All summer long we’re serving up heaping plates of fried seafood along with grill favorites like lobster rolls, burgers, pulled pork, watermelon and corn on the cob. The food is cooked fresh, the portions are hearty and the “backyard BBQ” atmosphere keeps things casual. The hardest part of visiting our Grill & Seafood Shack is leaving room for dessert, which of course we highly recommend!
We sat down with Eliel Colina, Manager of Kimball Farm’s Grill & Seafood Shack in Lancaster, to see what he and his kitchen crew have been cooking up for the locals.
How long have you worked at Kimball Farm?
I’ve worked at Kimball’s since 2013, always at the Grill. I started as a prep guy and worked my way up to the kitchen line. Then became Supervisor, working for Steve who was Grill Manager at the time. A few years ago, when Steve moved over to the Westford location, our GM Mary Beth felt I was ready to take over — I’ve been the Manager ever since.
What do you love most about your job? What can be challenging?
I love being connected with all my employees. Kimball Farm is a family-run business and the “family” feeling is definitely something we experience working together each day. We’re all pretty close and always pitch in to help each other. We strive to do our best because we truly care about this place.
Every season we hire lots of people, and for many of them Kimball’s is their very first job. Sometimes it can be challenging to hire, train and manage these new, younger employees that are still in high school. We teach them not only how to do the things we need them to do at the Grill, but also guide them on how to just generally “have a job” since so much is new to them. That being said, they keep me young! And bring a nice energy to our fast-paced environment.
What do you think is the “best kept secret” about Kimball’s in Lancaster?
Our Turkey Clubs! The bread is perfectly toasted, the turkey is always fresh and thick-cut, the bacon is crisp…. need I say more. You gotta try one!
What are the top 3 most popular items at the Grill right now?
Definitely our Captain’s Seafood Platter, our famous Lobster Roll, and our Fried Chicken Tender Plate. The Captain’s Platter is a big hit with seafood people since it includes clams, shrimp, scallops and haddock. Lobster Rolls are extra popular once the weather gets hot and people are looking for something cool and refreshing. And the Chicken Tender Plates are huge with all the soccer kids we get from the fields across the street.
What question do you get the most? Has there been one that left you scratching your head?
The most common question we get at the Grill is “When is cruise night?” People in this area are OBSESSED with our Cruise Nights and can’t wait for the season to start, which is always right around Memorial Day. Those happen every Friday night all summer long. The strangest question I’ve gotten is “Does a BLT have bacon?”
What’s Cruise Night like?
The vibe here on Cruise Night is what I’d call “mellow chaos” LOL. We know it’s going to be extra busy, with tons of people and long lines. But with all the cool cars around and the DJ spinning up good tunes there’s a laid-back feeling even though things are also super hectic, if that makes sense. As a team we always get through it and enjoy the night, and we appreciate the customers who have patience and understand we’re doing our best to keep things moving!
If you were given complete control to add something new to the menu, what would it be?
Definitely Salmon. I would love to expand to other seafood. And instead of frying it, I would grill it so we have something a little different to offer.
Do you get a lot of regulars?
We get regulars all the time. We have one who prefers her hot dog VERY well-done (ok, burnt!). We have one who comes a few times a week for lunch and always gets the BLT with extra bacon, and coleslaw on the side. Our most regular customers are the soccer families that come over from the fields across the street.
What’s your favorite Kimball Farm ice cream?
Coffee Oreo with a waffle cone, with the WAFFLE CONE being the most important part. The ice cream is delicious (of course) but the waffle cone takes it to another level for me.
Anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to mention?
I’d like to give a shout-out to Lancaster’s GM, Mary Beth. She’s an amazing leader, teacher and friend and keeps this place running smooth day-in and day-out. And I also want to extend a huge thanks to Steve for being a great example to me early-on in my career, and giving me the opportunity to learn and grow.
Check out the hours and menu for Lancaster’s Grill & Seafood Shack here. And if you’re in Lancaster and see Eliel serving up some piping fresh plates, be sure to say hello — and don’t be afraid to ask for extra bacon!
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