One of the design elements for Sea Level, our uptown charlotte seafood restaurant (opening February 5, 2016) is an exterior wall made of oyster, clam, and scallop shells mixed into the concrete. It will greet you at our 5th Street entrance where the new patio addition is currently under construction. Fortunately, we know *the* place to source perfectly dried, weathered shells: Sea Level, North Carolina! A quick coastal visit to our farm partners proved fruitful. James knew exactly who and where to ask since every local “Down East” has a pile of old shells somewhere in their back yard. Heaps and heaps left over from oyster roasts, summer picnics, and family gatherings that always serve up what the sea offers.
We went to Uncle Tommy’s house, Dad’s shack and various other spots to collect on what happened to be the coldest day of the year. Fortunately, nobody seemed to mind, and everybody was more than happy let us pick through their personal piles of shells. “Waterman” Jimmy even donated one of his prized oyster tongs to display in our new restaurant! Unlike tongs you may have in your kitchen, this is a 14 foot long tool used to gather oysters – this particular one has put in many years harvesting in local bays.
Repurposing shells from Sea Level, NC to create this art project in uptown Charlotte adds the right flavor and authenticity to this project. It’s an homage to our friendships and partnerships with the people who cultivate and farm the Carolina Coast. The evidence of their love and labors.
There was work to do in Sea Level. There always is. We bagged some oysters that will be offered in uptown Charlotte at Sea Level next week! They look and taste amazing. They always do.
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