Bluewater Seafood Co and Wine Market is a study in how to own, run and grow an independent restaurant successfully.
Owners Tracy and David Griffin started with one location in the Kanuga Cottage District of Hendersonville at 532 Kanuga Road. Expansion followed with the remodel of their unique building’s second story and addition of a new deck, allowing for more seating. A wholesale seafood business, including a smoke house, were created at the same property. Then came a third building set up for private events.
With their Hendersonville restaurant and wholesale businesses humming along, Tracy and David answered the call for a fresh seafood restaurant in Asheville by opening their second location at 94 Charlotte St., Asheville, NC.
There have been some bumps in the road as chefs and their menus have come and gone. Most recently, Blue Water closed down for a few months this past winter to do a little touching-up inside and out.
During the day, fresh fish and side dishes are available for purchase.
But by dinner hours, the fish counter transforms in to a swanky bar.
The upstairs dining room and deck haven’t changed much, but I’m including photos for those of you who haven’t been yet.
They also did some staff restructuring, hiring Executive Chef Chas Edwards to oversee menu development & manage the Asheville store and Chef Russell Pruitt to manage Hendersonville.
Chef Pruitt is working from a completely new menu at the Hendersonville location. Long-time and new customers alike are loving it.
I recently had the opportunity to sample three entrees and three desserts from the new menu. Before you say, “glutton”, you should know these dishes were shared by three of us.
One of my favorite seafood dishes is Cioppino. San Francisco’s Italian immigrants are credited with creating this fish stew traditionally made with tomatoes and a variety of seafood.
Blue Water’s version, listed on the menu as a San Francisco Style Cioppino did not disappoint. A steaming bowl overflowing with fish shrimp, mussels, clams, scallops and snow crab in a tomato-basil fumet (concentrated stock). Served with slices of toasted bread, it was as pretty to look at as it was delicious to eat!
Lobster Rolls are a little hard to share, but we all just dug in with our forks. This Maine lobster salad is served on a toasted French roll with lettuce, tomato with choice of one side. We chose onion rings. Yum! At about this point, I was wishing my friend Sweet Tooth, a Lobster Roll connoisseur, had come along. But even without her input, I knew this was a good rendition of a classic.
We rounded off our nibbling with a special offered that day: a Soft Shell Crab Sandwich. Either you love ’em or hate ’em. If you love ’em, this is the place to get ’em. Chef’s batter was beautifully seasoned and the meat was done perfectly.
Time for dessert ~
We sampled three, all priced at $5.
The Lemon Pound Cake with chocolate moose, fresh strawberries and infused with mint simple syrup was generously portioned. Chef had also added grits to make things interesting. Although I loved the pound cake and moose flavors, I’d recommend skipping the grits next time.
Simple with a thick, custard texture and full of rich flavor, the Madagascar Vanilla Creme Brulee (Gluten Free) was lovely.
And finally, my personal favorite – Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake. How can you go wrong mixing cherries, chocolate and cheesecake? Especially when they’re done this well?
Pricing on the new menu is reasonable. Unlike some restaurants, Blue Water Seafood posts their menu with pricing. See menu here (pdf).
Chef Chas has indeed taken the helm here. Lucky for me, I’ve enjoyed her food twice previously. Once at the Asheville store during the Asheville Small Plate Crawl (absolutely fantastic Prince Edward Island mussels in Oloroso Newburg broth with roasted garlic crostini and Asparagus vichyssoise with gingered crabmeat and lardoon) and once at Taste of Asheville.
About Chef Chas Edwards
Executive Chef Chasity Edwards has a vivacious work history. She started her career with a tenure at Commanders’ palace working in the same kitchen with Emeril Lagasse at the young age of 14. She spent 3 years as the Sous Chef at the Augusta Nationals (hosting the PGA Master’s golf tournament). Along the way she has opened local restaurants creating the layout and design of the kitchens and creating menus to include local ingredients that continue to insure the prosperity of small businesses and regional farms. She has also embarked on international private cheffing and Nautical cheffing in Martha’s Vineyard for guests such as Daphne Zuniga and Meg Ryan. She utilizes this kaleidoscope of culinary experience to weave delicious ethnic and regional flavors together at Blue Water Seafood Co and Wine Market.
Blue Water Seafood Co and Wine Market
532 Kanuga Road
Hendersonville, NC 28739