Beaufort's Sea Eagle Market opens at new location — with restaurant
Craig Reaves stepped inside the door of a new opportunity for a decades-old family business and gave an impromptu tour.
On the wall at Sea Eagle Market’s new digs on Boundary Street are pictures of the family at work — pulling crab traps from the water, on their fleet of shrimp boats, in overalls standing among oyster mounds.
Sea Eagle Market moved down the street and opened in its new Beaufort location at 2149 Boundary St. on Thursday. Owner Reaves and the family of fishermen made the best of an ongoing road redevelopment project and reimagined their business in a renovated former Mexican restaurant behind Kmart.
“We do have kinks to work out, but overall, today has been a good success,” Reaves said.
Sea Eagle added a restaurant, keeping the name but adding “and good eats!” to the building and sign.
A soft opening for the dining area was Thursday. When the restaurant officially opens next month, lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the market will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The business sold its previous Boundary Street location to the city as part of a plan to demolish buildings and create a passive park along the marsh. The ongoing Boundary Street project eventually would have led to a raised median in front of the previous Sea Eagle building.
Reaves expects the new location on the north side of the road near a new traffic light to work better. And the new building was conducive to serving cuisine.
The family started in the restaurant business in 1980, with Reaves Fish Camp in North Carolina. There have been several restaurants since, most recently another attempt at the fish camp in a space off Salem Road.
But the location wasn’t ideal, Reaves said, and the buffet style didn’t work as planned.
Despite the ongoing construction, the new restaurant benefits from a visible location.
The dining area is nearest the road, with floor-to-ceiling windows yielding views of the marsh across the street. Metal crabs, a pelican, family photos and a ship’s wheel behind the register set the tone.
Down the hallway, aqua-colored brick walls lead into the market. A lobster tank hums in the center of the room.
Texas Pete hot sauce, jars of gumbo and stone-ground grits are shelved on metal rolling carts. A line formed at the seafood counter Thursday, where filets of triggerfish, cod and catfish were laid out behind glass.
A window opened to the back room where the fresh catches are processed. The scraping of a fish scaler could be heard over customers’ conversation.
“All different aspects of the seafood business, we’ve done,” Reaves said.