There are plenty of people who have yet to learn about Triad Seafood Distribution (also known as Triad Seafood Market). But even people who pass by it may not realize they can pick up a hot lunch to go.
Archie Tuttle opened Triad Seafood at 4459 Indiana Ave., just off North Cherry, this spring, but then shut down to make some improvements.
When he reopened in August, one of the improvements to the property included a small outbuilding and covered patio in back of the main building, formerly a Hauser Rental Service. Under that patio now sits a flattop grill, deep fryer and six burners all fueled with propane. Six days a week, the equipment is fired up to cook a bunch of fresh shrimp, flounder and more.
When Tuttle, 59, was younger, his father, William Lindsay, had a string of four seafood stores from about 1970 to 1985 called Roadside Enterprises, including one on Waughtown Street in Winston-Salem. Tuttle worked for his father, eventually running the Statesville store.
Lindsay, who passed away about five years ago, eventually went into the trucking business. Tuttle followed him, too, and he has been driving a truck for Harris Teeter since 1993. “But I’m getting ready to retire,” he said. He is setting up Triad Seafood to be his post-retirement project.
The seafood store is heavy on whole fish. The other day, the case held whole spots, croaker, porgies, black bass, red snapper, catfish, mullet, tilapia, butter fish and speckled trout. “Speckled trout is my favorite,” Tuttle said, “because I like a meaty fish.”
Tuttle said that he gets mostly N.C. seafood through Atlantic Seafood, based in Hampstead, as well as seafood from a company in the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia.
The rest of the case has shrimp, whole oysters and such fillets as salmon, mahi-mahi, halibut and tilapia. “I like salmon and mahi-mahi when I’m cooking up my fish with vegetables like zucchini, squash and onions,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle is around a few days of the week — when he’s not on the road — and the rest of the time his wife, Lisa, or manager Neka Boggan handles the store.
Though Archie Tuttle is in charge of the seafood, Lisa Tuttle has stocked the market with a variety of dry goods and fresh produce. That includes such items as soda, cooking oil, seasoned breading, apples, collards, onions, peppers and watermelon. “We get some from farmers, but we also use Combs (Wholesale Produce Co.),” Archie Tuttle said of the produce.
The market also sells cakes by Shirley Phillips, Tuttle’s sister-in-law and a former Dewey’s Bakery employee. Phillips’ cakes include Italian Cream, Chocolate Sour Cream and Five Flavor Poundcake and are available by the half ($14) or slice ($2.50 to $3).
Tuttle has hired Kirk Dover, James Taylor and Kenny McManus to handle the cooking out back.
Top choices for fried fish are spots, croaker, whiting and flounder. “But if there’s something else you want, you can buy it, and we’ll cook it,” Tuttle said.
For a small operation Triad Seafood offers a wide selection. That includes boxes of fried fish — bone-in or fillets; fried shrimp and flounder plates; crab cake plates; and fish sandwiches. Customers also can get fish grilled instead of fried.
Boxes of fried fish run from $7.99 to $19.99 for 3 to 10 pieces of bone-in fish, or $6.99 to $18.99 for the same amounts of boneless fillets.
A 10-piece dinner with jumbo shrimp, squash, zucchini, onion, slaw and hush puppies goes for $12. A flounder sandwich with slaw costs $6.
There’s a bunch of side to choose from: French fries, hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, salad and mixed veggies.
Occasionally, the crew will fry up some chicken wings, breasts and thighs, too.
Tuttle has plans to build a kitchen inside. He’s hoping to get that done by the beginning of next year. But he said he won’t add a dining room. The business will remain takeout, though there is a picnic table outside for anyone who wants to use it.
Tuttle said that his busiest times for hot food are after work Thursdays through Saturdays. He concedes that a lot of people driving by or even visiting the market in front may miss the fact that they can get fresh, hot fish to go. “We’re doing the social media, and we got a website,” he said. “We’re hoping to get the word out.”