Cape Fear Seafood Company out of Wilmington, NC was founded by Evans Trawick in 2008 and built a loyal following serving fresh, local seafood in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. This proved a winning combination resulting in two additional successful restaurants in the Wilmington area. Evans then set his sights on franchising the proven concept and expanding into Raleigh.
Two long-time Cape Fear employees, Eddie Elliott and Matt Wivell, partnered to bring the restaurant concept to Raleigh. York Broker, John Koonce, helped them find the perfect location on Spring Forest Road in North Raleigh. Opening the doors in June 2019, the duo enjoyed nine strong months of breaking records and exceeding expectations.
Then the pandemic hit.
Governor Cooper ordered restaurant dining rooms closed on Tuesday, March 17. Pivoting is 2020’s over-used word, but that is exactly what Eddie and Matt did – and quickly. By Thursday, Cape Fear was down to 2 staff members: Matt was doing the cooking and Eddie was handling all orders and curbside delivery. They furloughed their staff but continued to pay them …(Once they received PPP funding)
Loyal customers from their first nine months of operation patronized the restaurant and word spread about their providing takeout service before many other restaurants in the area. By the third week of April their employees came back and they’ve continued to make it work through these unprecedented times (another 2020 overused phrase).
Hope really must spring eternal because Eddie and Matt just signed a deal to open a second location in Cameron Village.
When you visit any of their locations, you can expect a wide variety of seafood options from comfort-food Calabash-style platters to upscale chef-driven dishes. The vibe of the restaurant is casual, come as you are. Cape Fear wants to transport you to the beach and have a little something for everyone, offering $10 sandwiches and ½ price bottles of wine alongside seared Chilean sea bass and lobster risotto.
As for Eddie and Matt, they’re taking life one step at a time, working on building their brand in Raleigh, designing their Cameron Village restaurant and hopefully adding a third location before 2023. Who knows, maybe one day Cape Fear Seafood Company will be the Carolinas’ answer to Legal Sea Foods that dominates much of the Northeast.