North Carolina seafood wholesaler opens a casual seafood restaurant

via Walter Magazine

“On the wall, a school of mullet swims toward the Carolina coast, the silhouette of barrier islands and the undulating line of mainland stark against the aqua sea. Where I’m standing would be just beyond the western edge of the map, at the newly-opened Locals Oyster Bar in Raleigh’s Transfer Co. Food Hall, which has slowly been rolling out new vendors. And I’m ready for seafood. Standing in line to order, I’m tempted by the classic fare flying out of the kitchen—shrimp po’boys, fish and chips, ceviche—but it’s the constant motion of the shuckers that has me mesmerized: Working in near-silence, they grab shell after shell: In less time than it’ll take to read this sentence, they’ll study one for for the briefest of moments, insert the tip of a shucking knife into the hinge, twist a wrist and drop a perfectly shucked oyster onto a bed of pebbled ice.

Locals Oyster Bar is the first foray into restaurants from the lauded fish wholesaler Locals Seafood, which will continue that part of its business as usual, including selling its oysters to some of the area’s finest restaurants and keeping up its fish market locations at farmers markets. The Locals Seafood team partnered with Person Street Bar to launch this new outpost with a full menu of wine, cocktails and local craft beer to go with that mouth-watering slate of seafood, plus a fish counter with whole fish, primal cuts and prepared food.

This new venture turned out to be a natural extension of what they were doing. “When we got involved with the Transfer project, we started with a fish market, then added an oyster bar, then it just got bigger and bigger,” says marketing manager Sarah Grace Smith. As it evolved, the feel of the space coalesced. “We wanted a spot that would channel the authentic, salty coast,” says Smith. “This is meant to be a spot to kick back, relax and hang out.” An adjacent dining room will also be opening with an entirely different look, feel and menu. “It’s a great outpost for Locals Seafood!” says Brian Habeeb, general manager of Locals Oyster Bar. “We hope the fish counter will inspire customers to pick up some fresh fish, go home and make something delicious.” Habeeb feels that “with seafood this fresh coming through the market and the kitchen, it would be a natural fit.””

Read the entire article in Walter Magazine here.