Butch Yamali is the CEO of the Dover Group in the United States. After becoming famous, he wanted to do something he had liked ever since childhood, so he acquired quite a few properties, including Peter’s Clam House, which had become run down in recent years.
After refurbishing Peter’s Clam House and refreshing the menu, Butch Yamali then looked at the restaurant’s revenues. He became aware of the existence of an old lobster, which surprisingly had survived in the seafood restaurant for 16 years.
In the next couple of years, each time Yamali went to the restaurant, he looked to see if the lobster was still alive. As time passed, Yamali developed a special feeling for the lobster. He decided not to use that lobster for cooking, naming it Louis, and elevated its position to that of a mascot for the restaurant.
Louis was placed in an ornamental tank and Butch Yamali told the manager to take good care of it.
It is likely that Louis probably could have spent his entire life in this seafood restaurant, but one day, something unusual happened. A local customer saw Louis and asked Yamali how much money he wanted for him. The customer wanted to use Louis to make a lobster feast for his father, as a Father’s Day gift.
“He said that he was willing to spend US$1,000 to buy Louis,” Yamali said in an interview with The New York Times. It was the first time in 20 years that a local rich patron really wanted to buy Louis, but Yamali refused.
He felt very unhappy because he had already decided that Louis was his own pet. Yamali pondered over the matter and realized that this misunderstanding could happen again in the future.
As June is national lobster month in the United States, he decided to mark the occasion by putting Louis back into the sea.
On June 16 last year, Yamali invited the town official Anthony Santino to preside over the ceremony of Louis regaining his freedom. Yamali brought Louis along to a final farewell.
They got into a speedboat and released Louis into the waters off the Atlantic Beach Reef. Louis would definitely never come back. The 132-year-old, 22-pound lobster was finally free.
In the interview, Yamali said with a little sadness: “Louis has been here for 20 years, but he seems to really want to go. He was the largest and oldest lobster I have. I am really happy and sad.”
Being able to survive in a seafood restaurant for 20 years makes Louis a legend in the lobster world. After returning to the sea, we hope he can impart his experiences to the younger generations.
Translated by Yi Ming