Transfer Co. Food Hall is losing Locals Seafood oyster bar

Locals Seafood will close its Raleigh Oyster Bar as it builds a new headquarters in East Raleigh.

Locals Seafood will close its Raleigh Oyster Bar as it builds a new headquarters in East Raleigh.

Provision Studio

Transfer Co. Food Hall is losing one of its cornerstone tenants.

Locals Seafood announced Thursday that it will close its restaurant location in the food hall at the end of July. The move comes as Locals plans to build a new headquarters in East Raleigh.

The Raleigh seafood company made high-quality local seafood from coastal North Carolina more accessible when it opened in 2010, selling shrimp, then oysters and a wide variety of fish from state’s waters.

“This move will bring local seafood to customers in northeast Raleigh and Knightdale. We’re excited to have a permanent home for our company in our Raleigh,” Locals co-founder Lin Peterson said in a release.

The new Locals headquarters will open off of New Bern Avenue, just outside the Beltline, but Peterson declined to share a specific address. The market will open in an existing building as early as this fall.

Locals Seafood to open flagship retail market in east Raleigh .jpg
Locals Seafood will close its Raleigh Oyster Bar as it builds a new headquarters in East Raleigh. Provision Studio

Fry shack coming in spring

Raleigh architect Provision Studio, which also worked on Transfer Co. and Union Station, will design the new Locals headquarters.

A fry shack with picnic tables is planned for spring 2023, Peterson said.

The Transfer Co. location, named Locals Oyster Bar, was the company’s first foray into a restaurant of its own, serving a variety of raw oysters, clams, fried fish sandwiches and other North Carolina seafood.

Under chef Eric Montagne, the Locals Oyster bar offered new presentations of North Carolina seafood, including a tuna bloodline burger and an ambitious fish charcuterie program.

In 2020, Locals opened a second Oyster Bar in the Durham Food Hall. That location will remain open, the company said.

First exit for Transfer

Locals’ departure marks the first tenant to leave the popular Raleigh food hall. Peterson said Locals had reached an option in its lease and exits on good terms with the food hall.

“We wish those guys nothing but the best,” Peterson said.

The Transfer Locals Oyster Bar was one of the food hall’s largest tenants, building a raw bar and dining room in the patio-side corner of the building.

The former market display at Locals Oyster Bar in Transfer Co. Food Hall in Raleigh. Juli Leonard

But Peterson said the impact of the pandemic and diners’ use of the space led to the changes. The Raleigh Locals was initially opened with a fish market, but eventually discontinued as food hall guests mainly came for dinner and drinks, not groceries.

“It’s a large restaurant with a large bar and requires a lot of coverage,” Peterson said in a phone interview. “The space was designed pre-pandemic. We learned a lot there.”

At the headquarters Locals will cut and sell fresh and frozen fish, as well as shellfish and prepared foods like smoked fish dip and smoked shrimp sausage.

“Our mission is to expand access to local seafood,” said Ryan Speckman, Locals co-founder, in a release. “We want to continue educating our guests on topics such as seafood seasonality, utilization, and sustainability. This location gives us a unique opportunity to bring local seafood to an area of Raleigh that has very little access.”

This story was originally published June 30, 2022 11:08 AM.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.

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