Onslow couple ready to serve up Shrimp Festival star

2013 shrimp fest

Ahniyah Laihing, 7, Jovan Gordon, and Jakivia Swanston, all watch as Yvonne Fye takes a bite from a shared shrimp sandwich while the family attended the 43rd Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival in 2013.

File photo
Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 01:13 PM.

Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But for many Americans, the word “seafood” means just one thing: shrimp.

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As a nation, our consumption of the crustaceans has averaged an annual 4.08 pounds per person from 2002-2010 according to National Marine Fisheries Service numbers, well ahead of the 2.8 pounds for canned tuna, which ranks in second place.

If Onslow County couple Matt and Theresa Mitchell have their way, they’ll put a noticeable dent in that statistic. The owners of T’s Cafe and Mitchell Seafood plan to serve up as much as 5,600 pounds of shrimp this weekend at the 44th annual Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival.

In 2013, the Mitchells, whose businesses are Snead Ferry proper, won a three-year contract to cater the festival after the event had earned grumbles from both organizers and attendees in past years over questions of seafood origin.

“It was a big complaint around the community. Last year was the first time it’s been local people for years and years,” food vendor coordinator Howard Orr said. “It’s made a big improvement in the quality of the meal, and the fact that Matt has two shrimp boats, we know that these shrimp are local. If people haven’t been there in a couple years, it would behoove them to come and take a look.”

It’s no wonder the Mitchells landed the deal. In launching their restaurant seven years ago, the two made a commitment to honor area waterways.



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