Skrimp Shack, the Virginia fried fish chain, opening restaurants in North Carolina

The fried fish chain Skrimp Shack will open its first North Carolina location in Durham in April 2018, with plans for five more restaurants in the Triangle and three in Charlotte.Skrimp Shack

A regional chain of fried fish joints in Virginia will open its first Triangle location in April, with several more on the way.

The Skrimp Shack now has 10 locations, mostly in the Newport News and Richmond areas of Virginia. Husband and wife Mitch and Stacey Hartman started it in 2011 as a fresh fish market that turned into a fried fish restaurant, proclaiming “the fattest fish sandwich.”

“We give customers a great value for their money,” Stacey Hartman said.

Its 12th will be in Durham’s North Duke Crossings strip mall off of Duke and Roxboro streets.

Franchise owner Jim Moore is opening the restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Blue Stingray, which specialized in Louisiana Cajun and crawfish boil. He plans to open two other Triangle Skrimp Shacks, possibly one in Fuquay-Varina.

Another franchise owner, Tom Elwell, has a three-restaurant deal for inside Raleigh’s beltline, meaning at least six are coming to the Triangle in the near future.

Stacey Hartman said another three are in the works for Charlotte.

Moore is a Raleigh native and East Carolina University graduate who has spent time working as a chef, but more recently started a hospitality recruiting company.

“This is a popular seafood concept that’s just killing it in Virginia,” Moore said. “I think people missed fried seafood, really. This is breaded and fried, not battered.”

Moore described it as fast-casual seafood, with most locations serving fried fish po boys and platters and shrimp, catfish and whiting fried by the pound. Sides include mac & cheese, fries, cole slaw, hush puppies and green beans simmered with pork.

The Blue Stingray closed in late February and Moore bought the restaurant shortly thereafter. The Durham Skrimp Shack will open April 9 at 3600 North Duke St. For more, go to theskrimpshack.com.

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