I like my seafood to be fresh and local (having grown up 20 miles from working waterfronts in my youth, I got spoiled on the taste). Plus, I like to support local families and communities. So what seafood restaurants in NC feature fresh and local seafood for the bulk of their menu? I called a few of the places I like to frequent with some mixed results:
1) Catch Restaurant - Wilmington, NC - as expected, their strategy is to source from local and sustainable seafood. The blurb at the bottom of their menu proclaims as much. They proudly feature "NC shrimp" and "local oysters". I've found not everything is always available, but that's a good thing. http://www.catchwilmingtonnc.com/
2) South Beach Grill - Wrightsville Beach, NC - this place led to a disappointing phone call. It had always been a staple of mine at the coast, and I know in times past their menu stated that the seafood was fresh and whatever they were selling in the adjacent market. Well, I called them and asked whether the shrimp and oysters were local, and they flatly said "no" and left it at that. They didn't even volunteer where it was coming from.
3) Backfins Crab House, Wake Forest, NC - the blue crabs here are awesome, but I asked about the other seafood sources. Oysters there are from Louisiana, and shrimp are "not local but domestic." I overheard another table recently state that the calamari looked "too uniform" to not be prepackaged, but that's hearsay.
4) Red Barn Grill, Hubert, NC (or Swansboro, NC) - this is a place at the very end of the road that features a seafood market and working dock and is a favorite gem for locals. When I called and asked about whether the shrimp and oysters were local, they seemed surprised that I would even be questioning it, and said, "you can bet your bottom dollar." I'm really gonna have to try this place soon.
So, that's my roundup. Anyone know of any other seafood restaurants, especially ones inland near the Triangle, that stick to local sources? I like calabash-style, and unfortunately a place that sources well like Blu Seafood and Bar in Durham doesn't tend to feature that style too much.
South Beach Grill
100 S Lumina Ave, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480
215 Princess St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Red Barn Grill
101 Red Barn Road, Hubert, NC
Backfins Crab House
110 S White St, Wake Forest, NC 27587