So we took what we learned over the years at Salad and Go and took it to another level with Angie’s,” Christofellis said. “We started with the question: ‘How do we make a wild-caught Maine and Canadian lobster meal as affordable as a chicken meal?’ From there we did the math and problem solved until we cracked the code. We have an incredible team that is focused on efficiency. We chase efficiency, we don’t chase revenue. We obsess about efficiency. That is a big difference that allows us to make the ultimate luxury food priced the same as a chicken meal.”
Christofellis dedicated his new venture to his late mother, Angie, who was born on a Greek island and moved to Boston at a young age. An immigrant single mother of two, she worked in seafood restaurants her entire life and then opened Angela’s Seafood outside of Boston. Seafood was in her blood. She passed away from cancer March 2, 2020.
“Angie’s Lobster was created to honor our mother and make sure that the love we feel every day gets passed on to the next generation and to future generations — a company that will live every day like she lived her life, with love, courage, compassion, servant leadership, energy, fight and fun,” Christofellis said.
More information: angieslobster.com.