By Maddy Vitale
Soon, it will be going, going, gone for the landmark giant red lobster in Sea Isle City.
Once a fixture for decades at the Lobster Loft restaurant, the iconic crustacean will be auctioned off Memorial Day weekend as part of the eatery’s rebranding.
James Bennett, owner of the Lobster Loft, created a letter-writing campaign in April seeking the public’s input on what to do with the estimated 30 feet long and about 15 feet wide decorative sea creature made of wood and fiberglass.
Bennett said there were lots of great suggestions from the public. He settled on the best of all, donating the proceeds of the auction, which will be held at the restaurant, to charity.
The charity he chose was Mike and Jeannie Monichetti’s Polar Bear Walk/Run for Autism held every February. Bennett’s other business, La Costa Lounge, is a major hub for the event and other festivities throughout the huge weekend, which includes the Polar Bear Plunge.
“Jimmy Bennett has a big heart,” Mike Monichetti said Friday. “He is always giving back to the community and always first to step up and help a friend in need. Sea Isle is very fortunate to have both a businessman and a family man of Jimmy Bennett’s caliber.”
In addition to the auction, there will be a live performance by the band FunZaLuv at 9 p.m. May 27.
The Lobster Loft overlooks a lagoon on 42nd Place in the heart of the historic Fish Alley neighborhood, where there are family-owned restaurants and fishing boats.
The big lobster that has adorned the entrance to the Lobster Loft since at least the 1990s wouldn’t exactly “fit” with the planned pub-style eatery. The rebranded restaurant is set for a soft opening May 19, Bennett said.
Bennett, owner of the Lobster Loft since 2006, has not yet announced the new name of the restaurant.
Bennett said in a previous article that the lobster has served to draw customers to the restaurant, which is located at the base of the John F. Kennedy Boulevard bridge entering Sea Isle.