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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Wilmington’s Seaview Crab Company opens kitchen, deli at Marstellar location

Head chef Brandon Stark unloads steamed shrimp from Seaview Crab Company’s recently-opened kitchen at its Marstellar Road location. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

WILMINGTON —- After spending over a decade selling fresh raw seafood to restaurants and customers, Seaview Crab Company is exploring prepared dishes with its recently opened kitchen and deli.

The regional seafood company has long focused on retail and wholesale seafood sales, with two stores in the Wilmington area and five open-air markets.

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Nathan King, who co-owns the company with brothers Joe and Sam Romano, said opening a kitchen has been on their mind from the start.

“Before, it was just fresh fish. We just had to keep it fresh, get it as fresh as we can and make sure it was fresh going out the door,” King said. “Now, it’s just a different game.”

No indoor or official outdoor seating is on-site at the Marstellar Road location (the only spot customers can find hot Seaview food). All plates are offered to-go, but King said outdoor seating with an expanded deck could be built in the coming months.

“We’re trying to baby step it,” he said. The Marstellar Road location will also double as a commissary kitchen, pumping out deli options to supply its other locations with pre-packaged seafood dips, spreads, salads, and poke bowls.

Kitchen manager Brad Royal pours a customer a sample of Seaview Crab Company’s soup of the day, crab chili. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

Menu items are still being tweaked, with the whole team working out which items will remain as staples. “We’re starting out real simple. But it’s going to be an iterative process with feedback from customers,” he said.

Seaview recruited the executive chef from Michael’s Seafood Restaurant in Carolina Beach, Brandon Stark, to head the new kitchen. Stark said he is experimenting with new options, including introducing a seafood sausage dish, to fill out the new menu.

Hot staples likely to remain include a soup of the day, fried shrimp or oyster po’ boy, crabcake sandwich, fish or chicken sandwich, gringo or street tacos, and a cheddar grits dish with shrimp or fish. The deli will stay stocked with crab dip, pre-packaged half-pound seasoned steamed shrimp, and other seasonal dishes.

As a seafood supplier, the kitchen has the benefit of fresh, seasonal options.

“It makes having options to cook in the kitchen night and day compared to if we were just starting out fresh with it,” King said. “We feel lucky to have the variety of seafood to utilize on a week to week basis as opposed to ordering it.”

Hours may be extended at the Marstellar location, located at the corner of South 16th and Marstellar streets, in the coming months, but for now, the store is open Sunday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 7 p.m.

About two-thirds of Seaview Crab Company's business comes from retail seafood sales, with the remaining third earned through wholesale partnerships with local restaurants, according to co-owner Nathan King. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
About two-thirds of Seaview Crab Company’s business comes from retail seafood sales, with the remaining third earned through wholesale partnerships with local restaurants, according to co-owner Nathan King. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee Still at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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