Chef and restaurateur Chad White is closing his two High Tide Lobster Bar locations in Spokane because the price of lobster is no longer viable for his business and consumers, White said Sunday morning.
“We will remain open until we run out of product, but I anticipate that Monday or Tuesday will be the end as all purchases from our vendors have been halted,” White said.
White said he operated High Tide with margins well below industry standards hoping prices would come down; however, they have only increased. The current wholesale price for high tide lobster is over $64 per pound.
The industry standard for food cost percentage at a seafood restaurant is around 29% to 33%, which means that to hit that benchmark, White would have to sell his lobster roll for $59 per roll, he said.
“The majority of our consumers won’t pay for this, and I don’t blame them, nor do I want to charge for it,” said White, who grew up in the Spokane Valley and appeared on season 13 of “Top Chef” on Bravo. .
Last summer, High Tide introduced a few new menu items, including the Shrimp Roll, Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Roll, and Scallop and Bacon Roll, each at $16 a roll to bring down the price of menu.
However, customers simply paid the higher price for the lobster or left empty-handed — and most have something negative to say about the hole it left in their wallets, White said. The lobster roll when High Tide opened in 2019 was $16; it’s currently $38 based on the cost of the lobster.
“I worked hard to get the High Tide Lobster Bar trademark with the intention of expanding into overseas markets,” White said. “Hopefully I can eventually get it back on the market when lobster prices and the supply chain stabilize.”
White said his team is working on fun, casual new concepts that will meet the demand that accompanies the region’s multiple sports venues, office tenants and families and caters to a wider demographic.
“The Numerica Building gateway location and the Wonder Building location have been incredible opportunities, and I am committed to being part of their growth and success,” said White. The Numerica location, at 502 W. Riverside Ave., temporarily closed in June.
“I am extremely grateful for the support of our community over the past two years, and look forward to bringing the same level of quality to them with exciting new restaurants,” said White. High Tide in the Wonder Building at 835 N. Post St. is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.
White said he plans to reopen both locations with new designs in early summer. Chad White Hospitality Group also includes Downtown Zona Blanca and TT’s Old Iron Brewery and BBQ in the Spokane Valley.
White announced last month that he was opening the Uno Mas taco shop in the Spokane Valley in mid-March.