Three years ago, Chef Jamie Walker started serving seafood smothered in his secret sauce at pop-up locations in Dublin, GA.
Chaos ensued. People clamored for his creations and would stalk his schedule to find out where he’d be set up next.
When he moved to Charlotte, he operated the same way, and his first appearance resulted in a three-hour-long wait for customers.
In his pop-up days, Walker has served his food in parking lots, at a church and then in a shared kitchen at King of Spicy, an Indian restaurant formerly located on Albemarle Road.
Last fall, Chef Walker took the next step and bought the building from King of Spicy, and Seafood Connection was officially in brick-and-mortar business at 5546 Albemarle Road.
Here are 5 things you need to know.
Expect a wait.
According to Yashica Russell, Chef Walker’s girlfriend who helps operate the restaurant, people are still lining up to get their hands on this food. She says the best way to avoid the craziest crowds is to come by on Thursdays (although you’ll probably still be faced with a wait.)
The wait may be partially attributed to their limited hours of operation. The restaurant is only open Thursday 2 – 8 PM, Friday 12 – 8 PM, Saturday 12 – 9 PM, and Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM.
The portions at Seafood Connection are not for snacking. Expect big to-go boxes filled to the brim with fresh seafood, especially if you order anything covered in Chef Walker’s blend of butter and secret seasonings.
Looking for the works? Try the C-Port Platter ($40 steamed, $43.50 fried): one lobster tail, one crab cluster, 6-8 jumbo shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes, all topped with sauce.
You pay before you eat.
Here’s how it works. Come in, check out the menu, and order. You’ll pay, wait, then enjoy your food in their large dining area.
A separate cash register is operated to the side for to-go orders.
They serve Sunday brunch from 11 AM – 3 PM.
Current brunch offerings are shrimp or salmon tacos ($12), shrimp and grits ($18), lobster and waffles ($22), and chicken and waffles ($17). The regular menu is served all day.
Don’t think you’ll get much accomplished after a brunch like that.
A lot of love is put into this place.
Seafood Connection operates with a team of 14, and a few employees have been with Chef Walker since day one.
They pride themselves on serving fresh, never frozen product, and Chef Walker holds recipes close to his heart (so he’s almost always in the kitchen).
If you haven’t tried Seafood Connection, the crew encourages you to give them a shot.
“Once [customers] try the food, they’re like, oh my God, we’re coming back tomorrow,” said Yashica.