Captain Frank's: The sea comes to downtown Palmyra
Touring downtown Palmyra recently (which doesn’t take long), Dish spotted a huge yellow Hummer parked outside a barn-like building on the edge of town. As we got closer, we realized it was a restaurant, which was a good thing because we were hungry, and it was the only one we could find.
Dish was expecting a BBQ joint with a dive bar or a family-run place serving up “country-style” cooking, so you can imagine our surprise when we pulled into the parking lot and looked up at the sign: Captain Frank’s Seafood Restaurant. Seafood?
What’s more, there was actually a “Captain” Frank behind the counter inside, burly Frank Winer, who ran charter boats for 11 years in the Carolinas and at one time owned six Captain Frank’s between Virginia and Georgia.
Turns out the woman he recently married lives and owns a business in Palmyra, and so he sold his other Captain Frank’s and opened one in his wife’s home town.
“It’s nothing fancy, just good food,” says Winer, the owner of the yellow Hummer out front. “My oysters are good, I take a lot of pride in those.”
Indeed, Dish orders a fried oyster sandwich that competes with the best he’s ever had. Winer says he gets his oysters from Carolina and Louisiana, but that the rest of his seafood comes direct from his family in North Carolina, who run commercial fishing and crabbing boats.
“We also sell a lot of hamburgers,” says Winer, mentioning his popular one-pound Captain Frank burger.
So far, folks in Palmyra seem to have a hankering for seafood. “There’s no one else around offering it,” Winer says, mentioning that the nearest restaurant is about seven or eight miles away.
Winer says he also has an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on the weekends, and makes a mean shrimp and grits.
“I’ve thought about serving up something I used to eat as a kid, scrambled eggs with crab meat, but I’m not sure folks around here would go for it,” he says.
While Palmyra may not be close to the sea, the sea remains close to Winer.
“My granddaddy had me eating raw oysters when I was nine years old,” he says.