People and Places with Pierce: The Washington Crab & Oyster Company

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Eastern North Carolina is known for having great seafood. But there’s one place in Washington that truly offers anything your seafood loving heart desires.

“We have scallops, shrimp, oysters,” said Sharon Smith, manager of the Washington Crab & Seafood Shack. “We also carry a wide range of fish, everything from flounder to white perch.”

The Washington Crab & Oyster Company has been serving up fresh seafood in their market for over a decade.

“Shrimp is the big seller,” said Tony Tripp, owner of the Washington Crab & Oyster Company.

But this market has a long history with crabs.

“At one time there were as many as 58 crab processing plants in North Carolina but today it’s down to like 6,” said Tripp. “We are one of those plants that is still surviving. In the ‘60s, a local business man named Ted Day acquired a facility and opened a retail market in it. I remembered the Ted Day experience of coming here when I was a boy to sell crabs. If you came here on a Friday or Saturday, you would literally wait hours because the retail market was so busy. So obviously in 2002 when I bought the facility the first thing I did was reopen that retail.”

It’s a move that would prove wildly successful. But Tripp found his customers wanted something more.

“Three and a half years ago we opened a small little shack across town just because we had some many customers looking for a local seafood experience and there was nowhere really locally that I could recommend,” explained Tripp.

Over at the Washington Crab & Seafood Shack, it’s all about fresh and fast. It’s as simple as walking up to the window, placing your order, and it’s out to you in a matter of minutes.

“The Seafood Shack was an idea from our owner, Tony Tripp,” explained Smith. “He’s been in the seafood business since God was a small child.”

“My motto in the restaurant is we’re not fancy, we’re just good,” said Tripp.

“We get local product to be able to bring to local people because that’s what they want,” said Smith. “When you open a business in a local town like this, it has everything to do with your word, your product, and how you present it. And if you do that well, people will support you. We actually had a customer ask the other day, she said: there’s not a policy against coming too often is there? And I was like no ma’am, there’s not.”

Thank goodness! Whether it’s the market or the shack, it just might become one of your favorites too.


Pierce is always looking for interesting and unique people and places to visit. If you have an idea, send him an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter.


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