New owner of former Ashmont Grill taps Lobzter King to run dining space

“Lobzter King” Jarvis Adams and Levi Samedi are combining their efforts with partner Rufus Faulk to open “The Mix” in the former Ashmont Grill space on Talbot Avenue in Peabody Square.
Seth Daniel photo

The former Ashmont Grill site at 555 Talbot Ave. has been sold to a South Boston developer who has signed on the Black-owned Lobzter King catering company to open a full-service restaurant there –a venture that will be known as “The Mix.”

Mark Little, of Abacus Builders, which has been very active in development in Dorchester recently, confirmed to the Reporter that an LLC controlled by him purchased Ashmont Grill last month from one controlled by former owners Chris Douglass and Tara O’Riordan for $1.5 million.

“I am delighted to let you know that Lobzter Kings will be our new tenant,” Little said, “and I’m excited to see life be brought back to this fantastic Dorchester location once again. I’m also happy to be on Lobzter King’s journey to test out their first brick and mortar store location. I can’t wait to bring in my neighbors for a preview as soon as possible. The menu will be awesome.”

Lobzter Kings is a venture that has existed for almost two years under Jarvis Adams – known as the Lobzter King – and has gotten rave reviews all over the region doing catering, events, and pop-ups. For “The Mix,” he will be joined by the developer Levi Samedi and Rufus J. Faulk, the city’s former chief of public safety.

Adams said he and his partners had been working with a broker about different options, but soon enough, they decided to go for it all.

“I got the email from the broker about Ashmont Grill, and he brought it to my attention, and I called Levi,” said Adams. “We were talking, and he was giving us some ideas of what we can do in there – maybe my catering and some pop-ups. But after we spoke, Levi, Rufus and I decided to come up with plan to do a restaurant, split it three ways, and go from there. We’re all childhood friends.

“It all seemed to come together, and we can pull it off. Right now is the time,” he added.

Samedi said he has been involved in development and construction in the area for several years and has been looking for a restaurant concept to get behind. Adams, his childhood pal, and roommate for more than 10 years, had a concept, so this move seemed right from the get-go.

“When this came up, it made perfect sense,” he said. “In Boston, we don’t see a lot of Black entrepreneurs and restaurants getting love. However, for the last couple of years I have noticed a big change in the restaurant business for African Americans. Lobzter King has been everywhere and everywhere he goes, everyone loves the food. Now they won’t have to wait for a pop-up or event – they can come here anytime.”

Adams said he reluctantly got into the cooking scene. When he and Samedi were roommates, they had parties frequently and he was always on the grill putting out lobster tails or chicken. Later, he started grilling lobster tails in his own special way for friends and family. Soon, he said, a good friend “forced” him to make it a business.

“That led to me marketing the business and the pop-ups and kitchen takeovers and events all over Massachusetts,” he said.

Adams said his mother was a pastry chef for years and she put the love of cooking into him when he was growing up in Mobile, Alabama. She has been living in Atlanta, he said, but now she is going to come up to Boston to be in the kitchen with him at ‘The Mix’ and be a member of the food team.

The partners said they aren’t ready to talk about everything they’ll do – they see the outdoor patio as a key part of the upcoming business – but it won’t just be lobster. “We are adding more to this than just the famous lobster,” said Samedi. “We are planning on doing breakfast with a twist. There isn’t much in Ashmont in the morning – maybe a Dunkin’ Donuts, but nothing like this. We’re trying to make a change here, especially for Dorchester.”

Adams said they have some ideas in mind for once the restaurant is up and running, including things like pop-up kitchen takeovers on Mondays with an up-and-coming chef. It’s something, he said, others did to help him on his journey to the Ashmont Grill site and he wanted to provide the same opportunity for others.

The new team is pursuing a liquor license and would at least like to open the doors with a beer and wine license to complement the food service – as was done with the former Ashmont Grill.

If all goes well, they said, they’d like to open the doors and be fully operational in mid-January.

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