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Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar currently has 18 restaurants across six states with 9 locations in North Carolina.
Shack CEO Jonathan Weathington said the restaurant chain plans to open a new restaurant in Burlington.

Shuckin’ Shack’s ethos of delicious food in a fun environment, along with an emphasis on environmental
sustainability and corporate responsibility, has made it a successful franchise, CEO Jonathan Weathington

A seafood restaurant chain that launched 17 years ago in Carolina Beach plans to open its 19th
restaurant in the Burlington area – if the company can find the right person to handle it.

Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar CEO Jonathan Weathington said the only piece that’s currently
missing is a local franchise owner who fits with the ethos of the company — creating a
family-like atmosphere with great food and an eye toward environmental sustainability.

“We want local owners who can be in the restaurant, who can get to know their customer base,
and who can hire locally and put people in key positions to serve the customer base the way
they should be served,” he said.

Weathington said that he and Shuckin’ Shack co-founders Matt Piccinin and Sean Cook chose
the franchise business rather than the corporate expansion model because they think it helps
maintain the Carolina Beach charm that made Shuckin’ Shack a success.

“The franchise model gives us a chance to have owners and local markets that live there,”
Weathington said. “It is a locally-owned business just like any other ‘mom-and-mop’ business.
They just happen to have support behind them.”

Weathington said whenever Shuckin’ Shack opens a new franchise, his goal is to ensure that
when customers walk into the restaurant for the first time, they feel like it’s the only one of its

“We felt like a big part of why we were successful was the feeling that people get when they
walk into a restaurant,” he said. “Couple that with the drinks and the food that they’re being
served and it’s a unique authentic personal experience.”

Weathington said Burlington represents an ideal site for the next Shuckin’ Shack location due to
the area’s rapid population growth and its proximity to both the Piedmont Triad and Research
Triangle Park.

The company places an emphasis on environmentally-sound business practices because of the
co-founders’ shared love of coastal North Carolina and preserving it for future generationshe

“The more that we can have those sustainability aspects in place, the longer that we feel like we
can be in business, because obviously, we’re in business to stay in business,” Weathington said.
“But first and foremost is to protect our waters, and prevent overfishing.”

To that end, Shuckin’ Shack embraces a number of environmentally-friendly initiatives with an
eye toward protecting North Carolina’s coastal waters. That includes using a limited amount of
disposable plastic, such as instead providing customers with reusable and biodegradable

More than 90% of Shuckin’ Shack’s food is domestically-sourced from seafood vendors that
must abide by strict environmental regulations.

“We know where it’s coming from — our oysters, we can track them from exactly the bed they
were harvested, what day they were harvested, time of harvest — all of those things,”
Weathington said.

Shuckin’ Shack also supports the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition, which advocates
sustainable harvesting practices, he said.

Shuckin’ Shack was also one of the first restaurant chains to be placed on the James Beard
Foundation Smart Catch Committed List.

Story Credit: By Keith T. Barber Times-News Staff Writer
Jul 2, 2024 Updated Jul 5, 2024