Parkway Plaza has a new fast-casual restaurant. Skrimp Shack opened this month at 1103 Silas Creek Parkway on the southern end of the shopping center.
Skrimp Shack specializes in fried shrimp and fish, available in sandwiches, baskets and dinners. The types of fish used are catfish, whiting, mahi mahi, tilapia, flounder and haddock. The menu also includes chicken and other types of seafood.
Skrimp Shack is a franchise chain started in 2011 by Mitch and Stacey Hartman in Newport News, Va., who got into the restaurant business almost by accident after opening a seafood market. They started by serving a few fish sandwiches at their market from seafood they bought directly from the docks on the Virginia and North Carolina coast. That eventually led to the development of the Skrimp Shack, which now has 29 locations in four states.
The chain has grown considerably in the last year. As of June 2018, it had just 12 stores.
Most stores are in Virginia. The chain has one each in Georgia and Florida.
This is the chain’s first Winston-Salem location, but it has four other N.C. stores: in Raleigh/HollySprings, Charlotte, Durham and Fayetteville.
The fish is generally served fried with a light coating. It is dipped in milk, then a seasoned flour-cornmeal mix, then deep-fried. But for most items, customers can request grilled seafood. Customers ordering grilled seafood have a choice of seasonings: Cajun, Old Bay or House (with garlic).
Skrimp Shack boasts that it’s "home to the fattest fish sandwich" because each sandwich boasts 10 1/2 to 12 ounces of fish. (The actual weight can vary slightly because of the varying size of the pieces of fish). The sandwiches ($6.85 to $9.90) come with just the fish on a bun, with tartar sauce on the side. Lettuce and tomato are available on request.
Baskets ($7.55 to $12.95, including a side and drink), offer about 8 ounces of fish or, with a combination, 5 1/2 ounces of fish plus four jumbo shrimp. Dinners ($10.45 to $20.05, including a side and drink) have 10 1/2 to 12 ounces of fish, 20 jumbo shrimp or 10 1/2 to 12 ounces of fish plus eight jumbo shrimp.
Sides include fries, slaw, hush puppies, fried okra, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato fries, collards and green beans. Drinks include tea and sodas such as Pepsi and Cheerwine.
General manager Tatyana Estes said that the Po’ Boys ($9.75 to $10.85) are the most popular item. There are three — shrimp, shrimp and catfish, and shrimp and crabmeat — each served on a 6-inch hoagie roll with Skrimp Shack’s signature sauce.
The menu also has tacos and two-pound party platters.
Each location can customize its menu with the addition of specials. At the Winston-Salem store, specials include the Oyster Basket ($15.50) with 10 oysters, side and drink, and a la carte Crab Cake ($7.75).
The restaurant does not serve alcohol. It also is closed Sundays and Mondays.
Estes, a 2018 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said she has worked in fast food since she was a young teenager. “I’ve worked in Subway, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A. I’ve been everywhere,” she said. “I really like the atmosphere here. It’s more homey, personal. And everything is (cooked) to order.”
The franchisee at this location is Bryan Leybold, who also owns Skrimp Shacks in the Williamsburg and Chesterfield, Va.
Leybold said people often ask about the twist on shrimp in the restaurant’s name. "The founders, when they started selling seafood out of a truck, always said that no one ever pronounced shrimp right, so they started using the name 'skrimp' and it just stuck,” he said.
People can expect to Skrimp Shack’s fast growth to continue in the near future in North Carolina, Leybold said, including a possible restaurant in High Point. “We’ve got seven stores getting ready to open in the next six months,” Leybold said, “and probably 10 to 15 next year.”