durham’s award-winning seafood shack with the freshest fish in town
by Avivah with Offline
The original Saltbox Seafood opened in 2012, and quickly became famous for its fresh seafood and no-frills vibe. Their first location is a bare-bones, walk-up shack that consistently churns out some of Durham’s best seafood; the notoriously long lines and lack of indoor seating has never deterred Bull City’s seafood lovers—a true testament to just how good they are, especially in this ever-evolving foodie town.
Last year, Chef Ricky Moore (who’s gained major accolades BTW), opened up another location in the Rockwood neighborhood, giving Saltbox the second home it deserves. Their newer spot is serves beer and boasts a space that is SEVEN TIMES THE SIZE as their original location. The interior is nautically-themed, features both indoor and outdoor seating, and the menu is still as fresh as can be.
At both locations, they feature a straightforward menu that changes daily (it’s all based on whatever was caught fresh by NC Fisherman that morning), nothing is frozen, and when something’s gone, it’s gone, baby, gone.
And don’t let the lack of frills fool you: What they lack in white tablecloths, they make up for in uber-fresh, perfectly-seasoned, and expertly-prepared seafood that’ll have you double check the map to see if Durham truly is landlocked…
What to order
Saltbox has a fresh, simple menu that changes daily based on that morning’s bounty. While we can’t guarantee you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting in advance, we can promise that you’ll love it.
You can always expect some fresh seafood (get it grilled or fried) that’s served as either a Roll or a Platter (market prices range $12+).
There are a few mainstays, of course. You’ll always find their colorful and refreshing Slaw Salad, in addition to Crispy Seasoned Potatoes.
And save room for a side of their famous Hush Honeys ($4). These signature deep-fried cornmeal dumplings get a generous drizzle of spiced honey and They. Are. To. Die. For. Oh hunnnny, yassss.
- Go with an open mind. It’s all local, so you may not have heard of every type of seafood on the menu before. Trust that, under Chef Ricky’s hands, whatever it is will be your new fave. We raised eyebrows at “Bone-in Porgy” and “White Grunt,” but they were delish.
- Remember there’s no old surplus in the deep freezer, so once an item is sold out, you’ll have to opt for something else
- The lunch rush can be crazy and if you hit up their outdoor N. Mangum St. location you may need to wait in line outside.
- Need catering? Give Saltbox a shout and they’ll show up with fully-equipped food truck that’s bound to impress. [PLEASE NOTE: Your Premium Perk cannot be used towards catering—sorry!]
- Their newer location serves beer. While you can’t use your Premium perk towards booze (blame ABC), we still recommend springing for a local brew to wash your meal down with.
- The staff is super knowledgeable and helpful—if you’re unsure of anything, they’ll give you the full rundown.