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The Day – Shaking Crab in New London will feature Cajun seafood – served by robots


New London – A location for Shaking Crab, a restaurant chain focused on Cajun seafood boils, is slated to open soon at the former Outback Steakhouse.

And the owners expect robots to deliver food to customers’ tables.

The Shaking Crab New London / Mystic franchise is the work of business partners Gulshan Soni and Deepak Verma. Verma is the director of New London Hospitality LLC, which owns the restaurant building at 305 N. Frontage Road and the Clarion Inn New London-Mystic next door.

As you enter the 260-seat restaurant, you are greeted by a fairly large crab hanging from the ceiling. Post a selfie with the crab and the hashtag #shakingcrabnewlondonmystic, and you’ll get 5% off your order.

In the ocean-themed restaurant, stuffed sharks hang from the ceiling above the 18-seat bar, and fillets dotted with lobster, crab and starfish decors separate the bar from the many seats. . Soni said he was also working on hanging a 15-foot crab above the panel in the front.

He said the plan was to open its doors to friends and family in late September and to the general public in early October, but he is still awaiting the arrival of the three or four service robots and is dealing with supply chain issues. more typical.

Its scheduled hours are Monday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

Open in New London since 2003, the Outback Steakhouse closed last year. Soni said he wanted to bring something unique to the area, and there are no Shaking Crab locations in Connecticut; the closest is in Providence.

He said menu items would include blue crabs, sleeper crabs, snow crabs, Alaskan king crab legs and lobster tails, with a few seafood-free options like chicken, pasta and vegetarian dishes. Ordering steps include level selection of seafood, gravy, and spices, and customers will receive bibs, gloves, and baskets.

Soni said the restaurant will be upscale, that the average price per person will end up being $ 70 to $ 80 – assuming they get seafood. A crab shortage has caused prices to skyrocket these. months, and Soni said crab legs now cost around $ 55 a pound.

He said menu items ranged from around $ 9 to $ 1,000 with the most expensive item being a 15 to 20 pound lobster.

“The server will come with a bell,” Soni said. “It’s like a show, you know? “

Soni believes he will have four robots, two that work with map programming and two that work with magnetic tape, which cost around $ 18,000 to $ 22,000 and $ 6,000 to $ 8,000, respectively.

Sitting in one of the booths for an interview on Friday, Soni showed a video of a robot saying, “If there is nothing else, touch my hand so I can go back to work.”

He said the presence of the robots was aimed both at dealing with staff shortages seen in the restaurant industry and at luring customers in with something unique.

But he said there will always be servers, who will come and explain the menu and take orders from customers, but the robots will deliver the food.

Soni is originally from India and started her career as a chef trainer at five star properties and then worked in managing destination weddings. He worked in Ethiopia and then moved to the United States in 2012. His wife, Priya Kohli, is a professor of statistics at Connecticut College, and they live in Mystic.

Soni said he worked at the Hilton in Groton and as a regional general manager for Phoenix Hospitality and New London Hospitality.

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