Not so long ago those who didn’t live near the water but who wanted to eat fresh seafood had to choose between expensive fine-dining restaurants or fry-it-all fast-food joints.
Now, a wave of multi-unit, fast casual seafood concepts are stepping in to fill the gap.
“We’ve seen the space grow significantly in the 12 years we’ve been around,” said Jonathan Weathington, CEO of 16-unit Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. “Because consumers are being more health conscious, they’re learning there’s a lot of benefit to eating things from the ocean.”
Similarly, chef Andrew Gruel, founder of Slapfish, a 19-unit concept committed to serving sustainable species, credits the shift toward more consumption of seafood to a growing awareness of its benefits.
“I think we’re going to see a massive increase in consumption of seafood,” he said.
That increase isn’t only for the short term, said John Shin, CEO of Prawn, a 2-unit seafood concept in Southern California developed by fine-dining chef Mark Peel. He predicted that seafood would be the protein of choice in the decades ahead.
May 1, 2019: This story has been updated with the correct location and opening date of the first Shuckin' Shack.