Sabin Lomac, 37, a co-founder of the food-truck business Cousins Maine Lobster, hosts an episode of his new Cooking Channel show, “Seaside Snacks and Shacks,” at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth recently.

SCARBOROUGH — Sabin Lomac is at his family’s cozy vacation home overlooking the Nonesuch River, packing up to head back to his other life in Los Angeles. He’s just wrapped up filming his first season as host of “Seaside Snacks and Shacks,” a new Cooking Channel show that makes its debut at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 19, and took a few days off afterward to spend here with his mother, his fiancée and their new baby boy.

Family is a big theme in Sabin Lomac’s life. The host of a new Cooking Channel program poses here with his mother, Jeannie Lomac, right, his fiancee, Erika Hartounian, and their 10-month-old son, Enzo.

Lomac, 37, is already well known for Cousins Maine Lobster, the food-truck business he started with his cousin Jim Tselikis and grew into a fleet of 28 trucks serving 16 U.S. cities after appearing on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank.” It might seem as if Lomac’s boy-next-door good looks and outgoing personality make him a natural for the job of TV host, but “Seaside Snacks and Shacks” was the eighth or ninth – even he has lost count – food show pilot he’s made in the past few years.

“You just get used to not having expectations,” he said, admitting that the previous rejections were a little discouraging. “Now I go into it knowing I’m going to put my best foot forward, prepare, do as good of a job as possible, and then whatever happens happens, because there’s a lot of things I can’t control.”

Still, he recalls screaming with joy when a Food Network executive called to tell him he finally got the gig. He called his fiancee first, then his mother, then went off to find his best friend.

In the first season of the show, Lomac travels to California and the Carolinas, New England, south Florida, the Gulf Coast and Lake Michigan, sampling lots of beach food along the way. In the first episode, he visits Lulu’s in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which is owned and operated by Lucy Buffett, the sister of singer Jimmy Buffett. On the menu: a fried green tomato and pimiento cheeseburger.

Maine appears in four of the season’s six episodes. Lomac visits The Shack in Old Orchard Beach to try its Crispy Lobster Roll with Brown Butter Hollandaise. Another episode finds him at The Garage in Scarborough, a new barbecue restaurant, where he tried a Pork Belly Lobster BLT. Later, he downs a lamb-and-pork burger at Silly’s in Portland. And in the final episode, he happily eats Clam Cakes and Fish Bits at the seasonal Salty Bay Seafood in Scarborough, one of his childhood haunts.


“I used to love being the first customer there,” he said.

Lomac makes suggestions to producers about where to go in Maine, but the network chooses where to shoot. He had never been to The Shack before, and he had never heard of The Garage, and at first refused to believe that it was in Scarborough. “Then they told me it was in the old Conroy’s Garage, where my mother used to get her car fixed, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is crazy!'” he said. “And their food was awesome.”

Sabin Lomac, one of the founders of Cousins Maine Lobster, is filmed near one of the company’s shacks at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth late last month. His new Cooking Channel program, “Seaside Snacks and Shacks,” begins airing at 10 p.m. next Thursday.


Before launching his new side career, Lomac went to Food Network headquarters in New York (the Food Network and the Cooking Channel are both owned by Discovery, Inc.), where he went through a kind of TV host boot camp with a team of chefs, producers and directors. He learned how to handle different personalities, and they gave him books so he could bone up on his food vocabulary. He’s also learned to listen to the more experienced directors and producers on-site who advise him how he can improve his performance.

“I try to be as authentic and genuine and real as possible because I think that’s what they’re looking for,” Lomac said.

Out of context, that might sound a little contradictory, but spend a little time with Lomac and it’s clear his strong connection with his Scarborough roots has helped keep his feet on the ground. He prefers fried clams to fine dining. He is both down-to-earth Mainer and savvy L.A. businessman. One minute he’s discussing the opening of a Cousins Maine Lobster restaurant in Taiwan, the next he’s talking baby talk with his 10-month-old son, Enzo, playing peek-a-boo and proudly pointing out his first two teeth and the fact that he has just learned to say “Dada.”


Lomac was raised by his mother, Jeannie Lomac, in a single-parent household. His father was never in his life, and by age 12 or 13, Lomac was starting to get into trouble at school and with local police. He points to a teeny-tiny cross on his right arm, confessing, “I did this when I was 13 with a needle and ink.”

“That’s when I got him a Big Brother,” his mother interjects.

His mother is talking about the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program. She got her son on a two-year wait list, and when he was finally paired with a Big Brother, “it just really helped me turn my life around,” Lomac said. “He would come to my soccer games and my basketball games. He would talk to me about girls or drinking or any of the things I had no one at the time to talk to about.”


When he moved to L.A., Lomac knew that he wanted to pay it forward, so he became a Big Brother to a 13-year-old whose father was incarcerated. That 13-year-old is now a 19-year-old who works for Cousins Maine Lobster.

Lomac and Tselikis also started a nonprofit, called Cousins for a Cause, that partners with the Los Angeles chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Lomac joined the board of the organization, and in 2016 was named National Big Brother of the Year. Next to having his son, Lomac considers it “the coolest achievement I’ve ever had.”


Lomac now has two fresh – and much larger – tattoos on his left arm, put there by two of the top tattoo artists in the world, much to the dismay of his mother. “Mom doesn’t love it,” Jeannie Lomac said, even though one of them is a striking portrait of her father, Lomac’s grandfather.

“He was everything to me,” Sabin Lomac said. “This is a reminder that he’s always watching and he’s always looking after me, and I want to make him proud. I remember when I was 12, he told me, ‘You’re the man of the house, and you have to start acting like a man. If you want something, you have to go work for it. You have to get a job.’ He taught me the value of saving money and working hard, and not cutting corners.”

The other tattoo is of a sleeping Enzo covered in sea spray “because I love the ocean.” He added that one to remind him that his son is “always looking at me and looking up to me.”


Family is a big theme in Lomac’s life. He and Tselikis call the people who buy into Cousins Maine Lobster “family members” instead of franchisees. Barbara Corcoran, the shark from Shark Tank who partnered with the cousins, has become a close friend who stays at the Scarborough house – a modest wood-shingled place that Lomac’s uncle bought 21 years ago as a family vacation home – when she visits Maine. They eat pizza and fried seafood and play Scrabble. Lomac says Corcoran is “as real as it gets.”

“For the last six years, she’s seen everything and been a part of it – engagements and babies and weddings, good and bad,” Lomac said.


Lomac and Tselikis agreed that, should one of them get a TV gig – Tselikis has been approached, as well, and made his own pilots – they would consider it an extended arm of their business and split the money like they split everything else. Like a family does.

“While I’m gone, I’m still working 100 percent full time,” Lomac said, “but it’s just not the same as being physically at the office. There’s just more that will hit his desk.”

It took three months to shoot the new show, traveling and filming at four locations every other week. Lomac rose around 5 a.m. every day so he could work before his call time of 8:30 or 9 a.m. He got an hour for lunch, but since he wasn’t hungry after eating for the show all morning, he’d work then, too, catching up on calls and the hundreds of emails he gets daily. And when they wrapped at 4:30 or 5 p.m., he was still able to get some work done on California time.

“It was intense,” he said. “It was fun, it was exciting, it was tiring.” The hardest part is being away from his fiancee, Erika Hartounian, and Enzo, especially when he was a newborn. “Every week, I’d come home and something would be different. And it was hard on her,” he said.

Lomac and Hartounian have been together for 10 years, since before the launch of Cousins Maine Lobster, and they got engaged two years ago. He flew back to L.A. to get her and the baby after he finished shooting the first season of “Seaside Snacks and Shacks,” and they returned to Maine for a vacation. It was Enzo’s first visit to Maine, and even though his son is just 10 months old, Lomac took him to the beach every day and to all his favorite old hangouts, including a night walking around Old Orchard Beach. They grabbed some fried clams and fried scallops at Ken’s Place.

“I definitely miss Maine,” Lomac said. “Just being here, I was very nostalgic. I see my old buddies. I see my best friends I grew up with. It’s just such a different vibe.”


He returns to Maine every one to three months for work, and vacations here once or twice a year. With the new show, he said, “I want to come here as much as possible. Shooting here the last week was kind of like a vacation. It was fun. Anything we can do to highlight Maine and the local restaurants and people here, that’s what we want to do.”

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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